I suppose there is a lesson to be learned: When you agree to fight Manny Pacquiao, think twice about pushing him down.
Shane Mosley did in the 10th round of their WBO welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden on Saturday night. He awoke the warrior.
Which was probably a good thing.
He might have woke everyone else up, too.
At least those not booing.
Stop us if you have heard this story before
Pacquiao might have sent another all-time great through the gates of retirement in dominating fashion, winning a unanimous decision against a Mosley who looked every bit of 39 years old and then some.
“I just fought the best fighter in the world,” Mosley said. “He is fast. Faster than anyone I have ever fought. He has power. He has exceptional power. I’ve never been hit like that before.”
It’s amazing he was hit much at all given how defensive he became early on.
Want irony? The worst thing that could have happened Saturday was Pacquiao knocking Mosley down with a right-left combination in the third, which made what promoters wanted us (and all those who ponied up the pay-per-view dollars) to believe would be an evening of action instead turn into countless rounds of not much of anything until The Push.
I agree boxing needs Pacquiao to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. for the spectacle it would be, for the interest it would create. But you have to know it would have a better chance of being a lousy fight than not.
Mayweather would spend 12 rounds backpedaling his mind out and Pacquiao wouldn’t be able to engage much at all.
Mosley gave us a glimpse of how such an encounter would appear. He wasn’t aggressive at all after being knocked down, almost appearing as if his lone goal was to keep intact his streak of never being stopped. The streak lives. Yippee for him.
Three judges’ cards.
Scores of 119-108, 120-108, 120-107.
More boos than a Pacquiao fight has heard in some time.
“Nobody is going to beat (Pacquiao),” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said. “Other fighters are hopeless against him. He takes everyone out of their rhythm, out of their game plan. Nobody can perform against him.”
Well, first you have to want to. Mosley didn’t.
Mosley walked into the arena to the sound of “Mama Said Knock You Out.” Problem: You have to fight first.
The closest he came was a 10th-round shove that put Pacquiao on his behind and lit a fire in his eyes. He spent the last two rounds punishing Mosley for a victory that had long been secured.
Bottom line: The guy furiously waving an American flag around in Mosley’s corner beforehand took more risks than the fighter himself. Mosley said he was waiting for his shot.
It looked more like he was waiting for the fight to end, which his corner almost did before the final bell.
I’m all for guys liking each other, but until that push, there was a tad bit too much sportsmanship between the two, given the sport. For a time, the closest they came was touching gloves to begin each round.
Pacquiao has had issues with leg cramps lately and one came on in the fourth round. He couldn’t move as well after that, certainly not enough to catch the retreating Mosley in rounds 4 through 9.
“He had no leverage to move after the (fourth round),” said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer. “I thought it was a gutsy performance because of that.”
Said Pacquiao: “Shane had some speed. He is a great fighter. I did my best. I’m happy with my career. If I never fight (Mayweather), I won’t lose a minute’s sleep.”
Sleep, perhaps, being the operative word.
You watch a fight like this — incredibly boring, perhaps the most boring of Pacquiao’s career — and you remember that the more expectations are raised by a promotion, the bigger disappointment a final verdict can be.
Even if such a showing would smoke Mayweather out with the feeling Pacquiao is indeed an opponent he can beat to remain undefeated, it’s impossible to believe the fight could ever in a million years match the level of hype that would precede it.
If you think Mosley was defensive Saturday, how do you think one of the most defensive fighters in history would approach Pacquiao?
Boxing needs that fight, all right.
But after Saturday, I’m just not sure how fun it would be to watch.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday and Thursday on “Monsters of the Midday,” Fox Sports Radio 920 AM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.