Boxing: Pacquiao retains crown in face of Mosley's effort to cramp his style

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The Independent Online

Manny Pacquiao retained his WBO welterweight title with a unanimous points victory over a lacklustre Shane Mosley at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas late on Saturday night.

The 32-year-old southpaw from the Philippines, despite being hampered by cramp in his left leg, dominated all 12 rounds against his defence-minded opponent to improve his career record to 53-3-2, with 38 knockouts.

It was Pacquiao's 14th consecutive win since his loss to Erik Morales in Las Vegas in March 2005, and enhanced his status as the world's best pound-for-pound boxer.

Fighting for the second time since winning a seat in his country's national congress last year, Pacquiao gained one-sided verdicts from all three judges – 119-108, 120-108 and 120-107.

"It wasn't my best performance but I did my best," Pacquiao said ringside in front of a sell-out crowd of 16,412. "My leg tightened up in the middle rounds and I couldn't move. This is the same problem I had when I fought [Juan Manuel] Marquez so we are going to have to work on this."

Pacquiao sent Mosley crashing to the canvas in the third round with a searing straight left but, despite pressing for the rest of the fight, he was unable to stop an opponent seemingly more interested in survival.

"I got him with a lucky shot," Pacquiao said of the knockdown. "Mosley is not slow. He is fast. He was waiting for me to make a mistake and he wanted to counter. I was careful with that.

"I think he felt my power. But what am I going to do if my opponent doesn't want to fight toe-to-toe?"

Mosley, an 8-1 underdog, slipped to 46-7-1, with 39 knockouts, and was booed for his defensive approach.

"Manny is an exceptional fighter with good speed and power; power that I didn't get hit with before," the 39-year-old American said. "It was a strong knock-down punch. I really felt it. I was pretty stunned, surprisingly stunned. It didn't seem like a big shot to me when he threw it but the impact was very strong."

Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, who has long admired three-division world champion Mosley for his boxing intelligence, felt he should now consider retiring from competition.

"I don't think he tried to win this fight," Roach said. "I think he just tried to survive and when you get to that point in boxing, it's time to call it a day."

Chants of "Manny, Manny, Manny" rang out in the arena before the two fighters made their way to the ring. Mosley came out first, led by American rapper and actor LL Cool J, before Pacquiao followed with Jimi Jamison of US rock band Survivor singing the group's 1982 hit "Eye of the Tiger".

Round one began with both fighters probing. Pacquiao connected early on with a left jab before Mosley landed a solid right-hand punch to the body.

Pacquiao began to find his rhythm and landed several combinations before ending the second round with a right hook followed by a straight left.

In round three, Mosley connected with another solid right before the Filipino sent the American crashing to the canvas with a crunching straight left set up by a right jab, only the third time Mosley had been knocked down.

The rest of the fight followed a similar pattern, with Pacquiao continually forcing Mosley to retreat.

In the 10th round, the Filipino was surprisingly adjudged to have been knocked down after being pushed to the canvas by Mosley. Fired up, Pacquiao ended that aggressively, hitting Mosley late on with a withering left.

With the crowd behind him, Pacquiao kept up the pace in the final two rounds but could not finish his opponent off.