Last night's boxing superight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley drew the ire of both the fans in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and the snarky pundits that populate Twitter.
The fight started competitively enough. I scored the opening round 10-10, and Mosley seemed to hold his own through two. Pacquiao dropped him in the third, the first time Mosley ate canvas since he fought Vernon Forrest in 2002. Mosley survived the rest of the round, and looked recovered at the start of the fourth.
While his faculties returned, his offense stagnated. Mosley showed flashes of competitiveness, landing the isolated hard counter, but Pacquiao overwhelmed him with speed -- both foot and hand -- forcing Mosley into react mode.
That narrative continued through the tenth. Mosley stepped on Pacquiao's lead foot, and the momentum of the action caused Pacquiao to slip and fall to the canvas. Kenny Bayless picked up the count started by the ringside official, indicating a knockdown (though two of the judges ringside ignored the decree).
The "knockdown" lit a fire under Pacquiao, who came out strong after the restart and kept up that pace until the final bell in the twelfth.
As the bout wound down, MMA Junkie lead staff reporter John Morgan led the jeers from Twitterville:
Crowd grows very restless in the ninth. Pacman flurries but having trouble finding Kalib Star, er, Shane Mosley. It's 10-9, and 90-80.
$5 million, huh? At least try and fight back.
Never said it was, but is it too much to ask to stand and trade? RT @Mike_Fagan_13: I'm sure fighting Pacquiao is easy game.
He lost. Same as Mosley. He just looked like a fighter doing it. RT @Mike_Fagan_13 Ask Ricky Hatton how that went.
He ended with this, with what I can only assume was a sarcastic reply in my direction:
Alright - packing up. Enjoyed the experience. I stand corrected. Amazing performance by Mosley. Maybe his best fight ever.
Morgan's complaints, which emanated from more than just his account, read like your typical call into an afternoon sports radio show. "What's Mosley doing in there?! He's getting paid $5 million for this! Get in there and fight! I'M ENTITLED TO ENTERTAINMENT!"
So, what exactly did you expect last night?
Shane Mosley is 39 years old. He fought to an ugly draw in his last fight with Sergio Mora after Floyd Mayweather Jr. dismantled him last May. Oddsmakers were so confident in his abilities that they inserted him as an 8-1 underdog against Pacquiao.
It was clear to me after the knockdown that Manny Pacquiao had beaten Shane Mosley mentally. Pacquiao, as Al Bernstein noted on the broadcast, wasn't even using the angles that befuddled Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey and Miguel Cotto. Pacquiao blitzed him with speed that Mosley could not keep up with.
Did Mosley shut down into survival mode? Sure. But to suggest that he throw caution to the wind and engage Manny Pacquiao, the best boxer on the planet, with reckless abandon is foolish. To further compare Mosley's performance to Kalib Starne's embarrassing display at UFC 83 shows an inability to appreciate the difference between Pacquiao and Nate Quarry.
I don't feel sorry if you feel hoodwinked by last night's main event. Complaining about the pedestrian performance of an 8-1 underdog is akin to complaining that Transformers 3 didn't live up to your lofty expectations.
Shane Mosley fought the fight everyone expected from him. Deal with it.