Philippine master Manny Pacquiao retained the World Boxing Organization welterweight title on Saturday by beating American Shane Mosley to extend his winning streak to 14 bouts.
Pacquiao came on strong in the third round, knocking Mosley down with a straight left hand and then went on to earn a unanimous decision in front of a sellout crowd of 16,000 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The mainly partisan Filipino crowd, clad in yellow to match Pacquiao's gloves, were delighted to see their hero get the decision 119-108, 120-108 and 120-107.
"He felt my power," Pacquiao, 32, said. "I wanted to fight toe to toe. I did my best to give a good fight."
Pacquiao, a 10-time world champion in a record eight weight divisions, was making the second defence of his current welterweight crown.
The southpaw from Sarangani, who suffered from leg cramps in the middle rounds, dominated from the opening round as Mosley spent the majority of the fight in full retreat, bringing back memories for Pacquiao of his fight with Joshua Clottey.
Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) was the aggressor, continuing to push forward and trying without success to go for the knockout, especially in the third and 11th and 12th rounds.
After the fight, the multi-talented Pacquiao was scheduled to head across the Las Vegas strip to the Mandalay Bay hotel for a singing engagement with his band at a "Beach Party" in his honour.
Pacquiao threw 552 punches compared to just 260 for Mosley. The Filipino said his biggest problem was his legs, which started cramping in the middle rounds.
"I told my coach to press my legs because I can't move," Pacquiao said. "My legs tightened up during the fight. I couldn't move. It is the same thing that happened to me against (Juan Manuel) Marquez. Now it has come back."
Mosley claimed he would expose Pacquiao's weaknesses but there was no turning back the clock for the 39-year-old four-time world champion, who looked every bit his age.
Pacquiao's knockdown in the third round was just the third time in Mosley's 18-year career that the American challenger has hit the canvas. Mosley's main goal appeared to be simply keeping his record of never being knocked out intact.
"Mosley is not slow," Pacquiao said. "He's fast and I had to be cautious of his counter-punch."
Mosley (46-7-1, 27 KOs) managed to succeed in not getting knocked out but was booed loudly, especially in the eighth and ninth rounds.
Referee Kenny Bayless awarded Mosley a suspect knockdown in the 10th round as television replays showed that Pacquiao was throwing a punch off balance, slipped and went down with a little help from Mosley's right hand.
Mosley denied that he is showing his age.
"You can't blame age," Mosley said. "Manny is an exceptional fighter. He truly is the pound-for-pound king. He has speed and power that I have never felt before.
"He surprised me with that power with the knockdown. That's the most legitimate knockdown on me in a long time."
Indeed it is the first time Mosley has been knocked down in nine years, since losing to Vernon Forrest in 12 rounds.
Pacquiao earned close to ê15 million while Mosley collected about ê5 million.
With Mosley out of the way, Pacquiao expects to fight next in November, possibly against Marquez.
Pacquiao was supposed to fight Floyd Mayweather last year but the fight fell through in a dispute over drug testing. Pacquiao said Saturday that his legacy is solid with or without a Mayweather fight.
"I don't care about that fight," Pacquiao said. "I am satisfied with everything that I have done in boxing."
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