• Steve Bunce

Pacquiao showing signs of decline

Steve Bunce May 10, 2011

Shane Mosley's tactics against Manny Pacquiao in the WBO welterweight title fight on Saturday were sad to see, and he should now seriously consider retirement. He got floored in the third round, then went into his shell and never took a risk, before succumbing to a unanimous points defeat.

We always knew that if Mosley got clipped on the chin, he was canny enough to survive until the final bell - and that's exactly what he did. After finding himself on the canvas early on, his priority became to protect his proud record of never being stopped.

Am I shocked that Mosley was negative? No. He said afterwards that he'd never dealt with that much speed and power combined, which is really saying something, considering some of the people he has fought.

Were his actions wrong? Absolutely, 100%. Mosley, even at 39, is a prize fighter - and for that reason, he should have given something back to the people. He had an obligation to the fans to put up more of a fight than he did. It's no good for him to now turn around and say "he was too fast" - didn't he watch a tape of Pacquiao before the fight?! People have been trying that trick with the Klitschkos for years, saying "they were too tall", and it just doesn't wash with me.

There's a clamour for Mosley to forfeit parts of his purse, but I wouldn't like to see that. Perhaps he should be "persuaded to donate 10% of it" - or perhaps there should be a rule change, with a clause inserted saying that, when a veteran fights a great champion, he should be warned that he will lose some of his purse if he stinks the place out.

That said, let's not forget Pacquiao was unimpressive as well. There were signs in Las Vegas that perhaps his head wasn't clear, and that Freddie Roach, his trainer, is right to fear losing him to politics before long - he is currently a member of Congress in the Philippines, a duty he takes very seriously.

But Pacquiao's problems weren't just mental ones against Mosley - he's endured a hard life on both sides of the ropes, and perhaps that's now starting to take its toll. His legs showed signs of seizing up towards the end of his battle with Mosley, which is a worrying sign.

David Haye refused to shake Wladimir Klitschko's hand at the Hamburg press conference © Getty Images

However, Pacquiao on a bad night is still a great fighter, and he did a better job on his opponent than Mayweather managed - Floyd was nearly knocked out in the second round when he fought Mosley, although he eventually ended up with a routine points win.

Does it take us any nearer to Mayweather-Pacquiao? Well, in my view we're no closer than we were before the first bell at the MGM Grand. There are two ways of looking at it: firstly, if you assume there was a little bit of doubt in Mayweather's mind, he might now be starting to believe he can beat the Filipino.

Equally, had Pacquiao smashed Mosley out within four or five rounds, Mayweather's bruised ego might have forced him back into the ring. But all this is unimportant for the time being, as Pacquiao looks on course to face Juan Manuel Marquez later this year, which would be the third time they've fought each other.

People would love to see it - I would love to see it - as they've never had a dull second in any fight they've had. These two were made to fight each other.

Twelfth Round

Bad form, David
I was disappointed to see David Haye refuse to shake Wladimir Klitschko's hand during the Hamburg press conference ahead of their fight in July. After all that happens in a boxing ring, you're meant to shake hands - every sport has its protocol to acknowledge the opponent.

As for Klitschko's claim that Haye isn't worth a 50-50 split of the cash, forget it. The Klitschkos are quality boxers, fantastic businessmen, and if Wladimir didn't think Haye was worthy of 50-50, then they wouldn't have given it to him. That's the bottom line.

The Americans the Klitschkos have been knocking out aren't worth 50p, let alone a 50-50 split.

Bull battle binned
The British and Commonwealth heavyweight title fight between Dereck Chisora against Tyson Fury was meant to take place in a bullring in Marbella, but sadly the British Boxing Board of Control said no to it. It's a pity, because in July, in Marbella, two heavyweights in a bullring - that's just about as good as it gets for me.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Steve Bunce Close
Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.