Warrior

It’s getting increasingly more difficult after each victory to describe just how extraordinary Manny Pacquiao is.

In the latest edition last Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the Pac-Man was nothing short of amazing, even if Shane Mosley wasn’t willing to delve into the middle of the ring and exchange blows.

That Mosley was defensive-minded and merely hoped to survive spoke to his respect for the Filipino superstar, and the resulting unanimous decision in their World Boxing Organization welterweight title match extended the string to 14 consecutive wins dating to March 2005 when Erik Morales last beat him.

“Tonight I did my best,’’ said Pacquiao, who stretch his record to 53-3-2 with 38 knockouts. “Because my opponent didn’t want to go toe-to-toe, there’s nothing I can do. That’s part of the game. I can’t force him.”

Pacquiao was somewhat cautious in the opening round, saying he heard Mosley was looking for an early knockout.

In that three-minute stanza, Pacquiao landed two right-left combinations and a hard right before Mosley answered with a straight right late.

Mosley (46-7-1 with 39 KO’s) relied on single punches and very few combos, which would have afforded him a better chance to prevail.

At 39 years old, Mosley hit on five combos, and 82 of 260 total punches for 31.5 percent, while Pacquiao found the target with 31 combos, and 182 of 552 (33 percent).

This has been Mosley’s mantra spanning his last three fights that included a draw with Sergio Mora, and a lopsided loss to undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“He’s strong and very, very fast,’’ said Mosley, who took the 10th round on one of the three judges’ scorecards after Referee Kenny Bayless ruled he knocked down Pacquiao, who actually slipped.

“Manny won the fight. I fell short,’’ said Mosley, who was decked in the third round. “Manny’s the pound-for-pound king. There is no shame in losing to him.”

Pacquiao sported yellow gloves in order to raise hunger awareness in his homeland and around the world. The color was a blur to the 16,412 in attendance that included Paris Hilton, George Lopez, Jaime Foxx, Cal Ripken Jr. and L.L. Cool J.

“Manny doesn’t allow any fighter to fight his fight,’’ said Bob Arum, President of Top Rank, which co-promoted the bout. “He’ll take every fighter out of his game plan. I’ve been in boxing since 1966, and I promoted Muhammad Ali. In my opinion, Manny’s the greatest fighter I’ve seen.”

The crowd began booing in the sixth round, and it continued until the final bell.

At just under 5-foot-7, the 32-year-old Pacquiao can flatten a man with one punch. “There were shots [openings] I saw, but they could have been traps,’’ said Mosley. “Manny has the type of power I have to watch out for. The shot I took [in the third], I was hurt. I was stunned.”

Mosley said people are fooled by Pacquiao’s strength. “There were different punches he threw that didn’t seem strong, but were,’’ he said.

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, put it best. “I think he was just trying to survive,’’ he said. “He didn’t try to win.’’

Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, and is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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