LOS ANGELES – It was an unsatisfying night for Shane Mosley, who failed to convince the skeptics that his 39 years aren't a major factor in his declining performance.
It was an equally unsatisfying night for Sergio Mora, whose failure to throw enough punches – meaningful punches – cost him a fight that was there for the taking.
And it was unsatisfying for the 13,591 fans at Staples Center, who took to chanting "Canelo! Canelo!" in support of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, a 20-year-old who dramatically knocked out former undisputed welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir in the sixth round in the semi-main event.
No one was too pleased with the lackluster split draw between Mosley and Mora in the main event. Judge David Denkin saw the fight 116-112 for Mosley. Kermit Bayless had it 115-113 for Mora and Lou Moret scored it 114-114. Yahoo! Sports had it 115-113 for Mosley.
It was clear by the fourth round of the 12-round super welterweight bout that it would be an extraordinarily tough fight to score. It was apparent much sooner that it would be an equally difficult fight to watch.
"It's not a robbery, but I thought I won," said Mora, who would have won a split decision had he taken one of the final two rounds on Moret's card. Mosley, however, won both the 11th and the 12th on all three judges' cards to salvage a split draw.
It would have been a disaster of epic proportions had Mosley lost to the one-time winner of the boxing reality series on NBC, "The Contender." Despite defeating Vernon Forrest in 2008 to win the World Boxing Council super welterweight title, Mora remained lightly regarded entering the bout and Mosley went off as nearly a 3-to-1 favorite.
Mosley was coming off a pummeling at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May, a bout in which, except for about a 20-second period late in the second round, he wasn't remotely competitive.
He entered Saturday's fight speaking of going after bouts against stars such as pound-for-pound champion Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito, but he didn't make much of an argument for himself. He did little Saturday that resembled the fast and powerful man who defeated Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas twice each and once was considered the best fighter on the planet.
"I knew he was trying to outpoint me, but he didn't really engage the way I thought he would," said Mosley, who had a 161-93 advantage in punches landed according to CompuBox. "It was hard to get the knockout when he was moving like that."
Mora circled and used every inch of the ring to try to fend off Mosley. Mora, though, never established a consistent jab and landed just 27 jabs overall, a woeful average of slightly more than two per round. He needed to keep his jab pumping in Mosley's face to prevent Mosley from bulling him into the corners, but Mosley was able to back Mora to the ropes with impunity time and again.
Mora wasn't able to do anything to prevent it, but Mosley wasn't able to do anything with the advantage.
It was that kind of a night.
Mora fell prey to the old wives' tale that the late Hall of Famer Willie Pep once won a round without throwing a punch. It wasn't true and Mora wasn't able to do it Saturday, even though he tried to make the case for himself.
"This is boxing, and defense counts," Mora said.
It does, though defense is just one of four criteria judges use to score fights, along with clean punches landed, effective aggressiveness and ring generalship. Mosley landed more punches and he had the edge in ring generalship since he dictated the way the bout was fought.
Mora did make Mosley miss some punches, but Mosley landed 68 more punches and at a significantly higher rate, 31 percent to 18 percent. To claim a win based on defense with numbers against like that is like claiming an NFL team played great defense while allowing 300 rushing yards and 35 points.
The bigger problem for Mora with the defensive claim, though, was that when Mora did make Mosley miss, he failed to counter and make Mosley pay.
"I'm used to fighting guys with longer arms and he has short, compact, strong arms," Mora said of Mosley. "When guys miss, and they miss by a lot, I have a chance to come in. But he has such short, compact arms that when he missed, he was ready to come back with something hard right away."
Though it was a draw, it had the feeling of a loss for all sides. Golden Boy Promotions had to be happy with the live gate, though it would be a shock if the pay-per-view figures were more than 150,000.
Mosley failed to prove the Mayweather fight was an aberration and Mora failed to prove he is one of the game's elite.
This fight was less exciting than kissing your sister, as the old saying about ties goes.
The good thing, at least, is that there won't be an outcry for a rematch.