In case you were on Mars over the weekend you are probably aware that Floyd Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao via decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in what was billed as the ‘Fight of the Century’. While it may well have been the ‘Money Making Event of the Century’, it was not much of a fight – particularly after the 6th round when Mayweather’s already risk averse style amplified to the point where Pacquiao had to literally run after him in order to engage.
The sheer magnitude of the event and the sight of the two legends finally meeting in the ring certainly made the fight exciting at first. It started out as a tense chess match with both men using feints to move each other out of position with their footwork while looking to time counters. Mayweather looked extremely loose and sharp from the opening bell while Pacquiao looked a little dry and could not get his punches off. Noticeably, there was a very significant size difference – Mayweather looked at least two weight divisions bigger than Pacquiao and had a huge reach advantage.
Mayweather took the 1st, probably the 2nd and certainly the 3rd round with accurate jabs, excellent footwork and well timed right hand counters leading observers to believe this would be a typical Mayweather victory. Any time Pacquiao got too close, Mayweather tied him up and waited for the referee to break them up. But Pacquiao was also displaying good defensive acumen of his own, blocking and parrying shots and not getting caught with anything damaging. Pacquiao was also managing to get closer and closer to his target each round and came roaring back big time in the 4th with a ferocious left hand that rocked Mayweather followed by a violent flurry of shots that had Mayweather stunned against the ropes. While Pacquiao’s feet were no where near as fast as they were 5 years ago, his combination punching and hand speed was still electric.
Mayweather, paying no attention whatsoever his father and trainer who was severely scolding him for ‘fighting scared’, got back to his tactics of moving backwards at speed while jabbing and grabbing whenever Pacquiao got too close. He just eked out the 5th, then probably lost the 6th as Pacquiao pushed the action and scored with his left hand and some fast flurries against the rope. After getting blasted by his father again for not taking the fight to Pacquiao, Mayweather came out swinging hard shots in the 7th. For the first half of the round he pressed the action and attempted to move Pacquiao backwards. But as soon as Pacquiao started to fire back, Mayweather quickly got back to (literally) running around the ring and looking to counter as Pacquiao came forward. At this point in the fight, Pacquiao had almost completely stopped using his right hand to set anything up, and only threw it sparingly after blasting away with his left.
In the 8th, Pacquiao started positively after trying to set shots up with his right, but Mayweather countered well and used his movement to thwart Pacquiao’s attacks. It was an uneventful round that Mayweather controlled with some nice left hooks and jabs as Pacquiao basically followed him around the ring without trying to set anything up with his rapidly fading right hand. Pacquiao probably took the 9th based on aggression and a nice left hand at the end of the round, but an argument could be made either way as Mayweather controlled the distance well with some decent jabs and made Pacquiao miss. The 10th was unarguably Pacquiao’s as a he picked of virtually all of Mayweather’s shots as a danced around the ring, and pressed the action with some aggressive combination punching up close He didn’t land much, but he did enough work to take the round.
In the 11th, Mayweather came out throwing some bombs, uncharacteristically looking to hurt Pacquiao, but the Filipino blocked them all and they got back to the usual game of Pacquiao chasing and Mayweather running. Mayweather began to land accurately at the end of the round catching Pacquiao when he was off balance and doing just enough to take it.
The two fighter came and hugged at the beginning of the 12th, neither looking like they’d actually been in a fight. The round went (or at least should have) to Pacquiao who came forward relentlessly and pressed the action while Mayweather ran (and sometimes jumped) around the ring while flicking jabs out that Pacquiao blocked with his gloves. Neither landed anything of significance, but Pacquiao was at least attempting to make the fight and landed some grazing shots in the limited exchanges.
Both men appeared to think they had won the fight – Mayweather more emphatically though as Pacquiao looked somewhat confused as to what had just happened.
The judges turn in scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112 all in favor of Floyd Mayweather, who retained his unbeaten record and stays on top of everyone on the mythical ‘pound for pound’ list.
Speaking with HBO’s Max Kellerman in the ring, Pacquiao said, “I thought I won the fight. He didn’t do nothing, just moved outside. I got him many times.”” He also told Kellerman that, “I was never hurt. I was very surprised at the scores. I hit him more times than he hit me.”
It is hard to see how Pacquiao won the fight as Mayweather clearly outscored and out maneuvered him for the majority of the rounds (I personally had it 7 rounds to 5 for Mayweather) but it isn’t hard to understand Pacquiao’s frustration. Mayweather, as he always does, slowed the pace of the fight to one that suited him, refused to be drawn into a fight and held or ran when things got dicey. It was a largely tepid affair despite some brief moments of action, and Pacquiao did not come good on his promise to throw a hundred punches a round at Mayweather, or fight 12 rounds on his toes. Pacquiao was flat footed for much of the bout and allowed Mayweather to move around him far to easily.
It was revealed afterwards that Pacquiao sustained a very serious shoulder injury in training 3 weeks before the fight and had considered postponing it. Also, the Nevada boxing commissioners denied a request for Pacquiao to take an anti-inflammatory injection hours before the fight, leading his promotor Bob Arum to cry foul. “I don’t want to make excuses and say anything,” said Arum to a group of reporters, “but I think you should talk to the [Nevada State Athletic] commissioner. The ruling made tonight affected the outcome of the fight.”
Either way, it doesn’t do Pacquiao any good to complain about – as he did extensively in the post fight press conference – particularly when Mayweather was gracious in victory and praised Pacquiao.
“We did what we had to do tonight,” said Mayweather after the fight. “I knew he was going to push me. He had moments in the fight but I kept him on the outside.”
“He’s a hell of a fighter,” he continued. “Now I see why he is one of the guys at the pinnacle of the sport of boxing.”
The fight has left behind a decidedly bitter aftertaste, particularly given it cost almost $100 to order on pay per view. Mayweather didn’t come to fight while Pacquiao came to fight but couldn’t. Pacquiao’s sour grapes afterwards showed a lack of sportsmanship, and Mayweather’s claim that he had a great victory defies the reality of what happened during the bout. The UFC’s ultra talented Connor McGregor summed up it up best. He tweeted:
“That felt more like a business transaction than a fight.”
And sadly we, the public, financed it.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.