It was hailed as the ‘Fight of The Century’ in the lead up. It will break all current financial records in boxing. It took over five years to make it a reality.
In the end it was either a disappointment or vindication depending on who you were rooting for.
Floyd Mayweather came into the ring undefeated and left it that way as he defeated Manny Pacquiao, the one man many in the boxing world thought would be able to beat him, by unanimous decision with one judge scoring it 118-110 and the other two scoring it 116-112 in what became a tactical domination.
The build up to the fight was felt throughout the evening both inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and throughout the country as demand for the Pay-Per-View caused feed issues on various cable providers. The issues were large enough to have the fight be delayed in the broadcast. When both fighters got in the ring the atmosphere became electric to even have referee Kenny Bayless acknowledge it in the final instructions.
Then the bell rung and the action began.
Many insiders including Showtime analyst Al Bernstein, who was part of the team calling the fight, stated that Pacquiao needed to be a volume puncher early to be effective in the fight. Perhaps that was the game plan for him, that is until Mayweather landed the first right hand. The bout from then on was fought at Mayweather’s pace with Pacquiao landing some combinations but nowhere near enough to change the tone. One way to look at it is that the knockout he suffered in 2012 at the hands of long time nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez, from a counter right hand, was likely still in Pacquiao’s head. Given that Mayweather is faster than Marquez it might have offset the strategy Pacquiao and his corner had in mind.
Another way to look at it is that Pacquiao was hampered by injury. Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports reported after the fight that Pacquiao had suffered a right shoulder injury four weeks before the fight and was denied a shot by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
As for Mayweather, the fight became a silencer of many critics who over the years stated that he was afraid of Pacquiao. The manner in which he tactically controlled the fight cemented his position as the best fighter of his generation and now puts him in the discussion for being considered among the top ten greatest boxers in history. It also was for both fighters the biggest payday financially as the bout will likely top $400 million in revenue.
Many casual boxing in social chided the fight for being boring and overpriced. That opinion doesn’t take into account the technical aspect of the sport. The point of a boxing match is to deal as much punishment while taking as little risk as possible. In that area Mayweather is the best in his generation. While great slugfests get highlighted often technical and tactical fights should also get their due.
Mayweather will get his due now, and even as he announced in the post-fight press conference that he will vacate all his titles, it was worth the five year wait.