LAS VEGAS -- It was a fight that seemed destined to never happen, to be one of those all-time great showdowns that unfortunately failed to materialize. Boxing fans were teased for more than five years with the idea of the world’s two best pound-for-pound fighters colliding in the same ring. Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao on Saturday finally got together in what was billed as the “Fight of the Century.”
Mayweather improved to 48-0 with a unanimous decision, earning scores of 118-110 and 116-112 (twice) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“Money” was masterful inside the ring, repeatedly drilling the Filipino legend with his left jab; and whenever Pacquiao got close enough, the Grand Rapids, Mich., native nailed him with his counter right hand. Known for his high-velocity offense and whirlwind style, Pacquiao was largely reduced to a man unable to pull the trigger because he was being befuddled.
Mayweather was hit only 81 times in the 12-round fight, according the CompuBox; not many of the shots Pacquiao landed were clean. When Mayweather is at his best, he is harder to hit than a Sandy Koufax curveball. Pacquiao never got into any sort of rhythm.
Mayweather was in control throughout. He moved backward, side-to-side and forward, and Pacquiao could not catch him. Even in the waning moments of the fight, when “Pac-Man” desperately needed a knockout, Mayweather denied his advances.
Mayweather’s left jab and counter right were the two biggest factors in the fight, as they all but eliminated Pacquiao’s vaunted left hand. Not even the partisan support inside the MGM could bring one of the most ferocious bombers of this generation to life.
“He’s a hell of a fighter,” Mayweather said. “I know why everybody says he’s one of the best. He’s a tough competitor.”
Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) was full of praise for his team for crafting the perfect plan of attack, particularly his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr. Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) was visibly disappointed in the outcome of the most important fight of his career. Pacquiao told HBO’s Max Kellerman that he felt he won the fight but admitted that Mayweather’s movement gave him problems. The Filipino was non-committal as to where he goes from here, as a lucrative rematch is likely unrealistic.
Mayweather, who remains steadfast in having only one fight left before he retires, kept his lips sealed regarding his future. He repeatedly told Showtime’s Jim Gray that he planned to fight again in September but did not elaborate on an opponent.
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