So much for the “Fight of the Century.” Saturday’s bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, which was more than five years in the making, was more of a waltz or series of very tense hugs than the fistic master class that many hoped it would be. After a tame 12 rounds, Mayweather claimed a unanimous victory, inching up his all-time record to 48-0 and cementing his status as the best pound-for-pound boxer alive.
This fight was always going to turn on whether Pacquiao’s swift, spark-plug aggression could puncture Mayweather’s peerless defensive dance. It didn’t. Pacquiao’s best moment came in the fourth round, when he managed to land a heavy left hook and get Mayweather huddled on the ropes:
But that was about it. The rest of the fight had no real intrigue, with Mayweather deploying his usual arsenal of ducks, dodges, and counter-punches to lure Pacquiao around the ring. It wasn’t a very entertaining performance, but it was a dominant one: Mayweather landed 148 punches to Pacquiao’s 81. Granted, that number includes Mayweather’s many and mostly superficial jab taps, but the 36-year-old Pacquiao simply couldn’t muster the energy to make it a real contest. In the later rounds, Mayweather took advantage of his opponent’s flagging footwork, connecting on several hard punches:
Despite Mayweather’s clinical performance, this was probably a disappointing fight for most viewers, and it’s unlikely that anyone new to boxing became enamored with the sport after watching. It was always impossible for the event to live up to the ludicrous hype preceding it, but the fighters, for their part, have much fatter pockets for it: Mayweather and Pacquiao are expected to collect a cool $180 and $120 million, respectively, in earnings. Not bad for 40 minutes in the ring.
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