After more than 5 years of drama and anticipation, two of the greatest boxers of this generation finally faced off last night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Compared to the legendary Muhammad Ali – Joe Frazier saga, the five division world champion, Floyd Mayweather Jr. put his undefeated streak as well as the WBA, WBC and Ring Welterweight championships on the line against one of the greatest southpaws in boxing, as well as an eight division world champion, Manny Pacquiao.
Floyd versus Pacquiao has been the super fight the fans have been waiting for, for more than half a decade. The tickets for the fight were sold out in a heartbeat, and the reported cost of the cheapest ticket was in the region of 2,500 dollars, while the most expensive ticket was priced just over 40,000 dollars! (By StubHub). The 16,000 odd fans packed the MGM Grand Garden Arena last night to witness one of the most anticipated bouts in recent memory, as two of the most decorated boxers sized each other up inside the boxing ring.
In the first round, Mayweather went right for the haymaker, throwing beautiful jabs and body shots as Manny was hesitant to throw any punches. Mayweather connected with rights, and although Pacquiao managed to get a couple of shots in towards the end of the round, Floyd won the first round.
Pacquiao seemed to have worked things out in the second round, and kept charging towards Mayweather Jr. Manny connected with some hard jabs, but Floyd’s impenetrable defense made it hard for Manny to go for the jugular. Mayweather Jr. managed to land some jabs and punches of his own, but Manny evened out the scores by winning the second round.
Pacquiao continued his aggressive approach in the third round and landed an early left jab. Mayweather Jr. easily slipped past a flurry of jabs and punches by Manny; Mayweather Jr.’s defensive guard was unbelievable. Both men didn’t go for too many wild swings, as Pacquiao won the third round to outpoint Mayweather Jr.
The fourth round saw similar events unfolding, as Mayweather Jr. was happy to lean back against the ropes and defend himself. Pacquiao once again dictated the pace of the fight, and landed some hard body shots and jabs. Mayweather Jr. was going for the counter attacking strategy, but Manny unleashed a flurry of punches to win the fourth round.
From there on, it was all Floyd, who was successful in carrying out his game plan. Mayweather Jr. is often criticized for his defensive style of boxing, but the undefeated fighter executed an almost perfect game plan, waiting for Manny to lunge forward and go for the counter punches. Floyd’s defensive guard was just as impressive, as he kept Manny at bay, and managed to nullify Pacquiao’s powerful left labs.
Mayweather Jr. outpointed Manny till the end of twelfth round, with Pacquiao trying to go after Mayweather Jr., while Floyd stopped Manny with clinches. By the end of round number 12, the biggest fight of the century was over, but the fight wasn’t as attractive or brutal as the fans would have wanted. Most of Mayweather Jr.’s fights rely on defensive control, as Floyd’s technique allows him to wear his opponent down before going for the haymaker.
The scorecard and decision:
The judges scored the bout 118 – 110, 116 – 112, 116 – 112 to declare Floyd Mayweather Jr. as the winner by unanimous decision. Mayweather Jr. also became the new WBO Welterweight champion. Although Pacquiao didn’t agree with the decision, it is safe to say that only one fighter entered the ring to knock his opponent out.
While the fight might not have lived up to the fans’ expectations, it once again highlighted just why Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still undefeated in professional boxing. The fight was five years too late, as Manny was unstoppable before 2011, and was also named the ‘Fighter of the Decade’ for the 2000s. However, both men brought their A – game, with Floyd being his vintage self, hanging back and waiting for the opponent to come forward, and counter attacking when he found an opening, while Manny Pacquiao tried to end the fight before the last round.
It will be interesting to see where both the fighters go from here, as Floyd has arguably beaten his last legitimate threat. Manny’s form indicates that he’s at the end of his illustrious career; the fighters might push for a rematch in the future considering the revenues and gates the fight has generated. In the end, the fight didn’t live up to its billing of ‘Fight of the century’, but that does not mean it wasn’t entertaining.
Key Stats: Pacquiao only landed 19% of his punches.
The fight was scored 118 – 110, 116 – 112, 116 – 112 in favor of Floyd Mayweather Jr.