Mayweather vs Pacquiao: Floyd Mayweather Jr. cemented his place among the pantheon of boxing greats by improving to 48-0 with a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao...
Floyd Mayweather Jr cemented his place among the pantheon of boxing greats by improving to 48-0 with a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday in a fight that lived up to its immense hype and price tag.
Mayweather weathered an early assault from the Filipino southpaw before winning the later rounds using his reach and jab to finish ahead on all three scorecards in a welterweight showdown set to be the top grossing prize fight of all-time.
“When the history books are written, it was worth the wait,” Mayweather said in the ring after a four-belt unification bout that was more than five years in the making.
Though Pacquiao repeatedly forced Mayweather to backpedal, the wily American blunted his opponent’s best efforts by using his renowned defensive skills while getting in several telling jabs and punches of his own.
Mayweather and Pacquiao had promised to deliver on years of hype and give fans their money’s worth and were true to their word in delivering an entertaining contest that had the capacity crowd on its feet roaring from the opening bell to the end of the 12 round showcase.
“Manny Pacquiao is a hell of fighter, I see now why he is at the pinnacle of boxing,” the 38-year-old Mayweather said after an emotional embrace with Pacquiao. “I’m a smart fighter, I outboxed him.
“We knew what we had to do. He’s a tough competitor… a very awkward fighter and I had to take my time and watch him closely.”
The fight between the two greatest boxers of their generation was one that appeared might never happen as Pacquiao resisted Mayweather’s demands for blood-testing for five years.
When the two camps finally hammered out a deal, it was the richest in boxing history, setting new records for pay-per-view (PPV) buys and gate receipts.
The fighters were also paid royally for their night’s work, with Mayweather guaranteed $120 million and Pacquiao $80 million although both men could pocket much more depending on the number of PPV purchases.
For Mayweather, the fight was one that will shape his legacy.
Even if he were to have retired unbeaten there would have forever been a question mark hanging over his career without at least one meeting against his Filipino rival.
SEPTEMBER SWAN SONG
Mayweather said in the ring that he would fight again but that his next bout would be his last.
“My last fight is in September and then it is time for me to hang it up,” Mayweather added. “I am almost 40 years old now, I have been in the sport 19 years, I have been world champion 18 years.
“I am truly thankful and I am blessed.”
Dubbed the “Fight of the Century” the MGM Grand Garden Arena crackled with energy as the rich and famous settled into their ringside seats.
Actors Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington rubbed shoulders with sports celebrities such as Michael Jordan, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and billionaire Donald Trump.
With prime seats commanding six-figure sums on the resale market even the very wealthy and very famous were forced to call in favours to secure a golden ticket while an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 fight fans flooded into the desert gambling capital to be part of the buzz.
Wearing a simple white T-shirt, Pacquiao knelt in his corner for a prayer as boos filled the hall when Mayweather appeared on the giant screens.
There were no smiles from the stone-faced American as he entered the ring wearing black white and gold trunks and sporting a $23,000 mouth guard infused with flecks of gold and pieces of a hundred dollar bill.
Five years of hype then reached a climax when famed announcer Jimmy Lennon stood in the centre of the ring and told the crowd, “the wait is over, it’s go time”.
The bout marked Mayweather’s 11th consecutive fight at the MGM but it was Pacquiao who enjoyed a massive edge in support as he appeared in the arena.
“It is a good fight. I thought I won the fight. He didn’t do nothing. He always moved outside,” said Pacquiao, who dropped to 57-6-2. “I did my best but my best wasn’t good enough.”
9:46 p.m. (12:46 a.m.) Round 12
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao hug in the center of the ring before the final round of the most anticipated fight in years. Then they shove each other away and go back to work. Pacquiao continues to storm forward, but Mayweather shows off athleticism with one last fleet-footed display. Both fighters raise their gloves at the bell, and Mayweather jumps on the ring ropes.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 10: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: 95-95.
9:34 p.m. (12:34 a.m.) Round 9
Manny Pacquiao continues to look for an opening to unload his big punches, but Floyd Mayweather Jr. counterpunches and dodges adroitly. Pacquiao is more aggressive and effective, but Mayweather nearly connects with a big right hand, and he lands a big late flurry on the ropes.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 9: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: 86-85.
9:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m.) Round 8
Floyd Mayweather Jr. continues to use his jab to keep Pacquiao uncertain. Pacquiao opens up, jumps in and throws big shots at Mayweather, connecting with two big left hands. Mayweather jabs and counterpunches. They trade glares after an exchange at the bell.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 8: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: Mayweather 77-75.
9:26 p.m. (12:26 a.m. EDT) Round 7
Floyd Mayweather Jr. becomes the pursuer to open the round, stalking Manny Pacquiao back to the ropes. Mayweather uses a double jab and a right hand to keep Pacquiao guessing. Pacquiao lunges forward to throw combinations, but Mayweather is already gone.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 7: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 68-65.
9:22 p.m. (12:22 a.m. EDT) Round 6
Manny Pacquiao wears a look of fury to open the round, and he chases Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the ropes repeatedly with superior energy and aggression. Pacquiao unloads with combinations that bring the crowd to its feet, but Mayweather stares back with a cold-eyed look and mouths, `Nope, nope.’
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 6: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: Mayweather 58-56.
9:18 p.m. (12:18 a.m.) Round 5
The crowd is still buzzing from Manny Pacquiao’s enormous left hand in the fourth round, but Mayweather shows veteran calm and wins the early exchanges. Pacquiao is stalking and looking for openings, but finding none this round in the defensive virtuoso.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 5: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 49-46.
9:14 p.m. (12:14 a.m.) Round 4
Manny Pacquiao stalks Floyd Mayweather Jr. around the ring, but Mayweather mostly parries the big shots that draw hoarse cheers from the crowd. Pacquiao then catches Mayweather with a huge left hand and appears to stagger him, but Mayweather backs up on the ropes in a defensive posture and then survives the round with a smirk.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 4: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: Mayweather 39-37.
9:10 p.m. (12:10 a.m. EDT) Round 3
Floyd Mayweather Jr. delivers a borderline low blow, and Manny Pacquiao reacts angrily. Pacquiao loads up for a few big punches, but still has trouble finding the most elusive boxer of his generation. Big shots late get the crowd on its feet.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 3: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 30-27.
9:06 p.m. (12:06 a.m. EDT) Round 2
Manny Pacquiao gets Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the ropes, but the unbeaten pound-for-pound king slips away repeatedly or wraps up Pacquiao in close. Pacquiao’s shots are mostly missing, and Mayweather gets more aggressive later in the round. Pacquiao lands a late left.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 2: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 20-18.
9:02 p.m. (12:02 a.m.) Round 1
Both fighters moved aggressively to the center of the ring to start their long-awaited fight. Manny Pacquiao looked to land early body shots, but Floyd Mayweather Jr. slipped away. Mayweather landed a solid counter right to the body in the final minute.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 1: Mayweather 10-9.
8:54 p.m. (11:54 p.m. EDT)
The ring walks have finished, and they were predictably nuts.
Manny Pacquiao smiled broadly as he walked to a song he sang himself. In his entourage was an unsmiling Jimmy Kimmel, dressed to look something like pop star Justin Bieber, a frequent member of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s entourage.
Mayweather then walked with Bieber himself and, for some reason, the Burger King restaurant chain’s mascot.
8:48 p.m. (11:48 p.m. EDT)
Jamie Foxx finishes a soulful rendition of the national anthem, and announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. gets it rolling with his signature ”Iiiiiiit’s Showtime!” cheer.
The fighters are ready for their ring walks. Manny Pacquiao will walk first, one of the many concessions he made during the torturous negotiations for this fight.
8:36 p.m. (11:36 p.m. EDT)
The late money coming into the Vegas sportsbooks has been mostly on Floyd Mayweather Jr., and the odds have surged to -240 for Mayweather and +200 for Pacquiao.
8:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. EDT)
The fighters are ready, and the arena is packed. But Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are waiting in their dressing rooms for a few extra minutes because HBO and Showtime have such a backlog of requests to buy the fight.
The broadcasters elected to delay the main event for a few minutes to take in more orders for the $99.95 pay-per-view. The crush of requests for the fight, which is expected to shatter every pay-per-view record in combat sports, has slowed down the cable and satellite providers who get the fight to fans.
”Nobody believes it `til it happens,” HBO spokesperson Ray Stallone said.
8:25 p.m. (11:25 p.m. EDT)
The sellout crowd is ready for the main event a half-decade in the making, and Manny Pacquiao’s crew is in the ring, wearing formal white shirts and waving a big Filipino flag.
However, because many customers trying to order the pay-per-view telecast were having problems, organizers said they were going to slow things down before bringing Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the ring.
Announcer Jim Lampley said demand for the fight was so high, cable and satellite operators needed more time to keep up to fill orders. Lampley referred to the problems as ”electronic overload which is plaguing cable systems across the country.”
8:18 p.m. (11:18 p.m. EDT)
The crowd now includes three Batmans (Batmen?): Christian Bale, Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck. Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro and Denzel Washington are holding it down for old Hollywood, while Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley headlined the extensive selection of retired athletic greats.
8:02 p.m. (11:02 p.m.)
Tom Brady did the double. The New England Patriots’ four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback showed up at the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight after taking in the Kentucky Derby earlier in the day.
7:53 p.m. (10:53 p.m. EDT)
Tantalizingly close to perhaps the most anticipated sporting event of the year, many cable and satellite customers are complaining they can’t watch the fight.
Scores of angry tweets directed at various television providers complained of problems ordering or watching the Floyd Mayweather- Manny Pacquiao fight on Saturday night. Some users said when they tried to order, the fight wasn’t available. Others complained of picture problems or an inability to tune to the pay-per-view channel.
Customer service Twitter accounts for Dish Network and Cox Communications asked users whether they ordered standard definition or high definition feeds of the fight, indicating there may be issues with the standard definition feed. A similar account for DirecTV referred users toward a troubleshooting website.
The bout is expected to be the most popular in pay-per-view history, with an estimated 3 million households buying the fight at nearly $100 each.
”We’re seeing and gracefully managing a lot of demand – which is a good thing,” Dish Network spokesman Bob Toevs said.
7:45 p.m. (10:45 p.m. EDT)
Leo Santa Cruz’s undercard fight with Jose Cayetano was not exactly compelling, but it didn’t really matter to true sports fans enjoying everything that Super Saturday had to offer, thanks to modern technology.
Looking around the now-packed stands in the MGM Grand Garden arena, you could see dozens of people staring intently at their phones and reacting whenever a big shot is made in the Los Angeles Clippers’ seventh game against the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
When the Clippers clinched the victory, a ripple of cheers could be heard in the arena. Meanwhile, Santa Cruz keeps hacking away at Cayetano.
7:04 p.m. (10:04 p.m. EDT)
Vasyl Lomachenko got the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view card started with style in a one-sided thrashing of Puerto Rico’s Gamalier Rodriguez, winning in a ninth-round stoppage.
Rodriguez went down in the seventh round and again in the ninth, unable to contend with Lomachenko’s hand speed and overall skill. Rodriguez tried to survive with several low blows, but was docked two points by referee Robert Byrd, who waved off the fight when Rodriguez stayed down on one knee deep into the count in the ninth round.
Lomachenko clearly is an elite talent, but he realizes he needs bigger fights against big-name opponents to build his reputation. He wants to unify the featherweight titles: ”Anyone with a title belt in my division, that’s who I want to fight.”