Failing to living up to the hype, the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao ended in the predictable way: Mayweather winning by decision, remaining undefeated and unifying title belts, while Pacquiao looked like someone content with losing by points without exposing himself to a knockout counter punch.
While this wasn’t an easy fight for Mayweather, he looked comfortably ahead in the final two rounds, even if most of what he did in those rounds was run away from Pacquiao and lift his arms up in celebration before the final bell. Pacquiao needed something big to happen, but never really put himself in that position, not wanting to expose himself to a counter punch like he suffered from against Juan Manuel Marquez.
Mayweather did find the Pacquiao overhead left something difficult to handle in the early rounds, getting cut off into the corner and struggling with positioning in the ring. But while Pacquiao’s footwork and left hand threat worked well to position Mayweather near the ropes, he never really was able to hold him there for long periods or get too many clean punches through. There was that one big hit in the fourth round, staggering Mayweather a bit, but from there on out Mayweather adjusted, kept stepping on Pacquiao, increased the illegal headlocking technique and seemed to cruise towards victory.
Mayweather won 116-112 on the scorecards of two judges, 118-110 on another. The referee was never going to do something about him slowing down the fight, but that’s not the only reason he won. He simply brought Pacquiao down to Mayweather’s pace, and Pacquiao never really tried to change things up. He managed to land some punches, all by making Mayweather move into his left hand, but that didn’t happen often enough, and hardly at all in the final rounds.
According to Compubox, Mayweather wasn’t just the more accurate puncher, he threw more hits, which is rare for his fights. He landed 34% of his punches (148 of 435). Pacquiao managed to connect only 81 times on 429 thrown, just 19%. Mayweather did work his right jab quite a lot, but most of his connections were on power punches, hitting with them 48% of the time. For most of the fight, he had Manny where he wanted him.
Pacquiao said after the fight that he thought he was winning. Hard to believe he believed what he said. He didn’t look bad out there, but not great, and anything less than great doesn’t beat Mayweather, even at his age. The money is a nice way to forget about the loss, but for almost entire nation that halted it’s life to see him fight, maybe a little more guts should have been shown. Pacquiao’s legacy wasn’t going to be any different regardless of how he lost this fight. A win would have made everything different.
Mayweather? He has one more fight in his deal with Showtime. Maybe a rematch with Pacquiao, although there doesn’t seem to be as much hunger for it now. Then? Retirement. Mayweather didn’t improve his legacy. He simply added one more win, one more meaningless belt. He showed his usual style, efficiency and dominance. The best fighter of his generation, yet one that’s never been entertaining or easy to sympathize for obvious reasons. To him, it doesn’t matter one bit. He got his W. He got his cash.