By Sean Crose
The “Fight of the Century” proved to be just like many of the Floyd Mayweather bouts that came before it. Manny Pacquiao was a hyped opponent, but he proved to be no match for the pound for pound best fighter on earth.
It was a surprising beginning as Floyd started strong, landing clean on Manny and keeping him from attacking effectively. By the second it became clear that Floyd’s speed was a factor. Yet Manny was able to get in on the man by the midpoint of the chapter. Mayweather was able to dominate regardless.
Mayweather took to holding in the third whenever Manny got close. For his own part, however, Pacquiao was not able or willing to move in at angles. He was also unable to put his punches together. Manny was able to land clean occasionally, true, but not often.
And then came the fourth round. Pacquiao landed – hard – then pounded away at Floyd on the ropes. It looked like there may be indeed be a fight in Vegas. Yet by the midway point of the fifth, Mayweather was back in charge. Al Bernstein was right to claim that Pacquiao was “very inactive.”
Pacquiao came alive again in the 6th by catching Floyd and grinding him on the ropes. Mayweather resumed control for the next several rounds, however, subsequently pulling away on the scorecards (at least that’s certainly how it appeared).
Pacquiao landed hard again in the 9th, but it wasn’t enough. In fact, it was turning into a story of Manny not doing enough. Indeed, it looked like Mayweather was cruising his way to yet another Mayweather-style victory. If Pacqiuao was going to pull it off, he would have to get in gear – and fast.
It didn’t happen. Mayweather, in truth, sailed to a Mayweather win. He was clearly the more skilled of the two fighters. He simply dominated. And answered all questions decisively. It may not have been the fight most fans wanted, but it was clear cut victory for the man who has called himself “The Best Ever” for quite some time now.
And the judges rightly agreed, granting “Money” a unanimous decision victory. The fight will unquestionably be discussed for ages, though perhaps as a cultural event rather than a great example of fisticuffs. Like so many major bouts which came before it, the fightwas rather underwhelming.
That’s all to Mayweather’s credit, though. For Floyd’s talent and skill kept Pacquiao at bay. Indeed it’s highly doubtful that there will be a rematch – or that a bout this big will come along again any time soon.
In earlier fights, Ukranian sensation Vasyl Lomanchenko (4-1, 2 KOs) knocked out an outgunned Gamalier Rodriguez (25-3-3, 17 KOs) to hold on to his share of the featherweight title. Oh, and Leo Santa Cruz (30-0-1 17KOs) won a snoozer against a game and determined Jose Cayetano (17-2-0 8 KOs). The man’s a featherweight now. Most hope he will now attempt to live up to his talent.