A Boxing Memory: Mayweather vs Pacquiao

A Boxing Memory: Mayweather vs Pacquiao

It took nearly six years to make, and when it finally happened, many wish they hadn’t bothered.

The whole event was too corporate, a fight for the dollar rather than a fight for the ages. It all seemed a bit too friendly with little of the animosity that these occasions sometimes need. It reminded me of the third fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. That was one dance too many for those two living legends. In many ways, Mayweather vs Pacquiao felt the same.

In 2009 when both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were at their peak, it would have been a much better contest. It would have been a fight.

Arguments over the money split and drug tests scuppered the original date. The backroom wrangling’s would have been a good watch, certainly better than the fight we got served up. What we got in 2015 was a pale shadow of the fight we could have had. 

It generated $600 million, money, always the modern-day judge of a fights success. It made millions but left many cold. It lacked drama and excitement, only briefly didn’t it threaten to ignite. It was relatively even after 4 rounds, Pacquiao had a strong 4th round. Hopes were raised that we would get what we paid for. Very quickly they were dashed. For the remainder of the heavily-hyped contest, it was anything but close. Pacquiao chased a little slower than in previous years, never really threatening to catch his prey.

Pacquiao, at 36, the younger man by two years, but the older fighter, had long since lost the fire that made him what he once was. When he needed it the most, there was no magic left in the bottle. At least nowhere near enough to allow the body to follow the mind.

Mayweather was older, but had preserved his body more in his safety-first approach to boxing. Hit and not be hit in return, Mayweather was a master at his craft. The self-preservation served him well and will do so in later life.

After 12 largely forgettable rounds, the scorecards were a formality, 118-110 was about right but maybe a touch too wide, Two cards of 116-112 looked too close. The truth as usual was somewhere in the middle. The crowd booed the decision, but the boos were out of favouritism and lacked conviction or real meaning. The right man won, in boxing, sometimes you have to be grateful for that.

Mayweather again showed his genius, he won beyond any reasonable doubt. Pacquiao claimed a shoulder injury and even that he won. On both counts, he would have been better advised to say nothing.

Pacquiao chased shadows in that Las Vegas ring, he found a puzzle that he was unable to solve. It was a long night for the Filipino legend, his fate was sealed long before the final bell.

Mayweather coasted to win number 48, it was supposed to be the ‘Fight of the Century’ in truth, it was one of his easiest nights. In a sport that almost mandates blood and thunder, Mayweather will always go underappreciated. Even the cynical way he ended his career with carefully selected opposition that guaranteed low risk and high return, shouldn’t diminish just how good a fighter Mayweather was. Maybe not quite the best ever, but he certainly makes the conversation.

Mayweather carried on without too much dignity. It became even more of a business, seeing Mayweather lower himself to the YouTube circuit was something boxing could have done without.

Pacquiao had an Indian Summer renaissance in his career, before he announced his retirement after a loss to Yordenis Ugas in August. The original opponent Errol Spence Jr would have ended the magnificent career a little more definitive.

There was constant talk of a rematch between Mayweather and Pacquiao, thankfully, that’s all it was. As they say, fool me once.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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