LAS VEGAS – A ‘Fight of the Century’ that will be kept in the dustbin 100 years from now.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. delivered a boring performance that was enough for him to keep his unblemished record, scoring a unanimous decision win over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night (Sunday, Manila time) to unify the world welterweight championship.
The man who proclaims himself as ‘The Best Ever’ (TBE), mostly picked his shots and hardly avoided engaging the hard-punching Pacquiao in the middle of the ring before a disappointed crowd of 16,507 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here.
But his punching accuracy was right on target for most of the highly-anticipated 12-round bout, good enough to eke out his 48 straight career victory as a pro.
Judges Glenn Feldman and Burt Clements both scored the much-hyped fight at 116-112, while Dave Moretti had Mayweather winning all except two rounds for a 118-110 score.
“He had some moments in the fight, but I kept him on the outside. I was a smart fighter,” said Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs), who earned approximately $180 million inside 36 minutes just by repeatedly eluding the charging Pacquiao in a supposed super-fight that obviously failed to live up to the hype.
Despite his rather lackluster performance, the 38-year-old native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was actually the busier fighter of the two, landing 148 of the 435 punches he threw for a 34 percent accuracy.
In contrast, Pacquiao just landed 19 percent of his shots, connecting just 81 of the 148 punches he threw.
The Filipino boxing great admitted having a hard time nailing the ever elusive Mayweather, who constantly kept moving around the ring and would immediately clinch once Pacquiao goes on the attack.
“He was moving around too much. It wasn’t easy throwing punches at him. If he would’ve stayed in one place, then I could’ve thrown punches,” said the Pacman, whose record fell to 57-6-2, with 38 KOs.
“I was cutting him and countering. I wanted to fight.”
The Filipino received his biggest prize purse ever of $120 million and did his part in taking the fight to Mayweather that thrilled the pro-Pacquiao crowd no end and chanted his name Manny! Manny! Manny!
But Floyd kept his discipline and imposed his style of fighting against his 36-year-old opponent.
“He didn’t do anything. He was always moving outside,” said Pacquiao, who downplayed the obvious height and weight advantages the American carried with him in the ring.
“I was able to handle his power. He’s not strong like my previous opponents like (Antonio) Margarito,” said Pacquiao, who sported a slight welt just below his right eye when he attended the post-fight press conference.
Mayweather however, was not to be denied, admitting he took his time closely watching at how Pacquiao works before adjusting his way the rest of the match.
“I’m a calculated fighter,” he said. “All 47 fights before I got to this fight played a major key in my career.