As the final seconds ticked away in the 12th round of the megafight of every century combined, Justin Bieber was there slapping high fives with the bodyguards of his good buddy, Floyd Mayweather.
“We did it!” Bieber said. “We did it!”
Yes, Justin, you sure did.
About five minutes later, Manny Pacquiao continually flashed a smile, even as the ringside announcer said he lost. The Pacman thought he defeated Mayweather.
Despite boxing’s illustrious history with awful judging and decisions, the Fight of the Century between Mayweather and Pacquiao on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Arena will not go down in history as one of those bouts.
Boxing is not known for “fair and square,” but Mayweather’s unanimous decision over Pacquiao was just that. He is the undisputed welterweight champion, and best pound-for-pound fighter of this era.
A fight five years in the making did not live up to the Hollywood-level hype surrounding this event, because that was nearly impossible, but it was not quite another Mayweather yawn fest.
For one, the fight featured so many A-listers and pretty people the atmosphere alone at the MGM Grand Arena made for worthy viewing. Entertainer Jamie Foxx banged out a wonderful national anthem, and the array of hot celebs from Robert DeNiro, Denzel Washington, Jake Gyllenhall, Irina Shayk, Charles Barkley, Bieber, Sting, Mike Tyson and the rest made for fun eye candy.
After the opening bell, Pacquiao proved he belongs in the same ring as Mayweather, yet in the end the latter simply demonstrated what we all feared — he’s the best. Mayweather was the superior boxer who boxes better. He just doesn’t fight.
Immediately after the fight, Pacquiao and his promoter and trainer all said he was fighting hurt; that he has been dealing with a tear in his right shoulder for months. Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, said the injured shoulder “kicked up” in the third round. He complained his guy was not allowed to receive a pain-killing injection before the fight.
The shoulder, according to Arum, prevented Pacquiao from throwing his right hand effectively. The Nevada Athletic Commission denied most of Arum’s claims, and in the end it sounds like excuses.
The right shoulder became a crutch for a fighter who just isn’t as good as his opponent.
The first four rounds featured good action and some decent exchanges, but after that the two settled in a routine. Mayweather didn’t run, but he did duck. Manny pushed, and it just didn’t matter. Pacquiao was unable to get inside, and Mayweather’s counter jabs were too effective.
“Manny Pacquiao is a hell of a fighter. Now I see why he is at the pinnacle of boxing,” Mayweather said immediately after the fight. “He had his moments, but I was smart. I out-boxed him.”
No argument here, or from anyone else. A few times, Mayweather would absorb some of Pacquiao’s punches and taunt him afterwards.
It was closer than most of Mayweather’s fights, but not that close. For the record, the final scores were: 118-110, 116-112, 116-112. Among the three judges combined, Pacquiao won an average of less than three rounds.
“I did my best and my best was not good enough,” Pacquiao said in the press conference after the fight. “I thought I won.”
Pacquiao also said, “I got him with solid punches. If he stayed still, I could have thrown more punches.”
Yeah, well, that’s what Mayweather does. He does not stay still, and he avoids contact better than any athlete in any sport ever has. Watching him in person it’s easier to appreciate his considerable quickness, and to be bored by his methodical approach.
According to the final stats, Pacquiao landed but 19 percent of his punches compared to Mayweather’s 34 percent. Mayweather landed 25 percent of his jabs to just nine percent for Pacquiao.
Pacquiao continually tried to push the pace, and repeatedly had Mayweather in the corners, but it never mattered. Despite Pacquiao’s renowned ability to land power punches, Mayweather did as Mayweather does — he dodged them, or deflected their impact.
Mayweather improved to 48-0. He has one more fight remaining on his contract with Showtime, which he said he intends to honor in September, and that’s it. No word on the opponent. Mayweather, 38, said he will retire after that fight, and surrender all of his title belts.
The megafight of the century did not live up to the hype because Mayweather would not allow it.
Pacquiao was a worthy opponent, but Mayweather is simply the best.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760