Mayweather Beats Pacquiao in Unanimous Decision – Wall Street Journal
LAS VEGAS—Floyd Mayweather Jr. climbed the ropes in celebration. Manny Pacquiao raised both arms in triumph. The most lucrative night in fighting history was finally over, and both boxers believed they had won.
Mayweather and Pacquiao swapped punches to every part of the body above the belt for 12 rounds, and the winner of the bout that the boxing world had awaited for years would be decided by the judges—the only three people in the MGM Grand Garden Arena whose opinions actually counted.
The sold-out crowd, a pro-Pacquiao audience that rained boos on Mayweather the whole night, waited for the word from the judges. No one had any idea what they were about to hear: Mayweather or Pacquiao?
But then the lopsided scorecards were announced, and suddenly everyone knew: The winner was Mayweather.
The undefeated Mayweather beat Pacquiao by unanimous decision in their welterweight unification fight Saturday, the glitziest prizefight in a generation, which may have been worth hundreds of millions of dollars for each boxer.
The scores weren’t even close. Mayweather won 118-110 on one card—meaning he was the more impressive fighter in 10 of the 12 rounds—and 116-112 on the others. Mayweather improved his record to 48-0 with the win. Pacquiao dropped to 57-6-2 with his third loss in his past six fights.
“When the history books are written,” Mayweather said, “it was worth the wait.”
The megaevent had to live up to almost impossible hype. Mayweather and Pacquiao had finally agreed to fight after more than five years of dancing around each other. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flooded this city and sent ticket prices skyrocketing. Even the traditional Friday weigh-in—which was nothing more than Mayweather and Pacquiao stripping to their underwear, stepping on a scale and then staring at each other—was a scene that grizzled boxing lifers had never seen.
But for all its overwhelming uncertainty—many people thought Mayweather and Pacquiao wouldn’t actually step into the ring together—the fight went almost exactly as expected. It was a classic Mayweather performance. He was as clinical as ever in the ring and as cocksure as ever afterward.
“I knew I had him from round one,” Mayweather said. “Everything is a calculated move. I’m 10 steps ahead of any fighter.”
Mayweather picked apart Pacquiao with the incredible technical precision that has made him a masterful boxer. He threw more punches than Pacquiao, according to CompuBox, the statistical service that had Mayweather at 435 punches and Pacquiao at 429. Mayweather was also far more efficient, connecting on 34% to Pacquiao’s 19%, in addition to 48% of his power punches to Pacquiao’s 27%.
He pulled away from Pacquiao in the later rounds. All three judges awarded four of the first six rounds to Mayweather but the sixth round to Pacquiao, who had backed Mayweather into the ropes and pounded him with a series of body shots. Pacquiao had bullied Mayweather the same way in the fourth round, when he landed a left hook right to the face that made it look like he could take control. At one point Pacquiao returned to his corner visibly laughing to himself.
The roars of “Manny! Manny! Manny!” swept through an electrified crowd that was itching for the one outcome that would have unprecedented: They wanted to watch Mayweather lose.
Pacquiao, the underdog, was ushered into the arena with a wave of adulation that almost overwhelmed the entrance music that he recorded himself. He was followed by Mayweather strutting into the ring wearing garish warm-ups and ignoring the boos that accompanied him.
But it became clear before long that Mayweather was unaffected by the atmosphere. Part of his plan, he said, was to get a sense for Pacquiao’s strategy early and pounce on him as the fight went on. That is exactly how the fight turned out.
“I did my best,” Pacquiao said. “But my best wasn’t good enough.”
Mayweather, who had refrained from the usual pre-fight chatter between competing camps, heaped praise on Pacquiao when they were still in the ring. “He’s a great champion and a hell of a fighter,” he said. “Now I see why he’s been so successful in his career.”
In the hours after the fight, sitting on a dais inside the deconstructed ring, Pacquiao’s team said he had suffered an injury to his right shoulder during training camp that could have hindered his performance. The revelation may help the fight’s promoters organize a rematch. Mayweather, who is 38, says his next fight in September will be his last.
“We’d love to do it again,” Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said.
Mayweather shot down the immediate talk of a rematch with Pacquiao. He walked onto the stage, shook Roach’s hand, hugged Pacquiao and stood behind the promoter Bob Arum until he turned over the rest of the night. “Let’s welcome the champion,” Arum said.
Mayweather, wearing a black sweatsuit and white cap with all his belts in front of him, talked about himself. He repeated his claim that he is “the best ever.” He chafed at any and all critical media coverage. He mentioned that he made $2.8 million every minute of the fight and then flashed his $100 million check. He was the Mayweather that the crowd had come to see but not love.
“People don’t really know me,” he said. “I’m just an American dream.”
Write to Ben Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org