In one corner we had Filipino sensation Manny Pacquiao, who entered the bout as the WBO Welterweight champion, the pride of the Philippines and the clear under-dog. In the other corner was WBA/WBC unified champion Floyd Mayweather, an unbeaten American star that was referring to himself as “The Best Ever”.
The fight, billed as the “Fight of the Century”, unfortunately, though predictably, failed to live up to the billing and it looked like two men who were past their primes each putting on a performance that suggested the end was neigh.
The fight started tentatively with Manny beginning very slowly and Mayweather claiming the round with a couple of right hands. The second round was also quiet with Mayweather being forced back at times but doing enough to avoid the assault from the Filipino. It was far from exciting yet it was compelling with a feeling that it could come to life at any time.
The fight did, for a few moments, come alive at the end of round 3 as Pacquiao managed to up the pace and continued to keep the pace up in round 4 as the Filipino took his first clear round. It was a round that showed that Pacquiao could trouble Mayweather and could land his left hand at times. Unfortunately Mayweather managed to stifle the assaults with holding, something that became a real problem in the middle rounds when Mayweather held repeatedly, and although he received warnings, little was really done by Kenny Bayless.
The success from round 4 was rarely replicated from Pacquiao with rounds 6 and 8 being among his better rounds as Mayweather started to show off all the tricks in his arsenal. They ranged from his accurate jab to sharp rights, from intelligent movement to spoiling. It prevented Pacquiao from building momentum and kept the Filipino at range where he was much less effective than he'd have hoped to have been
By the end of the fight Mayweather seemed happy to coast, as he typically does in round 12, and whilst it was frustrating it was down to Pacquiao to up the tempo, something he failed to do.
At the final bell both men celebrated though it seemed clear that Mayweather had done more than enough to claim a competitive but clear win, something that was shown on two of the cards that read 116-112, the third card however seemed too wide at 118-112.
Whilst it was billed as something special the fight really never really came close to living up to the expectations. As predicted by many this was more a case of Marvin Hagler Vs Sugar Ray Leonard than Marvin Hagler Vs Tommy Hearns. It had it's moments but on the whole it failed to come alive, that is, however, a testament to Floyd Mayweather Jr (48-0, 26) who appears set to fight once more before retiring and will likely be defending 3 world titles when he returns to the ring. For Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38) the loss will be a set back, but he'll be back and there is no doubt that he'll manage to remain an icon in the Philippines.