The Fight of the Century – Without Standards (updated)

The hype is over.  The fight is over.  All that remains are the bruises.  Manny Pacquiao’s ego is dented.  Floyd Mayweather is filled with ego to the eyeballs.  He won the fight that will secure his legacy.


He won’t care that the modern day fight of the century won’t make the shortlist for fight of the year.  No one should be surprised.  It was never going to be bloody brutality.


Mayweather doesn’t fight to get knockouts.  It is though they are irrelevant.  He moves, covers up and throws flashy combinations, fast, accurate and sharp.


It is technically brilliant, but Mayweather is not an exciting fighter to watch.  If he attacked more the knockouts would come, but he doesn’t care.


Hit and not get hit.  The best in the business.


It was incumbent on Pacquiao to bring the fight.  He was expected to throw about 700 punches and use angles to get inside and let the power punches go.


Though Pacquiao tried it was impossible.  Mayweather reduced him to a two-bit fighter.


Mayweather set the tone in the first round by staying out of range and jabbing to the body and face.  When Pacquiao was in range, Mayweather shot the right cross or hook.


Inside the first minute Pacquiao would’ve known it would be a long night.


Mayweather looked much bigger.  He used his reach.  Pacquiao kept getting tapped with the jab and couldn’t get inside.  When he attacked, Mayweather was across the ring.  In the corner, Mayweather ducked and slipped.  The punches brushed his back.


Wherever Mayweather was, centre-ring, on the ropes or moving sideways he was too accurate, finding room in gaps two inches wide.  Pacquiao bobbed to get inside where Mayweather tied him up.


In the fourth round, Pacquiao went to the body and head, landing a big left hook that set Mayweather back on his heels.  He retreated to the ropes and covered up.  Manny flurried.  Nothing landed.  He stepped back and reset the attack, clearly winning the round.


Mayweather spent the next two rounds on the outside, moving, ducking and sliding, peppering Pacquiao with jabs and hooks.  Mayweather goaded him on the ropes.  Pacquiao let his punches go but Mayweather was too slick and accurate.


When they clinched Mayweather used headlocks or his body to lean on Pacquiao’s back.  Referee Kenny Bayliss warned Mayweather for holding.


In the corner after round six, his father Floyd Mayweather Snr admonished his son for fighting scared.


Through the second half of the bout Mayweather moved more than fighting.  When he punched he was accurate.  When he stopped moving Pacquiao connected.  There was blood on Mayweather’s lips.


Pacquiao’s right eye started swelling in the eighth round.


Mayweather dominated the ninth, belting Pacquiao with hooks and jabs at long range.  Pacquiao tried walking Mayweather down but he wasn’t out for a walk.  He was running.  Pacquiao couldn’t keep up.


At the end of the ninth, Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach complained to Bayless about Mayweather using elbows on the inside.  Roach tried lighting a fire under his fighter.


Pacquiao won the tenth, landing hooks to the body and head.  He was desperate without showing it, too concerned by the jabs and hooks rifling past his head.


Mayweather fought the final two rounds in a canter, moving and countering as Pacquiao surged forward in futility.  Mayweather stayed out of range, as he’d done all night.  He countered when he had to.


His defence kept him safe.  His counterpunching kept him safer.


It was pure mastery.  Mayweather won a unanimous decision.  He deserved it.


The controversy


Boxing is like no other sport.  It is a haven of redemption for some men who failed in society.  Drug addicts, murderers, armed bandits and domestic thuggery.  Some men have famously learned to fight in prison.


Boxing doesn’t discriminate on character grounds.


The fight of the century received a huge amount of media.  It wasn’t all just about the fight.  During the build up and in the aftermath, much was written about Mayweather’s two-month prison term for belting up his ex-partner.


Some journalists accused fight fans of ignoring Mayweather’s violence.  One journalist asked why no one had mentioned Mayweather’s criminal past.  Another wrote that people who watched the fight filled Mayweather’s pocket with cash and condoned his domestic abuse.


Clearly, some journalists had written their stories without reading any others about the fight.


Mayweather’s shame was mentioned and analysed in every story I read.  We were reminded that he’d been denied an Australian Visa because he failed the character test.  You couldn’t miss his assault and incarceration.


His son’s voluntary statement to police after one of Mayweather’s savage assaults was included in several stories.


Despite what some journalists claimed, Mayweather was vilified for violence against women. It wasn’t ignored.


I admire Mayweather’s skill but don’t like watching him fight.  He doesn’t have that killer instinct.  His fights are predictable and unexciting.  If you watch one round of a Mayweather fight you don’t need to see the rest.


He is brilliant, the best exponent of pure boxing.  His dedication to boxing, his fitness and diet is extraordinary.


In that sense, he is undoubtedly a role model who demands respect.  It should make him a hero.


But that respect ends in the ring.


I watched the fight with a couple of mates at a pub in Bulimba in Brisbane.  The Ox was overflowing.  There were people on the footpath looking in through the windows.


When Pacquiao was introduced, the crowd at the Ox cheered.  When it was Mayweather’s turn, he was booed.  It mirrored what happened in Vegas.  It mirrored what happened around the world.


Ninety percent of people watching wanted Pacquiao to win, and win by knockout.


There is a lot of hate for Mayweather.  A man who belts his ex-partner in front of his kids is easy to hate.


So I watched the fight for two reasons.  I love boxing.  And I wanted Mayweather to feel the fear of helplessness.  I wanted him to lose his dignity.


Boxing might not have standards.  It doesn’t mean I don’t.




Editor’s Note: Since publishing this piece a new twist has developed in post-fight aftermath (as The People’s Elbow has suggested in his comment). REUTERS and  SLATE.COM are reporting that two Las Vegas residents have filed suit against the Pacquiao camp for their failure to disclose the extent of the Filipino champ’s shoulder injury prior to the fight. The action in the ring may be over, but it looks like there’s still plenty to come in the wash-up from this fight.




About Matt Watson

My name is Matt Watson, avid AFL, cricket and boxing fan. Since 2005 I’ve been employed as a journalist, but I’ve been writing about sport for more than a decade. In that time I’ve interviewed legends of sport and the unsung heroes who so often don’t command the headlines. The Ramble, as you will find among the pages of this website, is an exhaustive, unbiased, non-commercial analysis of sport and life. I believe there is always more to the story. If you love sport like I do, you will love the Ramble…


  1. Nice work Matt. I was watching the fight in my local pub. Some kids, who were standing in front of me throughout the whole fiasco, turned to me after the decision was announced and asked “Why did that bloke win?” Fair question. I understand that boxing is now just a numbers game; the number of punches landing in the scoring zone. But this will always deny the bloke who is making the play.

    The best analogy I can come up with is that watching Mayweather win is a bit like watching Freo strangle a fast flowing team like Port. Its efficient but offends the spirit of the contest.

    Maybe I’m old and look at the past through rose coloured glasses, but Fammo and Lionel would have belted the living suitcase out of both Mayweather and Pacquiao.

  2. The People's Elbow says

    More of this to play out yet… heard this morning that there is talk of a class-action against the Pacquiao camp for not properly disclosing his shoulder injury prior to the fight.

  3. Dips,
    I’ve had a few chats with mates about this fight.
    One mate believed Pacquiao won because he was the aggressor.
    The punch stats weren’t available until after the fight, but I thought Mayweather landed more. When Pacquiao got him on the ropes, Mayweather was too good defensively.
    I scored it seven rounds to five for Mayweather.
    I’m comfortable with the decision.
    In terms of those older fighters, I was a toddler when they were going around.
    Boxing is different now than it was in the past. There are less top quality fighters, because the sport is dangerous and marginalised.
    In the seventies and eighties, I’m sure Mayweather would’ve had tough fights with Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler.
    He might’ve dropped a few fights.
    Seems amazing that Mayweather’s legacy fight happened in his 48th fight.
    That tells us something right there…

  4. Litza,
    A lot of boxers take sore hands and wrists into a fight, occasionally a sore jaw, ribs or lower body injuries.
    I’ve never heard of a boxer taking a torn rotator cuff into a fight. No wonder he was completely ineffective with the right hand and landed less than 20 jabs.
    I think Pacquiao is in trouble…

  5. Pacquiao threw lots of punches, but only 19% of them scored. Unfortunately that summed up his performance on the day.

    Ironmike what is Mundines ailment leading to the delay of the bout with Trout ?


  6. Hey Glen,
    Mundine has a burst ear drum.
    Probably happened in sparring.
    Very painful.

  7. Shane Johnson says

    Wonderfully accurate summary Matt.
    FM reminds me of a smaller Ali the way he boxes very upright with great awareness, ring craft, skill, jabs, counter punches and reflexes.
    Cant agree with Dips on Fammo and Lionel…both greats but fought at lighter weights and he would have been too tall and skilful for them..would have beaten them on points too!
    Some of the fights between Hagler v Hearns and Leonard v Duran etc are classics. Check you tube.
    FM would have had his hands full with all of them especially the southpaw Hagler but them again Marvelous was a middleweight not a welter.
    The punches landed stats show a clear win to FM and I thought the 116-112 scorelines were spot on.
    Manny hasn’t knocked out anyone since 2009 and with the shoulder he was pushing sh-t well and truly uphill.
    Smart businessman and athlete is FM …bit like Choc..dont like the Man but respect his business/promotional acumen
    Over and out

Leave a Comment