Floyd Mayweather looks to have finally ended the years-long debate about whether he or Manny Pacquiao is the superior fighter. The 38-year-old moved to a perfect 48-0 in the ring with a unanimous-decision victory over Pacquiao.
According to HBO Boxing, the judges scored it 118-110, 116-112, 116-112 to Mayweather.
The scores indicated the difference between the two fighters in the ring. Mayweather dominated for large stretches, with only intermittent interludes in which Pacquiao looked in control. Mayweather's defense was on point, and he landed a shocking number of blows more than his opponent. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix provided the final CompuBox numbers:
In terms of watchability, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao was a far cry from Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvelous Marvin Hagler or Hagler's bout with Thomas Hearns in the pantheon of superfights. Mike Tyson wasn't afraid to voice his displeasure with what he saw as a perceived lack of entertainment value:
With that said, boxing fans who didn't catch the pay-per-view should tune into the replay to see just why Mayweather is the greatest fighter of his generation.
ESPN.com's Dan Rafael provided the details for where to catch the replay:
The first shocking moment—or in this case moments—of the fight came in the first round as Mayweather went on the offensive, while Pacquiao looked like the fighter trying to figure out what was going on. Most expected the roles to be reversed, with Pacquiao dominating early and Mayweather feeling things out.
Al Bernstein, who was helping to call the pay-per-view, felt that Mayweather was doing a great job of hitting Pacquiao with right-handed shots, as Showtime Sports noted:
Pacquiao had his best moment of the fight in the fourth round. He started showing shades of his early self, peppering Mayweather with a couple of hard shots and sending him against the ropes. All Mayweather could do as a counter was get his hands up and deflect the blows.
Leisha Chi of BBC News watched the fight with an assembled crowd in Manila. Pacquiao's fellow Filipinos were obviously enjoying Pac-Man's emergence:
Sports Illustrated remarked that that could've been the round where everything changed:
Indeed, both fighters were pretty close on the scorecards and in the punch stats at that point, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Pacquiao's quick burst ultimately proved to be a false dawn. In a way, the biggest moment of the fight was in the fifth round as Pacquiao failed to build any sort of momentum after his great fourth. He didn't land any sizable blows, and Mayweather quickly regained control.
The fifth and sixth rounds almost represent the point of no return when fighting Mayweather. If his opponent hasn't done enough to win the fight or at the very least damage Mayweather, then it's probably not going to happen at all.
Mayweather is such a good defensive fighter and tactician that he absolutely squeezes the life out of a fight in the later rounds. ESPN Stats & Info provided the historical data to illustrate that point:
Mayweather's style is far from aesthetically pleasing, but nobody can debate its effectiveness. He ran around the ring, forcing Pacquiao to chase him for the entire fight. He also got into a clinch any time he smelt the faintest hint of danger.
And as much as some may want to bash Mayweather, the fact is he threw more total punches on the night. Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel didn't have much time for those who argued Mayweather somehow didn't take the fight right to Pacquiao:
By the time it was all said and done, the only person who thought Pacquiao truly won was Pacquiao himself, per HBO Boxing:
The definitive nature of the result would seem to eliminate the need for a rematch. There's little to make you think Pacquiao would fare any better in a second fight. He wasn't really that close to Mayweather beyond his quick fits of aggression.
Mayweather said earlier in the week that he doesn't want a rematch with Pacquiao, but that stance could change in the coming months.