Perhaps there's been a more underwhelming marquee bout in boxing history than Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao, but you'd be hard-pressed to think of any in recent memory. At least Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson had a knockout.
Mayweather coasted to a unanimous-decision victory, taking it 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112 on the judges' scorecards, per HBO Boxing.
Heading into the fight, it seemed like Mayweather and Pacquiao still had enough left in the tank to put on a great show despite both being in their mid-to-late 30s. Neither has noticeably declined, and on The Ring's pound-for-pound rankings, Mayweather and Pacquiao sit first and third, respectively.
By the time the final bell rang in the 12th round, it was abundantly clear that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao had long since passed its sell-by date. Mayweather completely dictated the tempo of the fight, and Pacquiao was powerless to stop his movement around the ring and constant clinches.
It played out like seemingly every other Mayweather fight, which is to say that the fans in attendance and those who purchased the pay-per-view didn't exactly get their money's worth. Tyson was one of many who felt the event failed to live up to the hype:
Almost from the opening bell, Pacquiao looked out of his depth. He was never going to match Mayweather's speed, but the expectation was that his constant offensive barrage and punching power might help to slow down the unbeaten champion.
Instead, Mayweather danced around the ring, completely throwing Pacquiao off his game and rendering his strength advantage useless. Mayweather's style may not make for great theater, but nobody can argue with its efficacy.
Mayweather even managed to outpunch Pacquiao, which seemed like an impossibility going into Saturday. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated provided the CompuBox numbers, and it wasn't even close:
Pacquiao had an opening in the fourth round as he connected with a couple of significant blows. In retrospect, that round arguably illustrated the gulf between him and Mayweather.
Pac-Man probably hit Mayweather with his best stuff, and it did little beyond stunning Money for a split-second and sending him against the ropes with his gloves up. The loss of Pacquiao's knockout power was never more evident than on Saturday night.
Having seen Pacquiao's best stuff, Mayweather then reverted right back into his defensive shell and sucked the life out of the fight. He exerted more and more control that by the time the ninth round arrived, the final outcome felt inevitable.
After the fight, Pacquiao revealed that he had suffered a shoulder injury during training that limited his effectiveness in the ring.
"It's part of the game," he said, per ESPN.com. "I don't want to make alibis or complain or anything, [but] it's hard to fight one-handed."
Maybe things would have gone differently if Pacquiao was 100 percent for Saturday's fight. However, it's not like his performance was out of the ordinary. He has aged less gracefully than Mayweather, and his last knockout victory came in 2009.
Mayweather is simply the better fighter.
The one-sided nature of Mayweather vs. Pacquiao would seemingly eliminate any need for a rematch. The demand might be somewhat high, though, and money talks.
With that said, why would anyone expect a return bout to go any differently?
Mannix doesn't see it happening:
Mayweather will be remembered for winning this fight, even though this fight will not be remembered. There will be no Mayweather-Pacquiao II, no further collaboration between HBO and Showtime, two competing networks that make the interactions between the Montagues and the Capulets look civil by comparison. Mayweather and Pacquiao will go their separate ways, and they should: As much as everyone wanted to see it happen, no one wants to see that again.
Ultimately, it's good that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao happened, even if it was a few years too late and a largely dull affair. It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
Maybe we should temper expectations for boxing's next superfight.