Floyd Mayweather defeats Manny Pacquiao on points in 'Fight of the Century'
Floyd Mayweather Jnr cemented his place among the pantheon of boxing greats by improving to 48-0 with a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday.
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 May, 2015, 9:54am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 May, 2015, 4:46pm
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather embrace in the ring at the finish. Photo: AP
Floyd Mayweather Jnr cemented his place among the pantheon of boxing greats by improving to 48-0 with a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday in a fight that lived up to its immense hype and price tag.
Mayweather weathered an early assault by the Filipino southpaw and then won the later rounds to finish ahead on all three judges’ scorecards in a welterweight showdown that is expected to be the top grossing prize fight of all-time.
"When the history books are written, it was worth the wait," Mayweather said in the ring after a fight that was over five years in the making.
Though Pacquiao repeatedly forced Mayweather to backpedal, the wily American blunted his opponent’s best efforts by using his renowned defensive skills while getting in several telling jabs and punches of his own.
Mayweather and Pacquiao had promised to deliver on years of hype and give fans their money’s worth and were true to their word in delivering everything but a knockout.
"Manny Pacquiao is a hell of a fighter, I see now why he is at the pinnacle of boxing," Mayweather said after an emotional embrace with Pacquiao. "I’m a smart fighter, I outboxed him.
"We knew what we had to do. He’s a tough competitor ... a very awkward fighter and I had to take my time and watch him closely."
Mayweather is guaranteed at least a US$120 million payday from the title bout that had been dubbed the "Fight of the Century" and he said in the ring that his next fight will be his last.
"My next fight in September will be my last and I will retire 49-0," said the 38-year-old American.
The 16,800 spectators packed an MGM Grand Garden Arena that crackled with energy as the rich and famous settled into their ringside seats.
Actors Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington rubbed shoulders with sports celebrities such as Michael Jordan, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and billionaire Donald Trump.
With ringside seats commanding six-figure sums on the resale market even the very wealthy and very famous were forced to call in favours to secure a golden ticket while an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 fight fans flooded into the desert gambling capital to be part of the buzz.
"It is a good fight. I thought I won the fight. He didn’t do nothing. He always moved outside," said Pacquiao, who dropped to 57-5-3. "I got him many times. I threw the punches and I thought I won the fight."
ROUND BY ROUND
Round 12: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 115-113. Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao hug in the center of the ring before the final round of the most anticipated fight in years. Then they shove each other away and go back to work. Pacquiao continues to storm forward, but Mayweather shows off athleticism with one last fleet-footed display. Both fighters raise their gloves at the bell, and Mayweather jumps on the ring ropes.
Round 11: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 105-104. Two great fighters are in a bit of a stalemate, with Manny Pacquiao unable to land his speedy combinations and Floyd Mayweather unable to do much more than jab, counterpunch and stay out of trouble. Pacquiao backs Mayweather into a corner, but Mayweather lands a clean left hand on the chin moments later. Mayweather claps his gloves together at the bell in a gesture that Manny once used.
Round 10: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: 95-95. Another round of stalking by Manny Pacquiao and superb defence from Floyd Mayweather, who lands just enough jabs and counterpunches to keep the Filipino congressman frustrated. Neither fighter lands anything huge in an even round.
Round 9: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: Mayweather 86-85. Manny Pacquiao continues to look for an opening to unload his big punches, but Floyd Mayweather Jr. counterpunches and dodges adroitly. Pacquiao is more aggressive and effective, but Mayweather nearly connects with a big right hand, and he lands a big late flurry on the ropes.
Round 8: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: Mayweather 77-75. Floyd Mayweather continues to use his jab to keep Pacquiao uncertain. Pacquiao opens up, jumps in and throws big shots at Mayweather, connecting with two big left hands. Mayweather jabs and counterpunches. They trade glares after an exchange at the bell.
Round 7: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 68-65. Floyd Mayweather Jnr becomes the pursuer to open the round, stalking Manny Pacquiao back to the ropes. Mayweather uses a double jab and a right hand to keep Pacquiao guessing. Pacquiao lunges forward to throw combinations, but Mayweather is already gone.
Round 6: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: Mayweather 58-56. Manny Pacquiao wears a look of fury to open the round, and he chases Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the ropes repeatedly with superior energy and aggression. Pacquiao unloads with combinations that bring the crowd to its feet, but Mayweather stares back with a cold-eyed look and mouths, ‘Nope, nope.’
Round 5: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 49-46. The crowd is still buzzing from Manny Pacquiao’s enormous left hand in the fourth round, but Mayweather shows veteran calm and wins the early exchanges. Pacquiao is stalking and looking for openings, but finding none this round in the defensive virtuoso.
Round 4: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: Mayweather 39-37. Manny Pacquiao stalks Floyd Mayweather Jr. around the ring, but Mayweather mostly parries the big shots that draw hoarse cheers from the crowd. Pacquiao then catches Mayweather with a huge left hand and appears to stagger him, but Mayweather backs up on the ropes in a defensive posture and then survives the round with a smirk.
Round 3: Mayweather 30-27. Floyd Mayweather Jr. delivers a borderline low blow, and Manny Pacquiao reacts angrily. Pacquiao loads up for a few big punches, but still has trouble finding the most elusive boxer of his generation. Big shots late get the crowd on its feet.
Round 2: Mayweather 20-18. Manny Pacquiao gets Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the ropes, but the unbeaten pound-for-pound king slips away repeatedly or wraps up Pacquiao in close. Pacquiao’s shots are mostly missing, and Mayweather gets more aggressive later in the round. Pacquiao lands a late left.
Round 1: Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg: Mayweather 10-9. Both fighters moved aggressively to the center of the ring to start their long-awaited fight. Manny Pacquiao looked to land early body shots, but Floyd Mayweather Jr. slipped away. Mayweather landed a solid counter right to the body in the final minute.
The late money coming into the Vegas sportsbooks has been mostly on Floyd Mayweather, and the odds have surged to -240 for Mayweather and +200 for Pacquiao.
The fighters are ready, and the arena is packed. But Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are waiting in their dressing rooms for a few extra minutes because HBO and Showtime have such a backlog of requests to buy the fight.
The broadcasters elected to delay the main event for a few minutes to take in more orders for the $99.95 pay-per-view. The crush of requests for the fight, which is expected to shatter every pay-per-view record in combat sports, has slowed down the cable and satellite providers who get the fight to fans.
Earlier, Vasyl Lomachenko got the Floyd Mayweather Jnr-Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view card started with style in a one-sided thrashing of Puerto Rico’s Gamalier Rodriguez, winning in a ninth-round stoppage.
Rodriguez went down in the seventh round and again in the ninth, unable to contend with Lomachenko’s hand speed and overall skill. Rodriguez tried to survive with several low blows, but was docked two points by referee Robert Byrd, who waved off the fight when Rodriguez stayed down on one knee deep into the count in the ninth round.
Two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medallist Lomachenko clearly is an elite talent, but he realises he needs bigger fights against big-name opponents to build his reputation. He wants to unify the featherweight titles: “Anyone with a title belt in my division, that’s who I want to fight.”
After a night of New Year’s Eve-style partying, Las Vegas awoke ready to rumble on Saturday as the “Fight of the Century” between unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Manny Pacquiao entered the final countdown.
As the sun rose over the desert gambling resort, high-rollers, entertainment moguls and business tycoons continued to flood into town for what is expected to be the top-grossing prize fight of all-time.
I was willing to spend about US$3,000 for this fight, for a decent seat. The problem was with those prices you are way up in the top
Mayweather fan Scott Avig
Only the fabulously rich and very famous will hold the golden tickets to the heavily secured 16,800 seat MGM Grand Garden Arena for the welterweight showdown that has been five years in the making.
Media reported on Saturday that airport traffic was reaching record volume levels, forcing hundreds of private jets to smaller area airports.
With tickets commanding six-figure sums on the resale market, even A-list celebrities were being forced to call in favours, and many were left waiting to hear if they had made the red carpet cut.
Fewer than 1,000 tickets were offered to the public and those vanished in seconds. The remainder were divided among the two fighters’ promotion companies and MGM, who will make seats available to their best customers.
Fans gather at a plaza in Marikina City in suburban Manila on Sunday morning for the open-air live telecast of the fight. Photo: AFP
A Showtime official said the cable giant, which will share pay-per-view rights with rival HBO, had been fielding calls from anxious A-listers over the last 24 hours eager to confirm ringside reservations.
But with demand far out-stripping supply, some celebrities faced the humbling prospect of being shut out or bumped into the upper levels.
Seat or no seat, celebrity parties raged up and down the Las Vegas Strip on Friday night with something for nearly every taste and wallet.
For high-rollers, hip hot artist Jay Z offered a mega-expensive US$50,000 a table VIP bash around the megafight while P. Diddy threw a poolside bash with a US$10,000 a table cover complete with swimsuit models.
The souvenir black market was also doing brisk business with vendors reaching into plastic garbage bags and pulling out knockoff fight T-shirts at less than half the US$35 price tag at officially licensed kiosks inside the casinos.
Boxing fan Daniel de Jesus poses in boxing gloves decorated with photos of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather which he bought at a merchandise store in Las Vegas. Photo: AFP
Showtime confirmed the fight will have an Oscars-worthy front row with Hollywood royalty like Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro, squeezed in alongside celebrities from the sport world such as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the team’s billionaire owner, Robert Kraft.
Only a lucky few will get the chance to view the fight live while everyone else will have to watch on pay-per-view.
“You know what, I go to all of Floyd’s fights and the last time I spent US$2,700 on the Canelo Alvarez fight in 2013,” Mayweather fan Scott Avig from Detroit said in Las Vegas. “I was willing to spend about US$3,000 for this fight, for a decent seat. The problem was with those prices you are way up in the top.
“The secondary market is ridiculous this time.”
A fan poses with models at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Photo: AFP
Even with tickets out of reach for the average person, the Las Vegas tourism and convention bureau estimated between 150,000 to 200,000 fight fans will invade Las Vegas to be part of the buzz.
Crowd control will be the main security focus with Mayweather’s last two fights at the MGM Grand ending in stampedes and injuries.
After a Mayweather-Marcos Maidana bout last May, 60 people were injured while the rematch in September also ended in crowd trouble and injuries.