Mayweather outfoxes 'injured' Pacquiao
Self-proclaimed 'TBE' Floyd Mayweather Jr eased to a unanimous decision over arch-rival Manny Pacquiao in a bout that rarely caught fire at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas yet appeared to cement his unbeatable legacy in this era. The 'Fight For Eternity' proved to be an event rather than a spectacle, but that was, once again, due to Mayweather's ability to nullify an opponent's strengths and pull away on the scorecards with his superior ring craft. Mayweather said he would relinquish all five of his world title belts on Monday and have one final, non-title 12-rounder as he bows out from the sport he has dominated for the best part of a 19-year career.
Afterwards, Pacquiao claimed a right shoulder injury had inhibited his work-rate and revealed he had been refused a shot in the dressing room which briefly appeared to open the door to an unlikely rematch. He said he felt the pain from the third round.
The Filipino claimed he had hurt his right shoulder last month and was using an anti-inflammatory to treat the injury. But the NAC refused his pre-fight request for a painkiller because he had indicated he was not hurt in the statutory medical questionnaire.
Mayweather, gracious in victory, added at the post-fight press conference that both his hands and arms were injured but he had no problem proceeding with the fight or crediting Pacquiao.
Action was sparse. Pacquiao rocked Mayweather with a southpaw left hand in the fourth that sent Floyd reeling into the ropes, but the Filipino was chasing shadows for the rest of the night as the wily American used superior ring smarts to ease away on the scorecards.
Mayweather was at his elusive best and always dictated the pace of the fight. Pacquiao's infrequent bursts of punches were never enough and he was rarely in range to make an impact against the defensive master. Referee Kenny Bayless, unsurprisingly, showed leniency for Floyd's persistent holding in the early stages when a point deduction appeared to be merited.
"My love for the sport isn't what it once was," admitted Mayweather afterwards before showing an uncharacteristic trace of humility. "In my era, I'm TBE [The Best Ever]."
Mayweather's record rises to 48-0 (26 KOs) - he seems destined to retire undefeated with only one fight remaining in his storied career.
Photo credit: Esther Lin, Showtime.