Mayweather takes Manny to School, Church and University before dropping him off at his first day of work
Boxing fans finally got their answer to a half-decade old question last night when Floyd Mayweather Jr outpointed Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The scores of 118-110 and 116-112 (twice), from Dave Moretti, Burt A. Clements and Glenn Feldman respectively barely tell the story of the world welterweight title fight.
In truth, Mayweather, now 48-0 (26), outboxed his long-time rival in every possible way conceivable to remove every proviso, every asterisk that can be thrown at this fight now it's been placed into the history books.
Fans may argue that Manny, 57-6-2 (38), had slowed, so too has Mayweather. You could say the Filipino withered on the vine waiting for the bout, but Mayweather looked sloppy in his two previous outings against Marcos Maidana, prompting many insightful experts to predict that he would finally lose his '0' due to Pacquiao’s high volume punching.
What transpired was a tale as old as time immemorial, or at least for as long as men have stripped down to their smalls and beaten each other up under a system of rules—a good boxer always beats a good fighter, especially if the fighter makes more mistakes in a few rounds than the boxer makes in an entire fight.
That's the long and short of this one. Give Mayweather openings and he will score points, and that was the case throughout last night's piece.
Another factor is that one of them, for all his crass, money-obsessed behaviour, has lived the life year in and year out ever since turning professional. Manny's had well-documented lapses with alcohol and burned the candle at both ends - it told as the clock ticked on.
As someone once said, this sport is called 'boxing, not throwing' and, like too many men before him, Manny underestimated Mayweather's ability to thread home telling shots. His own accuracy took a nosedive, as is usually the case with Mayweather's opponents, and his chances of winning the fight decreased in tandem with this wastefulness.
Sure, there were moments when he wielded his left hand like a magic wand, even forcing his foe to step back, yet Manny's few successes were celebrated so wildly by the crowd they were indicative of how few of those moments he had. The herd clung to and savoured every one of them because they were so few and far between.
Such was Mayweather's boxing dominance, there were few complaints with the decision—well, at the time—except for Manny's claim that he had won the fight, one he hastily revised a short time later. Boos rang out from the crowd, but they had set their collective stall out early in this one, Mayweather was 'The bad guy' and would be lustily booed at every turn.
Sadly, the actors, celebrities, high rollers and everyone else who packed into the venue at extortionate prices created a surreal environment. They attended a boxing match yet booed the best boxing on display, the type of box-clinching that isn't for everyone but can be extremely effective.
Pre-fight, too many people tried to boil this one down to binary code thinking—good versus evil, the saint against the sinner—when it should always be a case of pure objectivity: Fighter A against Fighter B and you work your way up from that starting point. You turn it over in your mind, your thoughts on the fight become populous and you match them off against each other until a single, pure ideal remains standing—the better boxer should, must, win.
Tellingly, Manny's improved recent form came against people who came at him, go a few fights further down the line and two results stood out like sore thumbs. Whether or not you think Tim Bradley beat him, 'Desert Storm' gave him a lot to think about and made it a close fight. Then Juan Manuel Marquez hammered him to the canvas.
In his past five fights, Pacquiao had taken on two proper boxers and lost both times, so how was he ever going to beat Mayweather, a supreme if overly-cautious boxer? He wasn't and didn't. The ring - centre and along the ropes - belonged to Mayweather, so does the night.
There was time for one final wrinkle to the 'Good vs Evil' storyline when Pacquiao told the assembled press that he had boxed with a shoulder injury and had been denied a pain-killing jab by the NAC.
“Three weeks before my fight I had to skip my training for a couple of days for that reason,” stated the loser. “We went for an MRI - there is a tear in my right shoulder.”
No one disputes that fact, but he went into the biggest, most expensive fight in boxing history without being 100% fit, which is a black eye for his image and a blow to the fans, who deserved more.
Fighters always carry niggles yet an MRI so close to the bout was a big thing, it's a pity he didn't withdraw and fight another day. Due to his decision to fight and then complain - both about the scores and injury - the 36-year-old came across as an atypical sore loser.
As for the winner, he's one fight and out. The sport needs nights like this, though, despite the negatives that come with them, so it will be hard when Mayweather walks away. The 38-year-old has been peerless as the fighter of his generation, making his chief rival look so far off the pace you cannot imagine even a prime - by that I mean the bigger, faster and more muscled fighter who steamrolled Miguel Cotto in 2009 - Manny decoding the Mayweather enigma.
Unfortunately, the winner will never quite aspire to the 'T.B.E.' status he so clearly craves, and which seems to get his g.o.a.t., as he lacks derring-do - that willingness to take risks that set Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran apart.
Those fighters were fine boxers and fighters, they could mix things up and took their biggest risks in their biggest fights - that's what sets them apart from last night's winner. He's the best we have, but nowhere near the best ever.
For all his talent and ability, Mayweather won't take his coveted T.B.E. slot simply because his reach never exceeded his grasp. He is happy to win, rather than make the type of statements that would ensure that he is as revered as the names he sometimes dismisses but so clearly admires. The best of this batch, yes. One of the best ever, it's always going to be hard to make that call.
That's the enigma, and in some respects, the tragedy of the 'Money' Mayweather code.
What on earth is wrong with modern boxing fans? A small section of them seem incapable of accepting a clear-cut result without conjuring up a robbery cry or blaming it on The Boxing Illuminati. Following the fight, a worrying amount of people took to the virtual newsphere to explain exactly how and why Manny won the fight.
“Mayweather held a lot.” Yes, he held, but that was something for Kenny Bayless should have sorted out, it doesn't automatically mean he lost.
“The people around me in the pub thought he lost.” Really? Your average man in the pub can sort out the economy, manage the England football team and solve world problems—look where that's got us.
“I don't know how to score a fight, but I had fights at school and the kid who was more aggressive was always the winner.” I'd like to think that scoring fights, however subjective, is a bit more involved than deciding who wins a slapfest between Jimmy Snotpants and Toby Whatshisname.
“I don't like Mayweather, so Manny won—he's such a nice guy.” Did you read that paragraph about objectivity?
A lot of the comments came from fans who dip in and out of the sport, but that doesn't make it any less wrong or insulting when they start the conspiracy theories or accuse the judges of corruption.
It might just be an Internet thing; no one is prepared to accept a definitive answer online. Well, you got one in the ring last night and, loath as I am to use them, the stats favour Mayweather.
Compubox reported that Mayweather landed 148 of 435 shots for a percentage of 34%, Manny landed 81 of 429 (19%). Throw in the round average, 12/36 for Mayweather to 6/35 for Pacquiao and the message is clear even in this BoxRec logic ‘Let's argue until we drop and ignore the evidence presented by our naked eye and boxing brain’ culture—the loser was barely in the race.
As for that BoxRec logic thing, you know what it amounts to: A over B so C or 'This is a list of their common foes and results therefore this guy is better'.
You can talk about wins over Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and respective performances yet I fail to see how anyone can watch these two men fight and think Manny could win a boxing match.
Yes, Manny's the more exciting fighter, but, to paraphrase, this sport is called boxing, not fighting, and it was always clear to see who is the better of the two. However, you could have been forgiven for thinking that Manny would conjure up the illusion of out-working and therefore outpointing his American foe - he may have had the plan, but he didn't have the wand, tricks and, due to his failing health, Freddie Roach no longer appears to be the master ingénieur he once was.
But if you want to do the whole BoxRec logic thing: 'Mayweather dominated Marquez in a way Manny never could.'
This meeting is adjourned.