- Floyd Mayweather took the unanimous decision – judges scoring the fight 118-110, 116-112, 116-112
- The American is now unbeaten in 48 fights as a professional after beating his rival in the Fight of the Century
- Mayweather did most of the damage with his straight punches and was able to dance his way out of trouble
Neither Floyd Mayweather nor Manny Pacquiao came close to the knockout which the Money Man desired so desperately and the PacMan ended up needing so badly.
The bright start ebbed into a game of cat and mouse, Mayweather dodging and countering, Pacquiao charging and probably missing too often.
The richest fight of all time will be remembered for the mega-millions, the gigantic hype, the hordes on the Strip, the most manic media coverage of all time… and a physical chess match between two old masters.
Mayweather proved himself once again the grand master of the noble art of self defence. It was enough to settle the argument as to which of them is the greatest boxer of his generation. The man who is unbeaten in his 48 fights as a professional.
The judges may have done Pacquiao less than justice with scores of 118-110 and 116-112 twice. But although I had it a draw there can be no complaint.
Floyd Mayweather’s had too much for Manny Pacquiao (right) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
Mayweather is now unbeaten in 48 fights after producing a boxing masterclass against his great pound-for-pound rival
Mayweather poses with his welterweight belts – the one he was awarded for this latest victory is worth $1m
Mayweather lets out a roar as he celebrates after the fight – the judges had no doubt who was the winner of the main event
The fighters had an embrace and a smile for each other after going at it for 12 energy-sapping rounds in Sin City
Pacquiao closes his eyes as he comes to terms with the loss after going the distance with Mayweather
Pacquiao has his hands up as Mayweather tries with a left – it was Mayweather’s straight punches that got the better of Pacquiao
Pacquiao blocks as Mayweather throws a right hand in the opening exchanges as the pair tried to find their range
Pacquiao struggled to get close enough to Mayweather to land any big shots in the first couple of rounds
Pacquiao protested: ‘I thought I won the fight. I hit him more times than he hit me. I hurt him more than he hurt me.’
But in reality so many of the rounds were so close that a preference for a style of boxing would have been enough to sway the outcome. Floyd is a clever chap, Manny a fun fellow.
Pacquiao expressed surprise at the width of the decision but in truth he left himself at the mercy of the judges by not throwing his usual volume of punches. Had he done so it might have been different.
So in the end it came down to who connected with the more of the few meaningful punches thrown.
The score cards and the punch statistics gave that advantage to Mayweather and although I thought it more marginal than they did there is no whiff of scandal or controversy.
Mayweather did what he does best and he will head to his next and last fight, back here in September, with his legacy as an all-time great secured.
Pacquiao will go back to helping the people of the Philippines regretting that he did not do more in the ring. The original PacMan would have blitzed Mayweather with relentless combinations.
Trainer Freddie Roach admitted: ‘I asked him to give me a few more combinations but I still thought we pulled it out.’
The judges disagreed and theirs was an honourable opinion.
There will be no clamour for a rematch.
Whatever our view of the result, there was none of the drama, excitement or thunderous exchanges which would encourage the pay-TV networks, the sponsors, the advertisers, the rest of the corporate juggernaut or the public to commit another half a billion pounds.
The 16,507 crowd in the MGM Grand Garden Arena went home booing. Most of them unhappy with the result. Some of them disappointed with the spectacle.
They will come out for Mayweather one last time in September and the man himself confirmed that will be that: ‘It’s time to hang them up. I’m almost 40. I’ve been doing this for 18 years.’
The American was dancing his way out of trouble as Pacquiao came out swinging without really finding his target
Pacquiao did have his moments and had Mayweather on the ropes but the American never looked in any real trouble
Mayweather makes contact with a straight right – a weapon he kept deploying against Pacquiao
Mayweather plays up to the crowd after the fight but he wasn’t given the warmest welcome by fight fans in his home city
Mayweather confirmed after the fight that he will have one more contest – in September
Pacquiao exploded into life in the fourth round, landing a left that knocked Mayweather back and then following up with a flurry
Mayweather listens to his father Floyd Snr between rounds of the gruelling encounter with the Filipino
Pacquiao covers his face as Mayweather smells blood and tries to follow up
It will be a farewell hurrah on the Strip and it will be scant consolation for Pacquiao that whoever Mayweather chooses as the partner for his last waltz is unlikely to give him as much of a fight as the Philippines congressman.
Although this minor cameo in the desert may not even be the fight of the month.
And it may not give the super-charged boost to boxing for which the hard old game was hoping.
The biggest pay-per-view event in boxing’s television history was in crisis with the hour of the fight approaching.
The subscription networks appeared to be overloading – even at $99.95 a buy – and there were reports of Time-Warner transmission in New York breaking down. Direct TV, which serves the entire US, was suffering black-outs.
That huge sale is needed to deliver the expected record purses, $180m for Mayweather and $120m for Pacquiao. At home, Sky Sports Box Office were charging £19.95.
A showboat-load of celebrities were spirited into ringside through a back door. Ten grand is peanuts for the likes of Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, Rihanna, Donald Trump et al.
Not all the famous boxers in the building are flush these days – certainly not Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield – but even though their tickets had to be paid for the bill for some was being picked up by promoters Mayweather or Bob Arum or private benefactors.
There were so many household names in attendance that the rest of us felt we were in the minority and they were looking around wondering who we might be.
There were jeers and catcalls as pictures of Mayweather stripped to waist appeared on the giant screens. Then much cheering as Pacquiao was shown smiling in his white T-shirt.
Referee Kenny Bayless had to step in to keep the pair apart at the end of the third and had to split them a few times
Mayweather kept coming back at Pacquiao after the Filipino went to work on his body and on a few occasions mouthed ‘no’ at his opponent
Pacquiao takes on water and has his right eye seen to by his corner in between rounds
Referee Bayless keeps a close eye as Mayweather and Pacquiao get tangled up after trading shots
This is it – Pacquiao and Mayweather prepare to touch gloves ahead of the final round of their battle
The story of the night in Vegas – a straight hand from Mayweather and Pacquiao can’t get in
Pacquiao prayed in his dressing room with a spiritual advisor. Mayweather prowled among his Money Team.
The longest wait was not quite over. The referee, the announcers, the national anthem singers, the patriotic flag-bearers… all were assembled in the ring but the gladiators for the biggest fight of all time were still readying themselves.
There were suggestions that the TV transmission crash had been cured and, sure enough, the preamble began. There was a verbal scrap between the rival announcers, before the main event. Jimmy Lennon Jnr told us it was Showtime. Michael Buffer got us Ready to Rumble.
In came Pacquiao to his recording of his own song specially written for the fight. Still smiling and waving and now jogging – to a cacophonous reception.
In walked Mayweather, focused and serious, to a rather subdued welcome including some catcalls. Perhaps the large presence of the rich and famous – along with the ticket prices – had forced many genuine fans out of the arena but there have been more atmospheric explosions in these minutes before a fight.
Maybe there was tension, too. Sugar Ray Leonard had said that everyone including himself would have sweaty palms.
It livened up with loud support for Pacquiao and more boos for Mayweather, for whom Las Vegas did not sound like his home town.
Finally, after all these years, it began. The first bell ended five years of waiting. Mayweather, always a spectacular physical specimen , was even more muscular than usual. The suspicion that he had been eraining for strength in hope of a quick knockout seemed valid as he started quickly, landing well to the body. Pacquiao came on stronger in the final minute and the first big left he landed double up Mayweather who grabbed for a clinch. But he had done enough early on.
The cameras were all over Pacquiao and Mayweather as they hugged at the end of the fight
Another straight punch from Mayweather catches Pacquiao flush in the face
This one from Pacquiao gets through the Mayweather defence but the American is quick and manages to avoid taking the lot
Mayweather and his team plan the Money Man’s next move as he takes a breather between rounds at the MGM Grand Garden Arena
Pacquiao listens to some words of wisdom from coach Freddie Roach as he tries to find a way to get the better of Mayweather
Mayweather changes the attack and goes low – again it’s with a straight left and it finds its target
Pacquiao was warming up. The crowd rose as he drove Mayweather back with a couple of crisp lefts and rights. Mayweather kept clinching whenever he felt threatened and the crowd showed its displeasure. They touched gloves after each of these incidents. There was another on the bell as Pacquiao connected with a right cross to seal the round.
We now had the style match which had seemed inevitable – Pacquiao on the offensive, Mayweather defending and countering. Mayweather was warned by referee Kenny Bayless for a low blow. Pacquiao again nailed his man with a right on the bell. A classic way to steal a round.
Mayweather’s famous defence was being tested to the full by the PacMan’s pressure. But he could not avoid a crunching left, staggered back on to the ropes and took a pounding. Then a right rocked him again and this was becoming a big round for the idol of the Philippines.
Pacquiao was working to trainer Roach’s game plan. He was not going crazy throwing punches in clusters. He was on the attack but was picking his shots. Many had expected Pacquiao to prosper in the early rounds. Mayweather was getting the better of this one, however, and edged it with a mixture of a mid-round flurry followed by some running and jabbing with that longer reach.
Pacquiao was the first man in the ring and was given a rousing reception from the fight fans at the famous Vegas arena
Pacquiao looked relaxed as he made his way in and had time for a smile
The American wasn’t far behind as he made his entrance in gold and black with his Mayweather Promotions baseball cap on
Mayweather was finding his range and Pacquiao missing more. But when the smaller man did connect with a meaty left he again pinned Mayweather on the ropes and unleashed a barrage to the body which gave him another round.
Pacquiao had his mid-fight lead on my card but Mayweather started the seventh with a shuddering right. A snappy left backed up the PacMan again. The left jab carried Mr Money happily through to the bell.
Just as Mayweather was beginning to feel assured Pacquiao opened up with another of his quick-fire assaults. But Mayweather reverted to jabbing and dodging. He figured he had the round won and probably had.
Mayweather was trying to take the sting out of the fight and as we expected it was up to Pacquiao to make it a spectacle worthy of all the millions. It was getting messy now, a lot of swinging and missing in an even round.
The prospect of a great fight was ebbing away. They had both talked of how boxing could be chess and this was its manifestation. Mayweather landing some counters but nothing damaging and Pacquaio probably edging the round with his aggression.
Mayweather’s boxing brain fully operational now and PacMan’s flurries not enough. The occasional exchanges even but not the round.
And so to the last level. Manny’s last charge. Floyd’s last dance.
The fans were going crazy for the fighters as they made their way to the ring at 8.45pm local time
Pacquiao’s coach Freddie Roach (centre) kept a close eye as Mayweather had his hands wrapped ahead of the fight
Jamie Foxx belted out the American national anthem before the fighters made their way to the ring in the MGM Grand Garden Arena
Gail Banawis, accompanied by the Word Chorale, a chorus composed of pastors, gave us the Philippine national anthem