The hype that preceded the Mayweather-Pacquiao welterweight unification battle may even have exceeded its billing. Here in Kampala, Floyd “Money”, Mayweather, were dashed when Money danced his way into a 12-round unanimous points decision.
Initially after the fight, even Manny thought that he had won. And the Kampala fight fans, too, believed that Manny had been cheated out of the fight by the judges. But the digital punch-scoring supported the three judges’ decision of 112-108, 112-108 and 110-91, when it showed that Money had beaten Manny by 148 punches to 91.
In Manila; Philippines, all the people wanted Manny to win. There, Manny is a folk hero; a politician, and he passes himself as a Pentecostal Christian, a saved man. Indeed, before the bout, he prayed that he would win. He is idolized as a person who has come from rags and homelessness to riches and fame. That makes sense in a Third World country.
Why did many want Money to lose? This is obvious. People do not want to hear and look at a person boasting of having lots of money and splashing it on diamonds and cars, in a situation where they barely earn two dollars a day. Even in America, some people did not back up Money, including luminaries, such as Mike Tyson. But Money Mayweather has stuck to his guns; he is the American Dream, also coming from a poor background of a broken home to be close to a dollar billionaire in 20 short years.
Money’s boasting was also a bit disconcerting. He is undefeated, now in 48 fights, whereas Manny has now suffered six defeats while winning 57 of his fights. Before this welterweight bout, Manny had held belts in eight divisions, while Money held belts in fight.
Now, Mayweather says he is going to relinquish his World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) titles and hang on to the World Boxing Council (WBC) one million-dollar belt, until at least another two fights. If he wins those and retires, he will be the only undefeated boxer in history, beating Heavyweight’s Rocky Marciano record of 49 fights.
When Manny lost, the Phillipinos watching the fight on large TV screens across the country, slinked quietly away, severely disappointed that their hero had been bested to the glove. Pacquiao showed that he is a poor loser. During and after fight press conference, he let his trainer, Freddie Roach, complain that Manny had had a shoulder injury during training; and that this was what had led to his loss. Bunkum! Why did they not postpone the fight until after Manny’s recovery?
In the third round, regarded by boxing pundits as Manny’s best one, he rocked Money and believed that he had TBE in trouble. But Pacquiao did not reckon with the Moneyman’s skill of ducking, bobbing, weaving and riding the blows out of trouble. From then on TBE took control of the fight, jabbing, hooking and dancing his way out the Pac-Man’s reach. Roach saw this; and his concern now is to claim for a re-match, which in all probability will not be forthcoming.
Money says that the Pac-Man is a dangerous fighter; and after defeating him, it is not sensible to give him another chance, to maybe allow Pac-Man to recover from his mistakes. Even then the two fighters are getting on in years. Mayweather fought this bout at 38 years while Pacquiao is 36. These are the ages when fighters are approaching their twilight years and many say that these two were probably past their prime. However, this was not borne by the intensity of the 12-round active and entertaining fight in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The billing had been that it was the Fight of the Century. But this may be overstating it. We are just in the second decade of the century and there may be other fighters who will come along in the remaining years, who will surpass this billing. Calling it the Fight of the Century was another method of the promoters hyping it so that they would get the best box office receipts. Indeed, this fight has grossed more than any in boxing history with total earning probably in the half a billion-dollar bracket.
Mayweather was closer to the hype when he has called it the Fight of the Era. And for him the fight of his money where he has grossed more than $230 million in less than three quarters of an hour,