By Tom Donelson / Member Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)
Floyd Mayweather did what no one expected, turn what was supposed to be the fight of the century into a sparring session. His defensive wizardry was the key as he simply out maneuvered Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather is one of the underestimated undefeated fighter as we pundits consistently find ways that this guy is supposed to lose and yet he simply uses his defensive wizardry and simply turn most fighters into putty in his hand.
From the first round Mayweather strategy became obvious; use his jab to establish real estate between him and the smaller Pacquiao while launching occasional right hand. Rarely did Pacquiao ever trap Mayweather on the rope nor did he ever hurt Mayweather. You can count on your hand the numbers of effective left hands that Pacquiao landed and Mayweather managed to nullify Pacquiao’s offense as he did to other past good fighters like Canelo Alvarez and Robert Guerrero.
The fight was spent mostly in the middle of the ring and Mayweather’s jab and right hand kept the fight at the pace he wanted, slow and deliberate. Not only did Mayweather land more punches but he even threw more. This was complete domination from a master boxer and the judges saw the fight as it occurred in the ring. Showtime Steve Farhood and HBO Harold Lederman along with judges saw Mayweather winning decisively so there was no question who won.
The question is what is next. For Mayweather, he says one more fight to fulfill his Showtime contract and retire with 49 straight fights. He added that he did not particularly care for boxing anymore but he does acknowledge it has made him millions. Mayweather now must consider what to do next and what opponent.
The key for Mayweather next opponent is which fighter gives him the biggest pay days. Is Pacquiao that opponent? Pacquiao revelation that he had an injured shoulder can only strengthen his case if the public believes the fight would turn out difference but somehow I don’t see the public forking out another 100 dollar PPV to see Pacquiao-Mayweather 2. So the potential for a similar pay day is slim and question that remains, even at a reduce number; will it be Mayweather best shot for one last payday?
Miguel Cotto is another potential bout only because their last battle was competitive and Cotto has reinvented himself as a Middleweight plus Mayweather may be able to claim a Middleweight title to other titles he has earned over the years. Plus Cotto can bring in big PPV numbers to make the fight worth pursuing.
Amir Khan wants his shot and he certainly has the hand speed and boxing skill to make this bout interesting but the knock for many boxing fan and pundits were past Khan’s knock outs losses. Khan, like Cotto, has a fan base that can attract both PPV buys and a sold out arena.
Mayweather will not get his due or recognition of his greatness and just as Larry Holmes never got his full due until long after his retirement; Mayweather may not his just due until decades later. This fight was a no-win situation for Mayweather as he had to win or his own legacy would have suffered. As for Pacquiao, win or lose, his place in boxing history is secured and a place in the Boxing Hall of Fame already reserved.