I’m no boxing aficionado. If I’m being honest, I’m not even really a boxing fan so to speak, although I do keep track of a few fighters and tend to tune into the big time bouts. This Saturday night’s “Fight of the Century” between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was one that I wasn’t going to miss and when asked for my opinion of the fight beforehand, I predicted that Floyd’s defensive prowess would allow him to win a unanimous decision. Of course, that is indeed what happened and as much as I don’t know about boxing, I can say that the fight unfolded as expected. Floyd, being the defensive master that he is, fought in much the same way he has in the past while on the flip side, Manny wasn’t his usual hyper-aggressive self.
Let me preface the following by saying that I didn’t necessarily root for either fighter although I did predict that Floyd would win. In any case, now that the fight has come and gone, all I’m hearing is how boring it was, how Floyd ran away from Manny the entire time, how it wasn’t fair because Manny was hindered by a shoulder injury and so on and so forth. I’ve even heard a number of people, including Manny Pacquiao, claiming that he won the fight. Now, it’s somewhat understandable for Manny himself to believe that he won the fight. After all, no fighter is going to admit that they lost a fight that came down to a judge’s decision, but I’m pretty confused by anyone else who believes this. For starters, I was still very entertained by the fight. I love seeing fireworks, punches making clean connections and knockdowns just as much as the next person and in this case there wasn’t a knockout or even any knockdowns for that matter, but I don’t think anyone should have had such expectations.
Over 19 years and 47 consecutive fights Mayweather had established himself as a master tactician in the ring and a very strategic and careful boxer in spite of the fact that his decision making outside of the ring may not be as laudable; depending on who you ask. On Saturday night he fought as he always has in an attempt to maintain his unblemished record and in the end the results were the same. Manny landed only 19% of his punches which really should be as much a credit to Floyd’s skills as a boxer as it is an indictment of the quality of the fight. I didn’t expect there to be too much excitement during the fight because I knew that Floyd would fight his usual fight which would either frustrate Manny or render him ineffective. To me, the chess match that goes on in the ring is part of boxing and as much as a knock out would have been more exciting, that doesn’t mean watching a fight unfold as it did on Saturday night is necessarily “boring.” Those who say that Floyd should have changed his style of fighting to make it more exciting are being neither fair, nor realistic. If anything, the criticism for a less than exciting fight should be directed Manny’s way as I was pretty surprised by how timid he seemed in the ring.
For those who believe that Floyd “ran” from Manny (during the fight), I’ll simply say that the numbers tell another tale as Floyd landed nearly twice as many punches as Manny. Floyd has never been the aggressor in any of his fights but to say that he ran when he landed far more punches seems a bit off. Again, these numbers seem more like a testament to his defensive skills than anything else. In the end, Floyd’s win against Manny cements him as one of the best ever and perhaps the best fighter of his generation. 48 and 0 is 48 and 0 no matter who you ask or how you slice it. The fight against Manny should have come years earlier and when they did square off the anticipated fireworks never materialized but I hesitate to agree with folks who claim they were disappointed or that the way the fight unfolded means that Floyd isn’t one of the best to put on a pair of gloves; particularly in his weight class.
It was “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali, who remarked: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee; the hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see.” This is really how Floyd Mayweather has made his money all these years and it’s how he remained undefeated on Saturday night so who am I to knock him?