Floyd Mayweather confirms status as boxing’s best fighter with points win over Manny Pacquiao
The 38-year-old American dictated the fight with his superior ring skills to earn a unanimous verdict with scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112, extending his unbeaten record to 48 fights.
Heralded by weeks of hype, the battle between the sport's two biggest stars had been billed as the 'Fight of the Century', but Mayweather simply used the 12 rounds to supply a masterclass to the watching world.
Shedding the pre-fight nerves, Mayweather slipped nimbly away from Pacquiao’s tentative attacks in the opening round and started his assault with a lightning right hand. The long-term rivals clinched briefly before the bell, with Mayweather appearing to offer a few words of bravado.
The expected early onslaught from Pacquiao, was more of an uneasy march, and he was tagged with another razor sharp right while attempting to land frenzied punches in the second.
For the first time, Mayweather backed to the ropes in the third, attempting to lure the Filipino into another reckless foray. But Pacquiao was edging closer to the Michigan man and finally found the range with his sharp left hand.
Here was a hint of what was to come as Pacquiao launched a trademark attack in the fourth. A big left hand forced Mayweather to seek refuge on the ropes and he shielded a ferocious flurry. Pumping out punches like a human threshing machine, Pacquiao at last had gained a foothold.
A stiff jab kept Mayweather on the back foot as the fifth round started, but he utilised all his years of experience, smothering his man at close quarters before punishing him with the occasional stiff right hand.
Pacquiao piled forward with more menace in the sixth and landed a crunching combination that prompted a defiant shake of the head from Mayweather, who mouthed 'No'. He had given this same response on 47 other occasions.
he ring great from Grand Rapids regained the centre of the canvas in the seventh and sent spitting jabs through Pacquiao's defences.
Cuffing left hands then rapped Pacquiao round the side of his gloves in the eighth as Mayweather continued to dissect an increasingly frustrated foe.
Into the closing rounds, the 'Pac Man' was being controlled with ease, restricted to just single punches as he ate a steady stream of right hands.
Mayweather tried to finish with a flourish, planting his feet in the 11th to unleash searing shots from close range, and appeared to applaud his own handiwork as he clapped his gloves together.
Imitating another boxing legend, Mayweather showed off a Muhammad Ali shuffle in the final minutes, settling for a points win that ended any argument about the No 1 fighter in the sport.
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