For many observers, the richest fight in boxing history between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao at Las Vegas on Saturday evening was not the most compelling spectacle ever witnessed as Mayweather added the WBO belt to his WBA and WBC World Welterweight titles by claiming victory via a unanimous points decision.
Mayweather is now unbeaten in 48 professional bouts and for most of the 12 rounds on Saturday, he was content to use his effective jab as defensive tactics against the more aggressive Pacquiao, and landed far more of his attempted punches. Many boxing fans accuse the undefeated champion of being boring and lacking the panache of previous champions such as Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran but Mayweather demonstrated a facet of his abilities which nobody can deny and that skill in avoiding opponent punches is one of his enduring trademarks. It may not endear him to any of viewing spectators eager to witness a full-blooded contest, but for many years Mayweather has been recognised a true boxer rather than a fighter, and that talent was very much in evidence during this fight.
Pacquiao was able to connect with a few powerful blows but none really seemed to bother the champion who moved effortlessly around the ring while succeeding with over a quarter of his attempted jabs. The Filipino later claimed that a shoulder injury incurred just three weeks before the fight prevented him from effectively using his right fist, and he also criticised the decision to deny him the use of pain-killing injection immediately before the fight. However, it is also worth noting that he has failed to stop an opponent since achieving a technical knock-out against Miguel Cotto in 2009 which followed a win inside two rounds when fighting Ricky Hatton, which could suggest that his punching powers are not quite as effective as in younger days.
Now that Pacquiao has been beaten and he has completed 48 fights without defeat, Mayweather is faced with decisions regarding his immediate future in the sport. Will he consider retiring from the sport when achieving the ultimate 50 bouts unbeaten target or will the victory against Pacquiao be his swansong. The champion has declared several times in recent months that he no longer enjoys the sport and may now relinquish his titles, but he is also noted for his constant changes of mind and focus, with at least one further championship bout seemingly likely.
A fight with British boxer Amir Khan has been mentioned but in the aftermath of his comfortable victory against Pacquiao, Mayweather declared that he just wanted to go home and rest. Whatever decision arises in the next few weeks and months, there can no arguing that the unbeaten American has been one of the great technicians of the sport but not a boxer who will provide great entertainment in the ring.
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