Floyd Mayweather stands tall as generation's best (and gets massive payday) in win over Manny Pacquiao

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

LAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather headed toward his locker room, 90 minutes or so after he’d easily dispatched of Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden, fiddling with a piece of paper.

When he spied a familiar face, he beamed and motioned him over. He narrowly opened the paper to show a check that was handwritten for $100,000,000.

It was the first part of a record haul that could reach or even exceed $200,000,000 for Mayweather in what had been billed as “The Fight of the Century.”

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Pay-per-view trends were encouraging. Promoter Bob Arum said, “I don’t want to say anything about what I expect it to be, because everyone is going to say it’s hyperbole and I’m exaggerating again and all that [expletive]. But this figure is going to be enormous. Four, four-and-a-half, five [million]. I don’t want to say anything. We’ll know soon enough. But it is going to be huge.”

The fight didn’t live up to its billing, at least on Pacquiao’s end. Mayweather was his typically brilliant self, blunting the Filipino’s charge with a stiff jab he doubled up on repeatedly, and cracking him with the occasional lead right hand.

On the rare occasions Pacquiao cut off the ring and trap him, Mayweather would use a short hook and then spin out of his corner to create space.

 “He ran very well,” sniffed Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer.

But that came across as sour grapes, considering that Team Pacquiao knew full well what it was getting into when it signed to fight Mayweather. He’s a fighter who uses his legs to create angles and move himself out of danger, and he did nothing on Saturday that he hasn’t done dozens of times before.

Floyd Mayweather hits Manny Pacquiao during their welterweight title fight on Saturday. (AP)
Floyd Mayweather hits Manny Pacquiao during their welterweight title fight on Saturday. (AP)

One sign that something was amiss with Pacquiao was the punch totals. Pacquiao landed 81 of 429 punches. It wasn’t all that shocking that Mayweather landed more, or that he landed at a higher percentage.

But it is almost beyond comprehension that Mayweather threw more punches. He landed 148 of 435.

Pacquiao’s best chance was to throw in volume and overwhelm Mayweather.

But he may not have been physically able to do that. Pacquiao suffered a right shoulder injury in training three to four weeks ago that Arum described as similar to the torn rotator cuff that knocked the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant out for the season in January.

Pacquiao’s team requested to have Dr. Yue Yu sit in his corner, but the Nevada Athletic Commission denied that.

It also denied a request Pacquiao made just after arriving at the arena to take three anti-inflammatory shots. Chairman Francisco Aguilar said the first he learned of the injury was when he heard about it from Arum shortly after 6 p.m. PT.

Pacquiao checked "no" on a medical questionnaire he was given in which he was asked if he was injured.

The injury may have made a difference, and be sure that Pacquiao’s ardent fan base will cling to that thought, but it’s hard to imagine him doing anything substantive to move the needle.

Two judges gave Mayweather eight of the 12 rounds, while a third gave him 10 of 12 in what was a typically virtuoso performance.

It was all in a day’s work, Mayweather said. Beating the No. 2 fighter in the world like he was a raw rookie was just another win in Mayweather’s vast collection.

He’d been dogged about not making the fight since talks first fell apart in late 2009, and much of the blame was placed upon his shoulders.

It was clear afterward that the guy who said he never reads what is written about him had his pride wounded by the thought he was ducking Pacquiao.

“For years, everyone was saying I was scared, I was running, I was a coward,” Mayweather said at the post-fight news conference. “All of you guys wrote these negative articles about me for the last few years. I try to keep all of that negativity away from me, but I’m only human. … I'm just an average man. … All of you who wrote all those bad stories, I want to wake up early tomorrow and read about that.”

He’s an average man who carries a $100 million check in his hands like it’s a check to pay his fantasy football league’s entry fee.

And he’s an average man who has been groomed for this night for decades.

He started boxing when he was just a couple of years old, getting into a boxing stance. In a sense, he was little different than Tiger Woods, who was a golf prodigy at 4. His story just didn’t play out on national television until much later.

He has one more fight, he insists, which will be in September, and then he’ll call it a career.

Floyd Mayweather (L) poses with referee Kenny Bayless after his win over Manny Pacquiao. (AP)
Floyd Mayweather (L) poses with referee Kenny Bayless after his win over Manny Pacquiao. (AP)

He’ll go into that bout with a 48-0 record and an opportunity to close his career out with the same 49-0 mark that the legendary Rocky Marciano compiled.

He owns a promotional company, which crowned its second world champion last month when Badou Jack topped Anthony Dirrell.

But boxing doesn’t interest him much any more other than as a job.

“I don’t think I’ll miss the sport of boxing,” he said. “I don’t watch boxing any more, unless it’s someone coming to my gym. I don’t watch boxing like that.”

So he’ll fight more, collect another massive paycheck and then ride, or sail, or fly, depending on whether he’s in the mood for a Bugatti, a yacht or a 14-seat private jet, into the sunset.

He won’t be back. He said he’ll be content to finish at 49-0 and won’t look for one more win to surpass Marciano.

The fight with Pacquiao was hyped for years and attracted the largest throng of media at a boxing event perhaps in decades.

“To be honest with you, it’s no different than when I fought my third fight as a pro,” he said. “Just another day at the office.”

And just another $100 million check to take as a prize.

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