Floyd/Pac: a Snoozefest and a Squeaker

first_imgThis was no “Fight of the Century” – even in a century only 14 ½ years old. The wars between Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, Mickey Ward and Arturo Gatti, and Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, now those are candidates for Fight of the Century.Not so the overhyped, far-belated showdown (more like shutdown) between “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr., arguably boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighter, and Pacquiao, the Filipino phenom who has dazzled audiences throughout the world with his flamboyant fisticuffs since his spectacular KO of Barrera in their first encounter a dozen years ago.MISMATCHThe fight itself – which boxing fans inexplicably begged to see for years, was a mismatch in the making all along. A mismatch certainly not in talent – both fighters are destined Hall of Famers – but rather in styles. Because Floyd likes to run, frustrate opponents, and make them miss, fans have long clamored for a headhunter to knock his block off. That would be a guy like Gennady Golovkin, not Pacquiao.Pacman is just too small to deal with Floyd’s swarming, frustrating defense. Though Pacquiao has more power, he’s really a “small” welterweight whereas Mayweather’s a “big” one. That they fought at 154 lbs., the “junior middleweight/super welterweight” pseudo division favored Floyd even more so.Pacquiao would come at Mayweather from all angles, went the script. He didn’t. Floyd is simply too hard to hit. It’s like a machinegun trying to do battle with air. The bullets fly, but the air’s still there. Air wins, every time.Would Floyd hit back? No, because he’s not really a puncher. And Pacquiao is not really a counterpuncher. So it’s much like a batter trying to hit a baseball that’s really a hologram. When you realize you can’t hit it, you stop trying.THE FIGHTAppreciating the fight as a thriller or a yawner has to do with one’s approach to sports. There are those who clearly prefer basketball to soccer, as the former is replete with thrilling plays every few seconds. Soccer, on the other hand, can result in a 90-minute 0-0 tie which to many is less exciting than watching water boil.On the other hand, some contended that nothing beats a world-class soccer match for intensity. If you’re one of those, you would have loved this fight, simply because of the excitement about what could happen – even if it didn’t.I saw the first six rounds – half the fight – as a perfect see-saw battle in which a fighter would win one round by being the less inactive fighter, and then losing the next one. Mayweather took rounds 1, 3, and 5, Pacquiao 2, 4, and 6. It was 57-57 (scoring rounds 10-9) halfway through.I thought Pacquiao was the more active fighter in the seventh, and so I gave him his first and only lead of the fight at that point. But that was his peak. He didn’t win a single round in my book after that.  Floyd took the 8th. The 9th round was one of the more exciting ones – which is only relative, compared to sheer dullness – and I scored it even (I hate scoring rounds even, but sometimes it’s just the best thing to do). Perhaps shocking themselves that they actually caused a fight to break out, both boxers retreated to their respective doldrums in Round 10, which I also scored even.As the fight headed into what are called “the championship rounds” – Rounds 11 and 12, because nontitle fights usually last only 10 rounds – I had it 96-96. Four rounds apiece, with two even. But Mayweather rose to the occasion, saved his best for last, took Round 11 convincingly and then clowned with Pacquiao in the 12th.  He won the fight, in my book, 116-114. Far, far closer than the ringside scores of 116-112 and the ridiculous 118-110.DON’T HATE FLOYDAnyone familiar with these two gladiators would not be surprised that although the fight was in Las Vegas, the “hometown” American Mayweather was not the fan favorite. He has alienated boxing fans for years with his attitude outside the ring, and his reluctance to mix it up inside the ring. His recent “I am better than Muhammad Ali” quip didn’t win him any friends, either.Only a big, strong middleweight or light heavyweight, with an iron jaw and a sledgehammer fist can cut off the ring and bounce Mayweather around it. But Floyd is no fool – with two fights left until he can retire 50-0 (he says he’s only fighting one more, but who’s kidding whom?), he’s not about to take any chances.Floyd is just doing what he needs to do to win. He uses his superior boxing skills, not least of which his gifted reflexes, to elude opponents, frustrate them, and outpoint them – scoring a rare knockout for good measure every now and then.So don’t blame Floyd – blame the hype. This was certainly no Fight of the Century in 2015, and, by the way, it wouldn’t have been a decade ago, when it should have taken place, either.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more