Mayweather beats Pacquiao in unanimous decision -- round-by-round recap
LAS VEGAS -- The pressure of a $180 million payday never got to Floyd Mayweather Jr., even if the richest fight ever wasn't the best.
Using his reach and his jab Saturday night, Mayweather frustrated Manny Pacquiao, piling up enough points to win a unanimous decision in their welterweight title bout. Mayweather remained unbeaten in 48 fights with a win that cemented his legacy as the best of his generation.
Pacquiao did what he wanted to do, chasing Mayweather around the ring most of the fight. But he was never able to land a sustained volume of punches, often looking frustrated with his hands finding nothing but air as Mayweather worked his defensive wizardry once again.
Two ringside judges scored the fight 116-112, while the third had it 118-110. The Associated Press had Mayweather ahead 115-113.
"I take my hat off to Manny Pacquiao. I see now why he is at the pinnacle of boxing," Mayweather said. "I knew he was going to push me, win some rounds. I wasn't being hit with a lot of shots until I sit in a pocket and he landed a lot of shots."
The richest fight in boxing history -- a bout that made Mayweather at least $180 million -- wasn't an artistic triumph for either fighter. Far from it, with long periods where both men fought cautiously, looking for an edge.
Pacquiao threw far fewer punches than he normally does in a fight, with Mayweather actually credited with throwing more.
"I thought I won the fight. He didn't do nothing except move outside," Pacquiao said. "I got him many times, I saw the punches."
There were no knockdowns, and neither fighter seemed terribly hurt at any time. Pacquiao landed probably the biggest punch in the fight in the fourth round -- a left hand that sent Mayweather into the ropes -- but he wasn't able to consistently land against the elusive champion.
The fight was a chess match, with Mayweather using his jab to keep Pacquiao away most of the fight. Pacquiao tried to force the action, but Mayweather was often out of his reach by the time he found his way inside.
"He's a very awkward fighter, so I had to take my time and watch him close," Mayweather said.
Mayweather fought confidently in the late rounds, winning the last two rounds on all three scorecards. In the final seconds of the fight he raised his right hand in victory and after the bell rang stood on the ropes, pounding his heart with his gloves.
"You're tough," he said to Pacquiao, hugging him in the ring.
It was vintage Mayweather, even if it didn't please the crowd of 16,507 that paid prices unheard of for a title fight. They cheered every time Pacquiao threw a punch, hoping against hope that he would land a big shot and become the first fighter to beat Mayweather.
But a good percentage of what he threw never landed. Mayweather often came back with straight right hands, then moved away before Pacquiao could respond.
"I thought we pulled it out," Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said. "I asked my man to throw more combinations between rounds. I thought he fought flat-footed too many times."
Ringside punch stats showed Mayweather landing 148 punches of 435, while Pacquiao landed 81 of 429. The volume of punches for Pacquiao was a lot lower than the 700 or more he usually throws in a fight as he tried to measure his aggression against an opponent who was hard to trap.
Five years in the making, the richest fight ever unfolded before a glittering crowd of celebrities, high rollers and people who had enough money to pay for ringside seats going for $40,000 and up. Before it did, though, it was delayed about a half hour because cable and satellite systems were having trouble keeping up with the pay-per-view demand.
They paid big money to watch two superstars fight for their legacies -- and in Pacquiao's case his country -- in addition to the staggering paydays for both.
Pacquiao had vowed to take the fight to Mayweather and force him into a war. His camp thought Mayweather's 38-year-old legs weren't what they once were, and that he couldn't be on the move the entire fight.
"He is moving around, not easy to throw punches when people moving around," Pacquiao said. " When he stayed, I threw a lot of punches. That's a fight."
But Mayweather proved them wrong, moving well and taking pot shots at Pacquiao. His only real moment of trouble came in the fourth round when Pacquiao landed his left hand and then flurried to Mayweather's head on the ropes, but he escaped and shook his head at Pacquiao as if to say you didn't hurt me.
In the corner between rounds, Mayweather's father, Floyd Sr. kept yelling at his son to do more. But Mayweather was content to stick with what was working and not take a risk that could cost him the fight.
"I'm a calculated fighter, he is a tough competitor," Mayweather said. "My dad wanted me to do more, but Pacquiao is an awkward fighter."
Mayweather said that his fight in September against a yet-to-be-determined opponent would be his last.
"I'm almost 40 years old now. I've been in the sport 19 years and have been a champion for 18 years. I'm truly blessed."
Mayweather is also very rich, getting 60 percent of the $300 million purse, depending on pay-per-view sales. The live gate alone was more than $70 million, and the bout was expected to easily smash the pay-per-view record of 2.48 million buys set in 2007 when Mayweather fought Oscar De La Hoya.
But while the frenzy over the fight pushed up tickets to 3-4 times their retail price the week of the fight, prices dropped dramatically as the fight neared and some tickets were being resold for less than face value.
Boxing fans called for the fight to be made five years ago, when both men were in their undisputed prime. But squabbles over promoters, drug testing and a variety of other issues sidelined it until Pacquiao beat Chris Algieri in November and immediately launched a campaign to get the fight made.
When they finally got it, it wasn't the fight it might have been five years ago. But it was enough to settle the question that boxing fans had asked for years -- who would win the big welterweight matchup of the best fighters of their time.
Here's a round-by-round recap starting with the latest round.
9:46 p.m. (12:46 a.m.) Round 12
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao hug in the center of the ring before the final round of the most anticipated fight in years. Then they shove each other away and go back to work. Pacquiao continues to storm forward, but Mayweather shows off athleticism with one last fleet-footed display. Both fighters raise their gloves at the bell, and Mayweather jumps on the ring ropes.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 12: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 115-113.
9:42 p.m. (12:42 a.m.) Round 11
Two great fighters are in a bit of a stalemate, with Manny Pacquiao unable to land his speedy combinations and Floyd Mayweather Jr. unable to do much more than jab, counterpunch and stay out of trouble. Pacquiao backs Mayweather into a corner, but Mayweather lands a clean left hand on the chin moments later. Mayweather claps his gloves together at the bell in a gesture that Manny once used.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 11: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 105-104.
9:38 p.m. (12:38 a.m.) Round 10
Another round of stalking by Manny Pacquiao and superb defense from Floyd Mayweather Jr., who lands just enough jabs and counterpunches to keep the Filipino congressman frustrated. Neither fighter lands anything huge in an even round.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 10: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: 95-95.
9:34 p.m. (12:34 a.m.) Round 9
Manny Pacquiao continues to look for an opening to unload his big punches, but Floyd Mayweather Jr. counterpunches and dodges adroitly. Pacquiao is more aggressive and effective, but Mayweather nearly connects with a big right hand, and he lands a big late flurry on the ropes.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 9: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: 86-85.
9:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m.) Round 8
Floyd Mayweather Jr. continues to use his jab to keep Pacquiao uncertain. Pacquiao opens up, jumps in and throws big shots at Mayweather, connecting with two big left hands. Mayweather jabs and counterpunches. They trade glares after an exchange at the bell.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 8: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: Mayweather 77-75.
9:26 p.m. (12:26 a.m. EDT) Round 7
Floyd Mayweather Jr. becomes the pursuer to open the round, stalking Manny Pacquiao back to the ropes. Mayweather uses a double jab and a right hand to keep Pacquiao guessing. Pacquiao lunges forward to throw combinations, but Mayweather is already gone.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 7: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 68-65.
9:22 p.m. (12:22 a.m. EDT) Round 6
Manny Pacquiao wears a look of fury to open the round, and he chases Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the ropes repeatedly with superior energy and aggression. Pacquiao unloads with combinations that bring the crowd to its feet, but Mayweather stares back with a cold-eyed look and mouths, 'Nope, nope.'
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 6: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: Mayweather 58-56.
9:18 p.m. (12:18 a.m.) Round 5
The crowd is still buzzing from Manny Pacquiao's enormous left hand in the fourth round, but Mayweather shows veteran calm and wins the early exchanges. Pacquiao is stalking and looking for openings, but finding none this round in the defensive virtuoso.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 5: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 49-46.
9:14 p.m. (12:14 a.m.) Round 4
Manny Pacquiao stalks Floyd Mayweather Jr. around the ring, but Mayweather mostly parries the big shots that draw hoarse cheers from the crowd. Pacquiao then catches Mayweather with a huge left hand and appears to stagger him, but Mayweather backs up on the ropes in a defensive posture and then survives the round with a smirk.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 4: Pacquiao 10-9. Total: Mayweather 39-37.
9:10 p.m. (12:10 a.m. EDT) Round 3
Floyd Mayweather Jr. delivers a borderline low blow, and Manny Pacquiao reacts angrily. Pacquiao loads up for a few big punches, but still has trouble finding the most elusive boxer of his generation. Big shots late get the crowd on its feet.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 3: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 30-27.
9:06 p.m. (12:06 a.m. EDT) Round 2
Manny Pacquiao gets Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the ropes, but the unbeaten pound-for-pound king slips away repeatedly or wraps up Pacquiao in close. Pacquiao's shots are mostly missing, and Mayweather gets more aggressive later in the round. Pacquiao lands a late left.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 2: Mayweather 10-9. Total: Mayweather 20-18.
9:02 p.m. (12:02 a.m.) Round 1
Both fighters moved aggressively to the center of the ring to start their long-awaited fight. Manny Pacquiao looked to land early body shots, but Floyd Mayweather Jr. slipped away. Mayweather landed a solid counter right to the body in the final minute.
Unofficial scoring by AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg, Round 1: Mayweather 10-9.
8:54 p.m. (11:54 p.m. EDT)
The ring walks have finished, and they were predictably nuts.
Manny Pacquiao smiled broadly as he walked to a song he sang himself. In his entourage was an unsmiling Jimmy Kimmel, dressed to look something like pop star Justin Bieber, a frequent member of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s entourage.
Mayweather then walked with Bieber himself and, for some reason, the Burger King restaurant chain's mascot.
8:48 p.m. (11:48 p.m. EDT)
Jamie Foxx finishes a soulful rendition of the national anthem, and announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. gets it rolling with his signature "Iiiiiiit's Showtime!" cheer.
The fighters are ready for their ring walks. Manny Pacquiao will walk first, one of the many concessions he made during the torturous negotiations for this fight.
8:36 p.m. (11:36 p.m. EDT)
The late money coming into the Vegas sportsbooks has been mostly on Floyd Mayweather Jr., and the odds have surged to -240 for Mayweather and +200 for Pacquiao.
8:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. EDT)
The fighters are ready, and the arena is packed. But Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are waiting in their dressing rooms for a few extra minutes because HBO and Showtime have such a backlog of requests to buy the fight.
The broadcasters elected to delay the main event for a few minutes to take in more orders for the $99.95 pay-per-view. The crush of requests for the fight, which is expected to shatter every pay-per-view record in combat sports, has slowed down the cable and satellite providers who get the fight to fans.
"Nobody believes it 'til it happens," HBO spokesperson Ray Stallone said.
8:25 p.m. (11:25 p.m. EDT)
The sellout crowd is ready for the main event a half-decade in the making, and Manny Pacquiao's crew is in the ring, wearing formal white shirts and waving a big Filipino flag.
However, because many customers trying to order the pay-per-view telecast were having problems, organizers said they were going to slow things down before bringing Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the ring.
Announcer Jim Lampley said demand for the fight was so high, cable and satellite operators needed more time to keep up to fill orders. Lampley referred to the problems as "electronic overload which is plaguing cable systems across the country."
8:18 p.m. (11:18 p.m. EDT)
The crowd now includes three Batmans (Batmen?): Christian Bale, Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck. Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro and Denzel Washington are holding it down for old Hollywood, while Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley headlined the extensive selection of retired athletic greats.
8:02 p.m. (11:02 p.m.)
Tom Brady did the double. The New England Patriots' four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback showed up at the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight after taking in the Kentucky Derby earlier in the day.
7:53 p.m. (10:53 p.m. EDT)
Tantalizingly close to perhaps the most anticipated sporting event of the year, many cable and satellite customers are complaining they can't watch the fight.
Scores of angry tweets directed at various television providers complained of problems ordering or watching the Floyd Mayweather- Manny Pacquiao fight on Saturday night. Some users said when they tried to order, the fight wasn't available. Others complained of picture problems or an inability to tune to the pay-per-view channel.
Customer service Twitter accounts for Dish Network and Cox Communications asked users whether they ordered standard definition or high definition feeds of the fight, indicating there may be issues with the standard definition feed. A similar account for DirecTV referred users toward a troubleshooting website.
The bout is expected to be the most popular in pay-per-view history, with an estimated 3 million households buying the fight at nearly $100 each.
"We're seeing and gracefully managing a lot of demand -- which is a good thing," Dish Network spokesman Bob Toevs said.
7:45 p.m. (10:45 p.m. EDT)
Leo Santa Cruz's undercard fight with Jose Cayetano was not exactly compelling, but it didn't really matter to true sports fans enjoying everything that Super Saturday had to offer, thanks to modern technology.
Looking around the now-packed stands in the MGM Grand Garden arena, you could see dozens of people staring intently at their phones and reacting whenever a big shot is made in the Los Angeles Clippers' seventh game against the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
When the Clippers clinched the victory, a ripple of cheers could be heard in the arena. Meanwhile, Santa Cruz keeps hacking away at Cayetano.
7:04 p.m. (10:04 p.m. EDT)
Vasyl Lomachenko got the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view card started with style in a one-sided thrashing of Puerto Rico's Gamalier Rodriguez, winning in a ninth-round stoppage.
Rodriguez went down in the seventh round and again in the ninth, unable to contend with Lomachenko's hand speed and overall skill. Rodriguez tried to survive with several low blows, but was docked two points by referee Robert Byrd, who waved off the fight when Rodriguez stayed down on one knee deep into the count in the ninth round.
Lomachenko clearly is an elite talent, but he realizes he needs bigger fights against big-name opponents to build his reputation. He wants to unify the featherweight titles: "Anyone with a title belt in my division, that's who I want to fight."