Mayweather seals legacy; rematch possible

Free Press wire reports | 5/8/2015, 9:23 a.m.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. cemented his place among the pantheon of boxing greats, improving to 48-0 with a unanimous decision over ...


Floyd Mayweather Jr. cemented his place among the pantheon of boxing greats, improving to 48-0 with a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao last Saturday in a fight some believed

didn’t live up to its immense hype and price tag.

Mayweather weathered an early assault from the Filipino southpaw before winning the later rounds, using his reach and jab to finish ahead on all three scorecards in a welterweight

showdown set to be the top grossing prize fight of all time. “When the history books are written, it was worth the wait,” Mayweather said in the ring after a four-belt unification bout

that was more than five years in the making.

Though Pacquiao repeatedly forced Mayweather to backpedal,

the wily American blunted his opponent’s best efforts by using his renowned defensive skills while getting in several telling jabs and punches of his own.

The contest had the capacity crowd on its feet roaring from the opening bell to the end of the 12-round showcase.

“Manny Pacquiao is a hell of a fighter. I see now why he is at the pinnacle of boxing,” the 38-year-old Mayweather said after an emotional embrace with Pacquiao, 36.

In the wake of the fight, it was disclosed that Pacquiao was nursing a major shoulder injury during the bout. He suffered the torn rotator cuff during training, but did not mention the injury beforehand. He was to undergo surgery this week and is to be sidelined for nine to 12 months while recovering.

The Nevada Athletic Commission has asked for an investiga- tion and could consider sanctions against Pacquiao for filing a form stating he was uninjured before the fight.

Separately, a class action suit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Las Vegas claiming fraud because of the lack of disclo- sure and seeking damages from Pacquiao for anyone who paid to watch the fight in person or by pay-per-view.

Meanwhile, Mayweather stated in a text to ESPN that he would be open to a rematch after Pacquiao fully recovers from surgery.

The fight between the two greatest boxers of their generation was one that appeared might never happen as Pacquiao resisted Mayweather’s demands for a blood test for five years.

When the two camps finally hammered out a deal, it was the richest in boxing history, setting new records for pay-per-view buys and gate receipts.

The fighters also were paid royally for their night’s work, with Mayweather guaranteed $120 million and Pacquiao $80 million, although both men could pocket much more depending on the number of pay-per-view purchases.

For Mayweather, the fight was one that will shape his legacy.

Dubbed the “Fight of the Century,” the MGM Grand Garden Arena crackled with energy as the rich and famous settled into their ringside seats.

Actors Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington rubbed shoulders with sports celebrities such as Michael Jordan and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

With prime seats commanding six-figure sums on the resale market, even the very wealthy and very famous were forced to call in favors to secure a golden ticket while an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 fight fans flooded into the desert gambling capital to be part of the buzz.

Wearing a simple white T-shirt, Pacquiao knelt in his corner for a prayer as boos filled the hall when Mayweather appeared on the giant screens.

There were no smiles from the stone-faced Mayweather as he entered the ring wearing black, white and gold trunks and sporting a $23,000 mouth guard infused with flecks of gold and pieces of a hundred-dollar bill.

The bout marked Mayweather’s 11th consecutive fight at the MGM, but it was Pacquiao who enjoyed a massive edge in support.

“It is a good fight. I thought I won the fight. He didn’t do nothing. He always moved outside,” said Pacquiao, who dropped to 57-6-2. “I did my best but my best wasn’t good enough.”