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As you may have heard, there was kind of a big fight last night. Some guy named Floyd beat another guy named Manny. They finally squared off after six years of circling each other, and the ensuing event brought at least one country to complete standstill as they watched two of boxing’s biggest names throw down.
The average Joe shelled out $100 to watch from home, while those lucky enough to be at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas had to pony up upwards of $10,000 for the right to just share the room with these two fighters. This wasn't a boxing match; it was an event. And because it was an event, because it had been promoted more than any sporting event this side of the Super Bowl, because of the history between the two fighters, because of both men's incredible championship winning legacy, this was the most hyped fight this generation has ever seen.
But did it live up to the hype? Was it truly the “fight of the century?” Was it a satisfying ended to one of the longest build ups to a fight in history?
No. It was not.
But it also doesn't matter.
The fight itself unfolded like the classic Mayweather bout: Floyd played defense, and Pacquiao was only able to land an astonishing 19 percent of his punches. Floyd was methodical, never straying from the style that has now made him 48-0 in the ring. Mayweather's fights have very rarely been spectacular, at least to the type of person who doesn’t know much about boxing. A brawler, he is not; it’s just not his style.
And while the general consensus in the arena was that the crowd would have loved to see Floyd get knocked out by the clearly more aggressive Pacquiao, it just wasn't going to happen. Floyd's signature moment of the fight came after a flurry of punches in the sixth round, when it looked like Pacquiao may have actually done some damage. But after Mayweather did this, it was clear it was going to be his night:
You have to credit Pacquiao, though. He certainly tried to turn this into the wildly entertaining punching contest that the world wanted to see. And while the excuses have already started coming out of his camp, the reality is that the matchup between the two always favored Floyd. After all, there's a reason the old adage is “Defense wins championships.” Floyd’s (admittedly smart) decision not to get into a punching contest has not played well across the Internet, with experts and non-experts alike voicing their disappointment with the fight.
One area where it definitely did meet—and, really, exceed—expectations was in the entourage department. We saw Jimmy Kimmel troll Justin Bieber. Floyd walked to the ring with the Burger King mascot. Manny walked to the ring accompanied by music that he himself recorded. It was comical, ridiculous in every way, and perfect considering the circumstances. Whoever decided to make all those things happen is a marketing genius.
In the end, though, what's really important is that this matchup happened at all. The Mayweather vs. Pacquiao debate has been one of the hottest topics in boxing in sports in general over the last decade. Everyone had an opinion on who would beat whom, and even though it happened a few years too late, it's still a good thing that these guys finally duked it out. We are free to still speculate about who would have won when each was at their respective apex a few years ago, but the truth is that even today neither is a slouch in the ring. While the fight last night was definitely a good one, it was not the greatest of all time as many had hoped. But that's OK. At least we got to see it at all.