I'm sorry. I really am. I'm sorry to those of you who never want to read another Mayweather-Pacquiao piece, or even see it with your eyeballs here on the internet. I'm sorry to those of you who never wanted to get into another scoring argument. I mean that. But today, I'm going to do something. I'm going to watch Mayweather-Pacquiao again, two months after the fact, totally removed from the hype, and see how I score it this time.
On fight night, I had it 117-111 for Floyd Mayweather, which was pretty much in line with most scores out there. However, there are complications to that. Not to go too inside baseball on everyone, but the way we do live coverage on this site or at SBNation.com, where I was covering the bout in May, absolutely takes some skill to do effectively, and even if you're good at watching, talking, typing, and thinking, which I like to think I have become over the years, it's very easy to miss something. Generally, I stand by my scores. I've had a few that indicated I may have been well outside of my mind, though. I don't think this was one of them, but Connor Ruebusch scored the fight here for BLH, and he had it 114-114. This caused many of you to soil yourselves. I even fielded inquiry about my 114-114 score for a week solid after, even though it was Connor's score, and not mine.
Connor, if I recall, later scored it 116-112 on a review. I also need to make something clear about that night, for both of us. This fight was hell to cover the way we cover live fights. We were ridiculously doing entire single round updates, and to make things even more absurd, the company's servers crashed pretty much as soon as the fight started, because traffic simply overwhelmed everything. So those first few rounds were, to put it kindly, a goddamned nightmare.
I have posted a bunch about this fight since it happened, but I haven't really thought about it. Mostly it was just updates on Manny's shoulder, or something Floyd said, or whatever, but I had put the fight out of my mind. It was a disappointing non-spectacle as far as spectacles go, and as far as simple entertainment goes, it was mediocre at best. I'd had enough of this fight. It was years and years of nonsense, then two months of superhype, and then, you know, what we got. Which wasn't a whole lot.
But here we are. I want to do this. I don't know why I want to do this, but I do. Maybe it's like going to a funeral and getting closure. I do know that here, on a leisurely Monday morning with the summer sun coming in, I can pay a lot more attention and consider a lot more subtlety than I could on fight night, which was unlike any other fight night I've ever done, and I've been doing this since 2006.
"This seems like the atmosphere of a big fight in the 80s," Al Bernstein says. Mayweather jabbing on the way out, misses a right hand. Pacquiao with a left hand body shot that gets in. Manny's right hook gets caught, and Floyd throws an uppercut that may have gotten in, glancingly. Mayweather reaches on a right to the body, no solid connect there. Manny misses a lunging left. Good counter right hand from Mayweather. Floyd's jabs are picked off by Pacquiao's gloves. Jab from Floyd touches. Manny not going in as hard as he did before the right hand got in. Little right touches again from Mayweather. Jab to the body from Floyd. Another right hand from Floyd gets in, that one clean and crisp. Left hook from Floyd misses. Manny tries to get a shot in, but Floyd spins away. Mayweather gets backed into the corner, Pacquiao tries to explode, but fails, and Mayweather ties him up. Mayweather 10-9
"You can't help but notice," Jim Lampley says, "already in Manny Pacquiao's corner, he looks a little bit crestfallen." Pacquiao comes out aggressively, but misses wildly. Counter right from Mayweather when he's in the corner, Pacquiao with a left to the body, but Pacquiao just can't catch up to him when Floyd starts moving. Manny again walking Floyd into the corner, but Floyd gets right back out. Floyd reaching with his left, not landing. Right hand from Floyd, a lead shot. Mayweather quite content to tie up every time they get close. Left to the body from Manny, and he unloads a little before getting tied up. Manny having more success getting Mayweather to the ropes in this round. Floyd with a little right hand, not much on it, but it got there. Pacquiao trying to double jab and move Floyd to the ropes. Mayweather with a little right, misses a hook but does catch Manny with an inadvertent back hand. Pacquiao maybe lands a left to the chest, misses one upstairs, "hard left hand" on Lampley's call. Pacquiao makes a crowd-stirring charge near the end of the round, but nothing really gets in. Mayweather 10-9, 20-18
Pacquiao poking with his jab to start the third, Mayweather shoots a lead right that barely lands if at all. Pacquiao sort of wildly trying to get to Mayweather, not using the angles he was supposed to be using. Floyd with a right to the body, but that strayed low, and Bayless notes it. Action right back underway. Manny with a left that might have gotten in. Body shots from Manny as he tries to figure something out. Mayweather ties up, and he absolutely holds onto Pacquiao's right arm longer than necessary, clutching Pacquiao's upper forearm under his own arm. Pacquiao misses a left hand, but sticks in a shot against the ropes. Mayweather holding again. He's holding every time they're close. Floyd shoots a lead right again, but it's blocked. Another one might have nicked Manny. Pacquiao throws with both hands, nothing lands clean. Lead right again, maybe landed, maybe didn't, and Floyd immediately holds again. This round is hot garbage from an entertainment standpoint. Floyd swings a wild right hand, misses badly. Manny slips a jab in, left hand is short again. Right hand from Pacquiao does get in near the end of the round, Floyd slips in a right hand that may have gotten in over the top of Pacquiao's glove right before the bell sounds. Mayweather 10-9, 30-27
So that's 25% of the fight. If you're actually reading (hi! thanks!) then you surely notice I keep saying "may have landed" or "might have gotten in." This fight in the first three rounds truly has little in the way of clean punches landing. This is certainly a testament to the skill of both men. The better, cleaner punches have almost all come from Floyd Mayweather, but there aren't that many of them. A few good right hands, little by way of truly effective jabbing or hooking. Pacquiao, meanwhile, has done even less. Most of the moments noted by commentary as significant for Pacquiao are debatable connects at best. At this point, it is clearly Mayweather's fight.
Manny aggressive again to start round four, and lands a shot against the ropes, then comes back to push Mayweather to another portion of the ropes, and sneaks in a shot or two there, too. Pacquiao missing a flurry, once again taking Mayweather right to the ropes. This is absolutely what Pacquiao wants to be doing. Right hand from Floyd is just a little off. Straight left from Pacquiao shakes Floyd, and Mayweather backs to the ropes, covers up, and Manny throws a buncha punches, landing maybe one left upstairs and a couple body shots, and that's a big lift from where he was. Left to the body, and he targets upstairs as Mayweather covers up again. Right hook from Pacquiao not quite on point, but does get in. Mayweather's wheels start to turn, he throws out a right hand to try and turn the volume down. Mayweather shoots a counter right, but Manny has that one scouted, and slips under. Floyd ties up. Mayweather with a right, but Pacquiao fires right back, though that allows Floyd to get off the ropes. Pacquiao with a thudding jab to the body, and this is his first round, and a clear round for Manny. Pacquiao 10-9, Mayweather 39-37
Mayweather clipped on a right hook early in this round, but he's trying to establish his jab, and there's no panic in him or anything. Mayweather begins to attack, landing a right hand. Pacquiao flicking his jab back after that. Mayweather again shutting Pacquiao down on the way in, and tying up if Manny does lunge, pretty much 100% unsuccessfully lunging at that. Floyd keeping the distance he prefers, not going to the ropes again, and when he does get there, he spins out and Pacquiao can do nothing. Floyd's right hands aren't landing, but he's throwing them, and they keep Manny from doing anything at all in this round. Mayweather 10-9, 49-46
Pacquiao throws heavy shots, but nothing lands, Mayweather blocking them all. But a straight left does clip Floyd, and Mayweather starts to move again. Pacquiao throwing, Mayweather pops him with a short right counter and moves again. Mayweather ties Manny up, and again, he definitely pulls on Pacquiao's right arm. Floyd looks for a check hook, not quite there. Pacquiao lands a body shot, and he's got Mayweather uncomfortable again in this round. Not that Pacquiao is doing a lot, but he's doing more, and Floyd's constant holding shows that. When Floyd gets moments, he does try to get his right hand working, but Manny's avoiding it better. Left hand from Pacquiao lands, and again Floyd is on the ropes and covering up. Pacquiao batters to the body after missing upstairs. Mayweather shakes his head and says "nope," but there are facial expressions he has that always tell the story with him. Floyd doesn't have the best poker face, but he generally doesn't need one, either, so whatever. Mayweather poking with his jab again. And again, something that simple cuts off Pacquiao's offense. That said, this was a Manny round. Pacquiao 10-9, Mayweather 58-56
Halfway into this fight, it's fairly close. Again, not a lot is landing clean on either side, but in rounds four through six, Pacquiao started finding some openings, landed some good shots, and his aggression became, at least in spurts, effective. The fourth was clearly Pacquiao's round; the sixth, to me, was clearly Pacquiao's round, as Mayweather didn't do much at all and sort of got bullied a little bit. He didn't like the range or pace in either of those rounds, but when he so much as keeps his jab out there as a warning, he has steady control of the fight.
Mayweather, fresh off a pretty strong chewing out from his dad, comes out in round seven with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, getting his jab out there and following up with a roundhouse right that hits Pacquiao in the left shoulder. Floyd throws a home run right, maybe it clips Pacquiao, but not a clean shot. Pacquiao lands a very short little right hand, but Mayweather backs him down with a jab that has some purpose. Floyd moving back, but he's coming with the heat on the shots he's throwing in this round, and that's a change. Mayweather moving, Pacquiao not able to get untracked in this round. Pacquiao gets a left hand in, caught him at the end of the punch and Mayweather resets pretty easily. Mayweather's jab, whether landing or not, is controlling the round again. Manny with a left to the body, Floyd gets off the ropes easily again. Manny's jab lands, left does not. Mayweather 10-9, 68-65
Floyd flicking the jab, Manny rushes but doesn't land. Manny does touch Floyd with a left, but not much on it by the time it got there, as Floyd's head movement took any steam off of the punch. Pacquiao trying to work, but having trouble finding a consistent attack. He does land a nice left hand, and then a good body shot as he gets Floyd back to the ropes, but he leaves the flurry there, and moves back to the center of the ring. Floyd steps forward and jabs at the body, steps on Pacquiao's foot, and there's a right hand from Floyd a moment later. Pacquiao gets Mayweather to the corner, spins right out. Hook from Mayweather, which is what Sr wanted after round six. Pacquiao gets a little right in, but he's off balance and there's nothing on it. Again, we're seeing Floyd in control. You can see Pacquiao constantly over-thinking things, I believe. And Mayweather controls when he makes opponents think too much. That's when he knows he has them beaten. Mayweather 10-9, 78-74
Mayweather continues trying to bait Pacquiao, who lets his hands go and misses a bunch, then Floyd either spins away or ties him up. Mayweather to the ropes, escapes as soon as Pacquiao steps forward with a jab. Manny misses another jab, Floyd ducks under a left. Straight left from Manny touches. Floyd clips him with a right hand, they collide at the arms, and Manny tries to land a left, but he's off balance and can't. Clean right counter again from Floyd. This is entirely his pace. Mayweather shoots another right, it's short, and he gets backed to the ropes again, where Manny throws but doesn't get much done before Mayweather moves again. Right hand from Floyd. Mayweather 10-9, 88-83
75% of the fight gone, I'm not seeing it differently than I did the first time, other than there being far less stress in trying to keep up with what's going on. I'm able to see far more clearly what Mayweather is doing that works, and it's nothing different than what usually works for him. He's totally neutering Manny Pacquiao's offense, as Manny is totally aware that the counter right hand is a problem, and Mayweather so much as showing a jab raises Pacquiao's awareness all over again. Pacquiao has moments here and there, but just no sustained success.
The atmosphere in the building has largely settled down by this point, as it becomes clearer and clearer that Manny Pacquiao needs a miracle, and that this is a Floyd Mayweather fight as we usually have seen. Pacquiao with a body shot, Floyd goes back to his jab. Counter right from Floyd. Manny with a hook to the body, Floyd pops back upstairs right away with a right hand. Right hand again from Floyd. Pacquiao looks mentally dialed in right now, perhaps too much. He knows where he's sitting, it would seem. Floyd pushes his jab out, throws the right, and Pacquiao comes back with a left. Pacquiao gets nothing out of that, though. Floyd gets on his bike a bit, then settles down and stands his ground, popping the jab out twice, throwing the right, and then back to the lateral movement. Manny tries to land in the corner, maybe got one shot in. Again, he pins Mayweather in the same corner, throws, then backs off. Mayweather poking the jab again. Floyd shoots the right again. Pacquiao jabs, Floyd throws the right around it. This one is a debatable round. Pacquiao was a little busier, and officially landed a couple more punches, but his activity came in bursts, and Mayweather's approach was consistent for three minutes. Neither of them did a whole lot, but I didn't buy Pacquiao's aggression, really -- it was rarely effective, and Mayweather probably landed the best two or maybe three punches of the round. Two of three judges gave this round to Manny, while both Farhood and Lederman had it for Mayweather. Mayweather 10-9, 98-92
Right hand from Mayweather right away, but Pacquiao comes forward and throws a left hand to the body. Floyd steps on his foot again. Mayweather with a right hand arm punch, basically resets the position of both fighters. Pacquiao to the body again -- that's something he might have invested in earlier in the fight, but it's all water under the bridge now. Long left from Pacquiao just catches Floyd pulling his head back, a scoring blow either way, but nothing that troubles Mayweather. Pacquiao to the body, blocked, to the head, just misses. Mayweather sets his feet and throws a right, Pacquiao blocks it. Pacquiao takes Floyd to the corner, throws a bunch of punches, lands nothing of note, gets hit two times. Hook from Mayweather lands at mid-ring. Check hook as Pacquiao lunges in. Manny now moving back, and Floyd misses a long right hand, taking the moment to throw a wild right, though it misses. Mayweather pokes him with another right. Mayweather 10-9, 108-101
Both guys throwing and not landing at mid-ring, but it's Mayweather whose shots are closer, for whatever that's worth. Pacquiao throwing here is just a little more reckless, which is, you know, normal. Mayweather not overly cautious in a fight he's clearly winning, and lands a good left hook that backs Manny down. Pacquiao throws a left to the body, Mayweather ties him up and Pacquiao gives him the family voodoo eye. Pacquiao trying to land in the corner, doesn't, and Mayweather's right back out. Pacquiao lunging in again. Mayweather keeping distance, not running, but not letting Manny do anything. Manny trying to get to Floyd, who just moves smoothly at range, and unleashes a right hand that is short, but Manny also is landing nothing. Pacquiao gets in a shot, but his flurry is otherwise empty as he gets Floyd near the corner again. Mayweather celebrating to end the fight, Manny tries one final rush, and nothing comes of it. Mayweather 10-9, 118-110
So, in the end, I have this a round wider than I did on fight night. Floyd Mayweather outclassed Manny Pacquiao all the way. Any argument for Pacquiao being even or even winning this fight comes off more ridiculous than ever after watching the fight two months later. He didn't win, and he wasn't close. Mayweather's holding was not really outrageous. He held, which he does, but not to an absurd degree. He didn't run from contact. Even if you believe the CompuBox numbers are horseshit, he clearly outlanded Pacquiao, and certainly did so in terms of really solid, notable punches. He was able to completely control the tempo of this fight, make it his own, and by the seventh or eighth round, Manny Pacquiao no longer had more than a prayer.
And now, I will never watch this fight again.