#360view: Anti-climax a disservice to Floyd

Andy Lewis 4/05/2015
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In command: Mayweather Jr.

The Mayweather/Pacquiao superfight is finally in the books and the sense of anticlimax is palpable. Oscar De La Hoya felt the need to apologise to fight fans, while the curious situation of Mike Tyson live tweeting the action from ringside ended with his verdict of “underwhelmed”.

– WHO’S NEXT FOR FLOYD AND MANNY? Khan, Thurman or Crawford? 
– TWITTER REACTION: Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Manny Pacquiao
– FLOYD TO GIVE UP BELTS: Floyd Mayweather’s retirement plans

The opinions of those two ring legends were clearly shared by the near 17,000 punters at the MGM Grand Garden Arena who angrily jeered Mayweather as he lapped up his unanimous decision victory.

Tyson’s social media nit-picking was indicative of the disgruntled consensus, and it all begged the question as to whether anyone had seen Mayweather fight before?

“My son deserves better,” said Floyd Senior, his father and trainer. “They don’t know boxing, that’s the problem.”

It’s not very often anyone, anywhere concurs with the largely objectionable elder Floyd but a few might today. Like him or loathe him – and there are many reasons for the latter – Junior was masterful in Las Vegas, a display not too far behind his 2012 dissection of Saul Alvarez at the same venue.

Floyd does Floyd, and on Saturday he had his gameplan off to a tee. He made full use of his numerous advantages – particularly size and reach – and a scenario widely predicted beforehand unfolded inexorably before our eyes.

A faded Manny Pacquiao, who later complained of a shoulder injury, tried his best to pressure him but beyond some success in the fourth and sixth rounds and launching the odd skirmish thereafter, it was the American who dictated the pace.

Mayweather proved again he is a master boxer and it was simply never going to be a slugfest. Instead, a strategic battle played out between the two veterans.

It smouldered without ever really catching fire, but was intense and compelling viewing at the same time and absolutely nothing like the non-event it has been labelled by some of the knee-jerk condemnations issued in its aftermath.

Perhaps after five years of build-up, it never really stood a chance. However, for a week boxing has been firmly back in the global spotlight and you can only hope some of the casual fans enticed along for the ride have enjoyed the hype, the cinematic atmosphere that big fights conjure and also appreciated some of the skill on show rather than be contaminated by the subsequent negativity.

Hopefully a few even tuned in early and witnessed emerging star Vasyl Lomachenko’s insane skillset during his ninth round TKO of Gamalier Rodriguez on the undercard. Indeed, the main event was era-defining for its combatants, but also era-ending for the sport. 

Mayweather says he’ll only be around for one more fight, scheduled for September, and Pacquiao’s post-fight disclosure of his injury problems compounded the physical deterioration on show in the ring.

It’s hardly a surprise that a 36-year-old veteran of some 65 bouts – some wars among them – might be failed by his body at such a crucial time.

The Mayweather/Pacquiao era is near a conclusion, and it is time for a fresh generation of fighters to step into the void. It will take time but hopefully the past week will have persuaded a few new fans to stick around and watch their progress.

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#MayPac plays host to the rich and famous in Las Vegas

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The celebs gathered in numbers for the big fight.

LAS VEGAS — The arena filled fast, given ticket distribution delays and deep audience anticipation by fight time. Such has been the frustration of ordinary fans over ticket prices, it was inevitable that the audience attending the“Fight Of The Century” live at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas were primarily wannabes and high-rollers.

– WHO'S NEXT FOR FLOYD AND MANNY? Khan, Thurman or Crawford? 

– TWITTER REACTION: Floyd Mayweather's victory over Manny Pacquiao

– FLOYD TO GIVE UP BELTS: Floyd Mayweather's retirement plans

Ticket prices, while dwarfed by Pay-Per-View, ranged from $5,000 to $300,000 by fight time and will have broken most or all past records, with Teddy Atlas, former trainer of Mike Tyson, commenting on ESPN that it was a hedge fund audience, as opposed one made up of a mass of regular fight fans.

However, the crowd was in reality somewhat more mixed and very colourful, sometimes sexy and unmistakably Las Vegas in dress code and look: small-time guys aspiring to the big-time, identikit blondes travelling in packs of six or eight, masses of older guys with what looked like quite temporary girlfriends, Las Vegas high-rollers from China and the Middle East, a few long-term members of the fight fraternity, people who look like they might matter and hip-hop-star-lookalikes.‎

In shape: Mike Tyson.

As the featherweight Leo Santa Cruz-Jose Cayetano undercard fight began, celebrities who began flowing in were a Hollywood and sports industry roll-call. Jake Gyllenhaal arrived, looking casual in blue and got seated early, as did director Brett Ratner and then sports legends, a trim Mike Tyson and a huge Magic Johnson.

Most were accompanied by a phalanx of security and It is indeed somewhat surreal to see such legends not only in the flesh and en mass, but more strangely, mixing with each other – one somehow assumes that many of them exist in an ecosystem of one. The camera flashes flared biggest for the arrivals at ringside of Tyson and Magic and the audience affection for these now middle-aged men was clear.

Star power: Jay-Z and Beyonce.

Those early names were then followed quickly by inconspicuous looking and baseball-capped Bradley Cooper and Denzel Washington and also by Will Smith, Robert De Niro and Mark Wahlberg. Boxing was always an aspiration point for Hollywood stars even in the 1930s and 1940s and now the relationship is even more symbiotic. Sports stars included Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield and Andre Agassi with his wife, Steffi Graff. From music: Jay-Z and wife Beyonce, Mary J Blige, P Diddy and carrying the championship belt for his friend Floyd Mayweather, Justin Bieber.

The undercard fight started largely in gym silence, but the first roar of the evening erupted as Manny Pacquaio’s dressing room came into shot on the giant TV screens above the ring. Techno music began to blare as the undercard fight ended and the arena started filling fast.

Major attraction: Sean Combs.

By the time that the ring announcements began, the arena was erupting both with lights and music, the club atmosphere fully reinforced by the curse of the endless selfie – no longer just the addiction of the young, but the middle-aged male also. Ushers were largely somewhat elderly folk, adding a homely edge to proceedings as they try to keep ambitious, young and sometimes frisky ticket holders from gravitating down towards ringside and the celebrities.

By the time Pacquaio and then Mayweather arrived, the atmosphere was quite electrifying. Pacquaio was greeted by enormous cheers and Mayweather by a wave of boos, even as his face appeared on giant video screens around the arena and certainly by the time he made his actual entrance. Given that he’s an incumbent champion and American, it’s astonishing how Pacquaio’s Dickensian life story has captured the hearts of American fight fans. If nothing else, the zeitgeist is clear: maybe it is the end of the Mayweather-Bling era.

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Dubai's Filipino boxing fans react to Manny's defeat

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The crowd was electric at Asiana Hotel, Deira.

Emotions ran high as Manny Pacquiao’s array of fans in Dubai took his defeat to Floyd Mayweather with a heavy heart but, in the end, they still cheered for their champ.

– Who’s next for Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao?
VIDEO: 
Emotional Dubai boxing fans watch #MayPac
– Filipino fight fans claim foul play after Pacquiao’s defeat

“Manny was the aggressor throughout the fight while Floyd was just running all the time,” friends Catherine Macalinao, Princess Louranne Sta. Ana, and Rose Ann Evangelista, who watched the fight at Boracay Club, Asiana Hotel in Deira, told Sport360.

“As Manny said, ‘Floyd did not do anything’. In our hearts, Manny is still our unanimous and number one champion,” added the three, although the judges at the MGM Grand Arena scored the fight 118-110; 116-112; 116-112 all in favour of Mayweather.

Pacquiao fans trooped to Boracay Club, one of the venues which beamed the fight live from Las Vegas, as early as 5:00am. They even gleefully sang Pacquiao’s entrance song ‘Lalaban ako para sa Filipino’  (I will fight for the Filipinos) and were up on their feet every time Pacquiao cornered Mayweather.

But they jeered after Mayweather was announced the winner.

“Mayweather is not the best boxer but the best runner in the world,” said Greg Osorio and Lady Ivy de Luvio. “He did not deserve to win, he was always on the defensive.”

“Why is Mayweather proclaimed the best pound-for-pound boxer?,” asked Alvin Montilla. “He did not fight; he just kept hugging Pacquiao to score on points.”

“There should have been at least one judge from Asia to score the fight,” said Salve Aldeguer. “I think the judges favoured their countryman.”

Some Pacquiao fans, however, accepted the defeat.

“Manny can’t still handle a counter puncher,” said Allen Erestain. “He got beaten from those counter punches by Mayweather.

“I accepted the result although it was not an entirely convincing win for Mayweather,” added Jennifer Ringor. “It could have been a better match if Mayweather engaged Manny in a real fight.”

Others took to social media to express their disappointment.

“I don’t think the judges’ scores were accurate,” posted Ion Gonzaga. The disparity was so huge. Both of them are true champions – no doubt. One in boxing, one in marathon!”

“118 Mayweather -110 Pacman? I think the judge measured Mayweather’s running speed,” quipped Arnel Fernandez.

“Mayweather may have played it intelligently. But if you choose to be a boxer and be part of an extremely contact sport as boxing, people expect more than just running. Otherwise, we would rather watch the grace and speed of Usain Bolt,” PR Executive Albert Alba posted on his Facebook account.

“With money being foremost in Mayweather’s mind, he is actually being a disgrace and doing an injustice to the sport and the fans by simply taking our money and literally running away with it.”

“One thing was clear though, it only showed how Mayweather was so scared of Pacquiao. Mayweather may have won the fight but Pacquiao surely earned everyone’s respect,” Alba added.

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