By William Bixby
It took 5 solid years to make this fight happen, and honestly, the fight was less than spectacular. But, there is a lesson to be learned from the Mayweather – Pacquiao boxing match, and that lesson is that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best boxer of this generation.
Mayweather treated Manny Pacquiao the same way that he has treated almost all of the boxers that he has faced before this fight, like a unloved stepchild. Pacquiao was kept at arms length for most of the fight with a series of short jabs, sharp counters, and an impenetrable Philly shell defense. When Manny finally did let a few punches fly, they were blocked or dodged altogether. All of the popular Pacquiao weapons were held at bay by Floyd’s guile and technique. The straight left, Pacquiao’s most powerful punch, was completely taken out of this boxing equation by distance. Floyd used his reach advantage to stay out of Manny’s range for most of the fight, and actually fired more punches than Pacquiao who was considered the more aggressive fighter in the match. He won the battle of overall punches, power punches, and punching accuracy. When Pacquiao attacked him with a flurry, Mayweather either pivoted out of the line of fire and countered, or grabbed him once he got too close. When Floyd was cornered, he blocked, threw his left hook, and rolled left out of danger. Mayweather obviously watched a lot of tape prior to the fight and had an effective game plan. He thoroughly outclassed the best fighter of the last decade.
And when you look at the entirety of his boxing career, you realize that Mayweather dismantled nearly everyone that he faced in the ring. Within two years of going professional, Mayweather won his first WBC super featherweight title. He defended that title three times, and then faced one of the his first real tests in former IBF super featherweight champ, Diego Corrales. Corrales was a hard hitter who was bigger with a longer reach and carried an undefeated 33-0 record. But, Mayweather crushed him and put him on the canvas five times while winning every round. Floyd began moving through different weight classes and winning at each level. He fought at light welterweight, lightweight, light middleweight and welterweight. He beat Zab Judah for an IBF title, and then defeated Baldomir to unify his championships. Floyd outlasted an older Oscar de la Hoya at the crux of his fledgling career in a split decision, and then he began a run that destroyed a litany of champs, former champs, and up and comers. Mayweather went on to annihilate boxers like Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz, and Miguel Cotto. And, his real gift is making those victories look so easy.
By defeating Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather showed us something that we should have already seen, the true measure of his greatness. He showed us that he is one of the best defensive fighters that boxing has ever seen, he has shown us that he is the best boxer of this generation, and he has proven that the gap between him and his pugilistic peers is very wide.