Five years ago Saturday night in the Las Vegas desert, it finally happened. Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao squared off in the biggest non-heavyweight title fight, so far this century.
In the end, Mayweather dominated, remained unbeaten and cemented his legacy, once and for all. However, for fight fans, and most of the sports landscape, they’re still left to wonder: if the flight had been held 5 years earlier, as it should have been, wouldn’t we have had a much more thrilling and exciting bout?
Nevertheless, the MGM Grand Garden Arena in the middle of the Vegas strip was the site on May 2nd, 2015, as Mayweather and Pacquiao finally ended nearly six years of avoiding each other. And, they stepped through the ropes to square off for Mayweather’s WBA and WBC World Welterweight titles and Pacquiao’s WBO 147 lb. belt.
However, after weeks of build-up, that even included the fight being agreed to be televised by Mayweather’s Showtime pay-per-view and Pacquiao’s HBO pay-per-view in a joint broadcast with Jim Lampley, Al Bernstein and Roy Jones Jr. on the call, it didn’t deliver a spectacular night.
Instead, Mayweather, who was 47 – 0 with 26 KOs used his boxing skill and superior hand speed on this night to keep Pacquiao, 57 – 5 – 2, 38 Kos at bay most of the night.
Floyd was in complete control in the first five rounds of the fight landing quick combinations, using lateral movement and scoring more, frequently. Pacquiao finally came on and had his best round in the 6th, when he trapped Maywhether briefly along the ropes and landed a couple of solid combos.
Pacquiao later landed his trademark straight left hand late in the round that seemed to momentarily stop Mayweather in his tracks. It was later revealed, that all three ringside judges gave Pacquiao the sixth-round, which was the final time they agreed on Pacquiao winning the same round the rest of the night.
Pacquiao’s success was short lived, as Mayweather took back control of the fight in the 7th – 9th rounds and basically, built an insurmountable lead.
We later learned that the Filipino Hall of Famer-to-be had suffered a right shoulder injury in training and had not properly filled out the correct paperwork with the Nevada Commission to get a cortisone shot prior to the fight in the shoulder. And, he couldn’t summon a great rally or big punch.
With Pacquiao fatiguing in the late stages, Mayweather won the 11th and 12th rounds, fairly easily and walked away with a unanimous decision with two scorecards 116 – 1 12, or 8 rounds to 4 and 118-110 or 10 – 2 in rounds from the third.
While the fight had no knockdowns and sustained drama, it’s still smashed the all-time record for pay-per-view buys with an outrageous over $410 million dollars in revenue.
There were several class action lawsuits filed against Pacquiao and Top Rank Boxing by some fans, who either bought tickets and/or bought the Pay-Per-View, because the Pacquiao Camp did not disclose his shoulder injury to anyone prior to the fight.
That led Showtime to sue Top Rank for reimbursement of their legal fees to fight the class action suits.
However, to date, five years later, that class action lawsuits went nowhere and it’s unclear whether Showtime got their legal fee money.
His victory was the third to last fight of Mayweather’s career, as he retired after defeating Conor McGregor in 2017 to go 50 – 0.
Pacquiao continues to fight on to this day and was last in the ring last July winning a 12 round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Keith Thurman to capture the WBA welterweight championship.
There had been talk as recently as 2019 that the now 43 year old Mayweather might come out of retirement and might fight Pacquiao a second time. That has never materialized.
The eight division World Champ, Pacquiao is expected to fight again later this year, at age 42, when boxing resumes.