Floyd Mayweather has won the fight of the century, beating Manny Pacquiao by a unanimous decision in front of a star-studded crowd in Las Vegas. After a build-up of almost five years, the pair took to the ring at the MGM Grand on Saturday night and battled through a closely-fought 12 rounds, with little separating them. But it was the American who came out on top at the end of the multi-million dollar spectacle – retaining his undefeated record.
Millions of viewers across the United States tuned in for what was expected to be one of the biggest sporting events in history, but some were left frustrated as pay-per-view services crashed just hours before they stepped into the ring because of surging demand. The 38-year-old favorite conquered the Philippino in front of a host of celebrities – including Jay Z, Beyonce, Bradley Cooper, Mark Wahlberg and Donald Trump – and thousands of boxing fans who had flown in into Sin City from around the world just to be ringside for the historic bout.
Justin Bieber, who hosted a lavish pre-party in the Hard Rock Hotel earlier on Saturday, was at the forefront of the action, leading Mayweather and his entourage into the packed arena after embracing the boxer during his pre-fight ritual.
The two opponents congratulate each other at the end of the fight. Pacquiao, however insists he should have come out on top
Mayweather made a surprisingly strong start, then withstood some aggressive counter-punching by the Filipino southpaw in the later rounds as he improved his career record to 48-0. Though Pacquiao repeatedly forced Mayweather to backpedal, the wily American blunted his opponent’s best efforts by using his renowned defensive skills while getting in several telling jabs and punches of his own.
After the bout, which has been five years in the making, ‘Money’ confirmed that he will have one more fight in September, citing a deal with Showtime. The judges’ scorecards read: 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112 in favor of Mayweather in a decision that didn’t go down well with his defeated Philippine opponent. ‘Pac-Man’ insisted he thought he had won the encounter, saying: ‘I thought I won the fight. He didn’t do nothing.’ He is now planning a vacation before mulling over the next stage of his career.
Ahead of the $400million pay-per-view extravaganza, he wrapped his arm around Bieber and posed for pictures behind the scenes at the MGM Grand before walking out in front of more than 16,000 spectators.