It was one for the ages, but Floyd Mayweather denied Manny Pacquiao a historic upset, prevailing by unanimous decision at the MGM Grand last night.
The still-undefeated champion needed all of his skills and talent to outwit and outlast a determined but frustrated Pacquiao over the full 12 rounds.
Fans were the real winners, though, as the “Fight of the Century,” a boxing showdown years in the making, by all accounts lived up to its billing.
If there was any doubt about its significance, referee Kenny Bayless told the pair beforehand: “This is a fight that the world has been waiting for.”
“I knew he was going to push me,” Mayweather said.
“I was a smart fighter. I out-boxed him.”
The win earned Floyd Mayweather (48-0) the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organization welterweight titles.
It took many years of negotiations for Floyd and Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2), also one of the best boxers of all time, to throw down for all the marbles.
Mayweather's defensive tactics frustrated Pacquiao's combinations early, as he kept out of range or clinched when his opponent drew too close.
A solid left counter-punch brought Pacquiao to life in the fourth round, leaving Mayweather on the ropes. But Floyd bounced back all too quickly.
Mayweather moved, ducked, threw select punches and stayed away from any real threat, a familiar pattern by the middle rounds of the fight.
Pacquiao found success in short bursts, driving his rival back with strong left hands, but Mayweather ultimately proved too much to handle Saturday.
Whenever Pacquiao seemed to be gaining an edge, Mayweather would spin away, delivering a quick blow to boot and denying his rival momentum.
The sheer volume of punches that Pacquiao needed to land in order to win never materialized, and by the end, Mayweather danced in circles.
“When the history books are written,” he said, echoing the thoughts of MGM ticket holders and the pay per view audience, “it was worth the wait.”
With floor seats for the Sin City battle selling into the six figures (seriously), the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight was by far the biggest of all time.
Not just in terms of hype, as there hasn't been anything like it in decades, but empirically in terms of revenue for the often maligned sport.
The event grossed at least half a billion (seriously), and that's not including money from gambling, which was significant to say the least.
Mark Wahlberg bet $250,000 on Pacquiao (sorry), while 50 Cent quashed his beef with Floyd earlier in the week and backed it up with a $1.6M bet.
Of course, Mark's bet with Diddy was for charity, so he won even by losing. But speaking of losers, Justin Bieber was on hand to cheer for Floyd.
Yes, the Bieber-Mayweather love-fest continues to baffle us to this day ... but it makes for some great celebrity gossip and hilarious rumors.
Chief among them? That Bieber told Selena Gomez to stay away from the fight, stifling her aspirations of getting back together at the event.