(※ Original Text Updated: May 05, 2015)

A long-awaited match is over. Floyd Mayweather Jr., an undefeated five-division world champion, and Manny Pacquiao, another world champion in six divisions (including some skipped grades over 20kg difference in weight), these most renowned world-class boxers fought, and it resulted in Mayweather's victory by a large majority (much larger than I've expected). At the end of the match, I simply understood that it showed the highest point of the modern boxing. While watching the fight, I saw Mayweather might have advantages if scored according to the current boxing rules; however, the judging actually did not matter. The only feeling I had was deep respect and appreciation for these two great athletes who fought a fierce battle for the 12 rounds.

I expected (and waited) Pacquiao would win by knockout in the first half of the match. His attack could be more intense in the third and other rounds today, and there would not be a good chance of defense for Mayweather. However, Mayweather went through these tough moments, and his counterattack in the fifth and later rounds leaded him to the victory. Pacquiao’s excellence was unquestionable, but Mayweather was good enough to drive it away. Today, these two men showed me their best boxing, much more than I had expected.

Nevertheless, on the Internet, many are unhappy about today’s match because it indeed lacked a spectacular game development while it had been the most announced event in the media. I truly understand. Today’s match was neither, actually, a dramatic seesaw game like Leonard vs. Hearns, nor an almost-loser winning match like Chavez vs. Taylor, nor a great punching battle like De La Hoya vs. Quartey.

No way. We must know that Mayweather and Pacquiao today are not young, inexperienced boxers like Leonard, Hearns, De La Hoya and Quartey who fought those historical matches.

In a regular sense, Mayweather 38, and Pacquiao 36, are nearing the end of their long career. Indeed, a “great fight” is like a rare and peculiar flower; blooms only when two talented boxers fight at few steps before reaching the peak of their career. Two young men with extraordinary gift and ambition compete each other, some simple mistakes may happen, a fatal crunch, but then a brilliant recovery that only a genius can make… That’s a typical “great fight”.

However, Mayweather and Pacquiao are boxing maestros who came over times of grandeur flowers, and about to enjoy their fruits. Too mature to commit a magical mistake like Leonard and Hearns did. Today, they hardly made mistakes. At least, there was none of serious ones. Then the show was boring.

Wait, was it really boring? No. I don’t think so. There were several interesting developments in every round.

First, both athletes already had started a fierce battle when throwing jabs. Here, throwing jabs not always means an advantage. If not targeted correctly, the opponent has a chance to estimate his strategy and give counterattack. Jabs are usually used as a preparation of a final blow, but jabs were main technique in today’s match.

Not only jabs, also, while Pacquiao rushed to throw consecutive punches, Mayweather attempted to throw a right counter, and the development was a true thrill. In three minutes, Pacquiao tried to push several times, and Mayweather thrown his accurate right punch every time, but it was not a conventional counterpunch. His right fist was full of battle spirit. It would easily beat Pacquiao who was not really resistant to hard blow.  

There were many moments when the match could be over, but mysteriously, nothing happened. After all these rounds, a simple judgement was made. It was not exiting match or interesting, but still a “great match”. Only these remarkable and astonishing athletes who have been keeping their status as superstars until their late thirties could show such a match. It was indeed a “battle of two experienced boxing guru”, and an answer to the modern boxing in 21st century 

What made me happy was that they never forgot to respect each other, and enjoyed the fight somehow. After making unbeatable career in boxing, they knew they were true great ones, and successfully kept this sense throughout the match. The match was not exiting, but it certainly elevated the level of the boxing. 

Although Mayweather sometime behaves like a naughty boy, today he never lost respect to Pacquiao, and it did not change even after he won by judgement. Floyd Mayweather Jr. must have the most respect to boxing itself and Manny Pacquiao.

While Mayweather managed the fight at his own pace, he never dreamed a complete defeat or possible knockout victory. The match was boring, because Mayweather who had advantage in the match did not want something more than “slightly better”. However, if Mayweather had had such a fantasy even for an instance, Pacquiao would destroy everything. 

 Mayweather can be considered as the best boxer ever by boxing fans, and he also thinks he is the best by himself. However, what the “best” means for the fans might be different from Mayweather’s “best”. He was grown in a world-famous boxing family. Young Floyd had chances to hear about Ray Leonard through his father, and about Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell Whitaker through his uncle Rodger. He really knows what the “best” means.

Mayweather has built his great career by fighting more realistically and humbly than any other boxer, and following the basics just to win in every single match. In the fourth round of today’s fight, after Pacquiao’s left hook smashed him onto the rope, Mayweather mere protected himself by a solid guard, and that was, what he had never done before. In that instance, he never sought a chance of showing off his technique, rather, just behaved like a tortoise squeezing into his own shell to wait patiently the end of the storm. It would not be possible for a simply fearless boxer with too much confidence in his own talent.

In the past, in several legendary boxing matches, the fans’ expectations were often exciting but unreasonable; however fantasies of that kind have been blown away without fail, by one fact. The unexpected game development and results in such matches always tell us: The reality of the boxing can be found only in the deepest layer where we cannot reach. 

The “boring” match tonight just proved this same law once again.

Original Text: Mario Kumekawa 【偉大なる『凡戦』 メイウェザー対パッキャオ】 http://www.en-soph.org/archives/43908327.html
Translation: Satsuki Nakamura
Proofread / Editing: Ray Matsuzaki To-ma
※ Mario Kumekawa:Completed his literature study at Keio University, he was a sport writer (boxing) and a college instructor at Sofia University in Tokyo. He is currently a faculty member of School of Letters at Keio University, serving as a specialist of German Literature.