Mayweather vs Pacquiao: Controversy taken to a whole new level
History was made on May 2nd as fight legends Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, boxing's best, finally faced each other in the ring.
Floyd, showcasing savvy and great skills and speed, won a unanimous decision by the scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 118-110.
So finally, after six years of incessant debating over which legend deserved true 'Fighter of His Generation' status, the Mayweather vs Pacquiao dispute was finally settled...
Or was it?
Afterwards, Manny Pacquiao insisted he should have been awarded the verdict, and he's not alone. Although the majority of fans, experts and media seemingly feel the decision was just, there's a fair contingent of Pacquiao supporters who think Manny deserved the nod.
Controversial decisions are nothing new in boxing and the disputes of a decisive minority usually come and go without much credence. However, Mayweather vs Pacquiao took controversy to a whole new level and it had little to do with the decision rendered.
Hence, the controversy behind Mayweather vs Pacquiao makes the whole Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvelous Marvin Hagler scoring debate seem like child's play.
Manny Pacquiao entered the May's affair severely compromised after aggravating an already-torn right rotator cuff in training three weeks prior to the bout. For a fighter, such an injury is a pretty big deal so it's understandable why his team considered postponing the bout. Their presumed saving grace, however, was Nevada's alleged decision, a few weeks prior, to allow Pacquiao to take injections of lidocaine, celestone and bupivacaine an hour or so before the fight.
But on the night of the fight, Nevada Athletic Commission refused to allow Manny Pacquiao's team to inject legal numbing agents in his injured shoulder... And the rest is history.
Floyd Mayweather defeated a version of Manny Pacquiao that probably shouldn't have been fighting; at least not without some form of painkiller. And as a result, Nevada Athletic Commission not only robbed Pacquiao of performing optimally in his already-injured state, its actions left Floyd Mayweather's massive victory somewhat tarnished.
Yes, even the victor, through no fault of his own, has been deprived full credit for his accomplishment.
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Now, hardcore fans are asking themselves 'What if' while many non-fans insist they were cheated out of the $100 they paid to see two legends in supreme condition and top form go head-to-head.
"I needed that shot," Pacquiao stated a day after the fight.
“I really needed that shot because if I throw a power hook or power jab, it hurt.”
"My rate of my performance was only at 60%. Sixty-percent because my mind wanted to do it, but it was outbalanced because I was only relying on my left," he said.
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"I’m so disappointed in the commission because I believe they know but only they said we didn’t fill out the form," said Pacquiao.
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"I want a rematch if he wants. I wasn’t 100% ready for last night because of this shoulder but I don’t want to use that complaining that I lost the fight. I’m just accepting the fact that I lost."
Perhaps in an attempt to plant the seeds for a rematch, Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, recently quipped:
"Manny would have easily won if not for the injury."
"He thought he won the fight. With both shoulders, he felt he would have won easy," Arum told Fight Hub TV as reported by BoxingScene.
I watched that fight over and over again, and without being biased - in addition to the four rounds the [two] judges gave [Pacquiao] - I gave him the second."
"I don't see how you could take the second round away from him. And [I gave him] the last round, which would have made it a draw."
When citing Manny's shoulder, was Arum referring to the impairment itself or the commission's decision not to give Manny what would have equated to a temporary band-aid which would have made the injury more tolerable during the fight? Either way, this whole ordeal has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many fans.
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Mayweather vs Pacquiao will forever be disputable as both fighters as well as fans were robbed, albeit in very different ways.
Sans Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston 2 (1964) which offered a proverbial carnival of mistakes and a so-called 'phantom punch,' has there ever been a fight more embroiled in controversy?