LAS VEGAS — Workers broke down Grand Garden Arena all around Floyd Mayweather Sr. as he settled in front of a bank of microphones and did the least Floyd Mayweather Sr. thing ever. He talked softly, without animation, without rhymes. He was subdued. Maybe for the first time.
The fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night at the MGM Grand had that impact on its participants. Two months of build-up, of unprecedented hype, of constant bickering, and for what? A dud. For a Mayweather victory by unanimous decision, a win that cemented his status as the elite boxer of his generation but left those in attendance and a worldwide television audience uninspired—his father included.
“Floyd fought well enough to beat the guy,” Senior said. “He did fight like I...” His voice trailed off.
“He could have fought better,” Senior said.
The conversation then turned cryptic, or cosmic. With Senior one can never tell. He said that he planned to do some soul-searching in the weeks to come, and he said he hoped that Junior would do the same. About what, he declined to elaborate, which was perhaps another first. He did say that the soul-searching will “make things even better,” and he did admit that his soul-searching will be about his son. “Yeah,” Senior said. “It involves him.”
Workers removed the ropes from the ring and set up a table inside it. They lifted a lectern over the ring apron. Reporters typed away on deadline, the overall sentiment harsh.
The best fight of the night took place between two cameramen jockeying for position at the post-bout press conference. Security broke it up.
Senior continued on. He shrugged when someone suggested Amir Khan as the potential opponent in Mayweather’s next bout, which he has said repeatedly will both be in September and be his last professional prize fight. Why anyone would think Khan could frustrate Mayweather when Pacquiao could not, when Miguel Cotto could not, when Canelo Alvarez could not, when Shane Mosley (save for one punch) could not, seemed beyond Senior. “I don’t know if there’s anybody left,” he said.
He’s right about that. Whatever fight Mayweather holds in September will be a letdown, even if it’s a rematch against Pacquiao, which seemed about as likely early Sunday as both boxers buying an NBA team and becoming the starting guards.
That’s partly because Mayweather is such a brilliant defensive fighter, because he takes elite boxers and makes them look ordinary, as he did with Pacquiao on Saturday. “They had Pacquiao throwing a thousand punches a round,” Senior said. “I didn’t even see 500. For the fight.”
“[Mayweather] doesn’t get credit for what he does anyway,” Senior said.
That’s also true. Those who found the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight boring could have reasonably expected to. Mayweather has fought that way for years now, ever since he moved up into the welterweight division and began to face men who outweigh him by 15 to 20 pounds. With Pacquiao, Mayweather was the larger fighter, with the superior reach, and yet he chose to remain outside, on the ropes, circling Pacquiao in perpetuity. That also could have been reasonably expected.
Between rounds, Senior implored Junior to move forward, to walk Pacquiao down, to close the show, which is boxing parlance for a stoppage. His son ignored him. He believed that he was winning, he said later, and he also believed that Pacquiao, if not dealt with properly, posed a threat.
One judge had Junior winning 10 of 12 rounds, but Senior saw the fight closer than that. He’s right. But it wasn’t all that close.
It’s hard to imagine the next Mayweather fight that will be close, or exciting, or anything other than what most of his recent bouts have been. Senior seemed to recognize that.
“I’ll tell you the honest truth,” he said. “If it was me? My last fight? I’d find somebody I can whip. Somebody who gives me no trouble whatsoever.”
His son entered the arena, flanked by the dozens in his entourage, the nine bodyguards, the women in miniskirts and high heels. “I’ll be very glad if this is his last one,” Senior said. His son climbed back into the ring and settled behind the lectern. He had a lot to say. He talked for 45 minutes.
“There’s nothing left to fight for,” his father said.