Pacquiao earns Mayweather's respect
By Dino Maragay Updated Sunday May 03, 2015 - 6:41pm

Manny Pacquiao is embraced by Floyd Mayweather Jr. during a press conference following their welterweight title fight on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas. Mayweather defeated Pacquiao in a unanimous decision. AP Photo/John Locher

LAS VEGAS - Manny Pacquiao came. Manny Pacquiao saw. But Floyd Mayweather Jr. conquered.

Mayweather's boxing brilliance was in display Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here, successfully negating Pacquiao's aggressiveness to notch a hard-earned decision win.

Pacquiao, who was later known to have fought on a bum shoulder, tried his best to best Mayweather. In round four, he rocked the undefeated American with a counter left straight that had Mayweather retreating to the ropes.

It was probably the best round for any Mayweather opponent. But like the 47 other fighters that came before him, Pacquiao came up short.

For several times, Pacquiao pummeled Mayweather with flurries to the body, but the latter always found a way to escape. He went for broke in the final round, perhaps sensing he needed a knockout to win. But Mayweather continued to flick his jab to make sure Pacquiao couldn't come any closer.

After the decision was announced, Mayweather went to Pacquiao's corner to hug his spirited challenger. The fight that took about five years to make finally reached its conclusion.

Pacquiao tried. Pacquiao failed. He yielded his WBO welterweight title to Mayweather, but in exchange, he got his foe's respect.

"Manny Pacquiao is a great fighter. Now I see why he's been successful in the sport," Mayweather said in the ring afterwards.

At the post-fight press conference, Pacquiao was the first to speak. Mayweather, with an entourage of bodyguards in tow, then appeared and again hugged Pacquiao, whom he was cordial with throughout the promotion.

"Manny Pacquiao is still a champion. He still has a lot left... I just fought a more calculated fight tonight," he said when it was his turn to speak on the dais.

Mayweather just had no bad things to say to Pacquiao.

"I wouldn't say Manny's the toughest fighter I've faced or the hardest puncher. But I see why he's raised the sport to where it is now," he added.

And to Pacquiao's Filipino fans, Mayweather gave his thanks had one simple request.

"Keep supporting him. He's one hell of a fighter. He represents his country well," said Mayweather.

***

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Mayweather vs Pacquiao

Philstar.com's special coverage of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight is made possible by Philippine Airlines.

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