Still an asterisk over Mayweather's legacy

Sun May 3, 2015 5:46pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Heading into the much hyped 'Fight of the Century', Floyd Mayweather Jr. repeatedly said his welterweight showdown with Manny Pacquiao was all about defining his legacy while preserving a perfect record as a professional.

In many ways, it was a case of 'job done' on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where the 38-year-old American once again showcased his brilliant defensive skills as he won a unanimous decision over Pacquiao in their title bout.

Pacquiao is renowned for his aggression and speed but the Filipino southpaw was continually outsmarted by Mayweather who, despite back peddling for much of the bout, controlled the pace of the fight and the geography of the ring.

Mayweather, a polarizing figure because of his arrogance and flamboyant showmanship, improved his career record to 48-0 and said during the post-fight news conference that he would fight once more, in September, before retiring from the sport.

Should that pan out with the American winning his final bout, he would match the iconic 49-0 record achieved by former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano.

That would certainly be a legacy.

Yet always with Mayweather there are shades of gray in what could be a stark black-and-white reminder on paper of his superb career as a professional.All too often, he has been criticised for hand-picking his opponents, and there is also the question of his relatively low knockout rate, just 26 for a boxer who prides himself on staying out of harm's way whenever possible in the ring.

Boxing great Oscar De La Hoya, who was beaten by both Mayweather and Pacquiao before calling time on his own glittering career, was distinctly underwhelmed by Saturday's fight - mainly because of the American's style.   Continued...

May 2, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather celebrates after defeating Manny Pacquiao (not pictured) via unanimous decision during their world welterweight championship bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports