For nearly 20 years, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. has frustrated opponents in the ring with his cool calculation. He has been criticized out of the ring for his lavish lifestyle and outbursts of domestic violence. And he has navigated it all by winning habitually and becoming unapologetically rich. Manny Pacquiao, the mop-haired scrapper from the Philippines, presented a peculiar test. Pacquiao is a left-hander with fearless guile, the next-best fighter of the generation. He was an opponent who had waited years for a match. And he was so widely popular that Mayweather, a former Olympic medalist fighting in his longtime hometown against a foreigner, was widely booed upon arrival in the ring on Saturday night and again upon departure.
But he left a winner. And he got much, much richer along the way. In what was considered the highest-grossing bout in boxing history, Mayweather, the 38-year-old with the baby face and the unblemished professional boxing record, beat Pacquiao for the welterweight world championship with a unanimous decision. Both men were runaway winners financially. The purse, the majority of it from pay-per-view revenue from several million American households paying about $90 each to watch, was estimated at roughly $300 million. The contract called for Mayweather to receive 60 percent, win or lose.
Mayweather was asked to confirm that he received a $100 million check after the fight, and soon pulled it from a pocket. “The check got 9 figures on it, baby,” said Mayweather, whose payday could double as the revenues get tallied. Inside the arena, show-business celebrities and famous athletes were sprinkled throughout the crowd. The few tickets made available to the public were priced from $1,500 for seats in the top rows to $7,500 for a seat on the floor. Tickets were sold on the secondary market for $40,000 or more.
The bulk of the 16,507 fans at the MGM Grand Garden booed the decision by the three judges, who gave Mayweather a wide margin in the 12-round fight — 116-112 on two cards, 118-110 on the other. The judges agreed on 10 of the 12 rounds. Advertisement He stretched his record to 48-0 while quieting critics who thought he had spent years avoiding the showdown with Pacquiao. “Manny Pacquiao is still a champion,” Mayweather said. “He still has a lot left. I was the better man tonight — more calculated fighter, took my time, had patience.”
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