By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – A collective sigh of resignation descended upon the dozen or so Filipino-Americans gathered around Pat Mendoza’s table even before the result was announced.
Used to watching Manny Pacquiao dominate his opponents, this one was a clear loss before Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s hand was raised in triumph.
“He’s not like the Manny Pacquiao of old,” said Cristita Cerezo. “He did not put together a bunch of punches like he used.to.”
After feasting on pancit, adobo, lumpia and other Philippine delicacies, the group settled down to watch what was hyped as the “Fight of the Century.”
It turned about to be the “Biggest Disappointment of the Century.”
Urbano Salvati, Mendoza’s neighbor who joined the fight party, was courteous enough to his host to say, “it was a good fight. But the other guy kept running away and refused to mix it up.”
A town-mate of the great Rocky Marciano, Salvati said the unanimous decision was not surprising though.
“This is (Mayweather’s) town and Pacquiao should have done more to beat him.”
It was a sentiment shared by Brelane Mendoza, Pat Mendoza’s grandson.
“Pacquiao has to score a kknock-out to win,” he said. “If it go the distance, I’m sure Mayweather will prevail.”
Mayweather is a very smart fighter,” said Benny Montano. “I think Pacquiao did not do enough to win.”
Pacquiao alternated between complaining of a shoulder hurt in training camp to insisting he won the fight, but his fans say he was off his game.
His best round came whenhe caught Mayweather in a corner and rained blows on him, but the Sarangani congressman often backed off or stopped after not seeing any damage on the American fighter.
At the end of the 12-round bout, the fighters who may have earned a combined $200 million, were both unmarked.
Mayweather tantalizingly left a date in September for another bout (without naming a potential opponent) but a return match with Pacquiao seems out of the question.