PERHAPS it was the event of the century, but Floyd Mayweather’s unanimous decision victory over Manny Pacquiao wasn’t quite the Fight of the Century. The American added the WBO welterweight belt to his WBA and WBC trophies with a clinical mixture of defensive mastery, and accurate counter-punching. Pacquiao had his moments in the opening half but he looked exhausted down the stretch as he dutifully chased after Mayweather.

“I thought I won,” said Pacquiao at the end. The smile that had seduced the entire world was gone. Disappointment and confusion had replaced it. “He didn’t do nothing,” he pleaded.

Pacquiao enjoyed some success in the early sessions when he burrowed inside the longer arms of his rival and banged in his left hand. In the fourth round one such blast briefly wobbled Mayweather and the crowd – mostly passionate Pacquiao fans – went wild as their hero unloaded. But the onslaught was largely inaccurate.

Mayweather jabbed well, counter-punched sweetly, and – besides a sticky moment in round six – seemed to control the remainder of the 12-rounder.