After five years of anticipation and brewing excitement, the world finally found itself scooting to the edge of its seat, as the ‘Fight of the Century’ took place last May 2, 2015 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Boxing fans from all over the world clung to their high expectations, tweeting and expressing varying remarks of support, contempt, and ferocity throughout the match. As the final bell rang and the results were announced – Mayweather raising his fists in the air and Pacquiao in silent shock – boos engulfed not only the stadium, but the Internet as well.
#MayPac memes and tweets kept pouring in and out of threads and timelines, creating a buzz that was easily a spectacle of its own. Netizens continued to debate the outcome of the long-awaited fight, taking social media by storm and questioning whether or not it lived up to the tremendous hype.
As the series of events unfolded, the Philippines and the United States weren’t the only nations intently watching. An analysis conducted through Radian6, a powerful social listening tool, shows that while a great majority of mentions came from the United States, a sizeable amount hailed from a diverse list of countries.
Mentions from China, the Philippines, Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, the Netherlands, Mexico, Singapore, and Venezuela were noted. Indeed, this widespread outburst is substantial evidence that Manny’s loss and Floyd’s victory—perceived both positively and negatively—has crossed borders.
Upsurge in Real-Time
Following the social media trends on the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, mentions rapidly increased as soon as the match aired. Furthermore, the abrupt peak at 12pm on May 3 (local time) illustrates the rampant outburst on the web as both pay-per-view and local television audiences took their sentiments online.
The round-per-round analysis highlights social media mentions as the fight progressed from one bell to another.
A spike during Round 5 was evident, with over 96,510 mentions in just 3 minutes. It could be linked to Mayweather’s aggression, Pacquiao’s struggle for momentum, and the netizens’ reactions to this crucial phase. Mentions noticeably decreased in the succeeding rounds, and slightly escalated as the fight came to a close.
Disappointment, Bitterness in Defeat
In a previous study similarly done with Radian6, it was noted that Pacquiao was greatly favored over Mayweather. This seems to be the reason behind the stir on social media platforms after the Filipino champion’s downfall. A remarkable 65.2% of mentions consisted of negative reactions, indisputably dominating the positive.
It ignited a tirade of disbelief and rage not only among Filipinos, but also across the world. Ironically, Mayweather’s very own country produced a whopping 37% of negative mentions, followed by the United Kingdom and Canada with 3.1% and 3.0%, respectively.
Looking into details, it can similarly be deduced that both Mayweather’s and Pacquiao’s mentions generated a huge chunk of negative reactions. Several Pacman fans took their disappointment to Twitter, while others were more concerned with the way he accepted defeat.
At the other end of the spectrum, some netizens lauded Pacquiao’s efforts despite the outcome. Much like the pre-fight mentions, supporters gave credit to Manny’s positive image and unparalleled skills in the ring.
Hollywood and international celebrities also shared praises for the boxer, attracting thousands of retweets and reposts on social media. These include Sylvester Stallone, Chester Bennington, Ellie Goulding, Adriana Lima, and Pacman’s very own ‘Bieber,’ Jimmy Kimmel.
Winning the bout, losing the world
It’s true that Mayweather generated more buzz, but it wasn’t necessarily in his favor. His triumph over Pacquiao led to jeers from the live audience, and even more ridicule on social media.
While his supporters continued to defend him, many have questioned the unanimous decision and criticized his performance, describing it as ‘boring.’
The ‘Fight of the Century’ may not have lived up to the expectations of most, but with the dangling question of a rematch and the piling accusations of sabotage, it certainly has given the Internet something to talk about. – Rappler.com
Pauline Pangan, the author, is the founder of AllFamous Digital. Aside from being an entrepreneur and a lover of social media, she is also actively involved in social outreach through LifelinePH, a charity organization she founded that helps people displaced by calamities and less fortunate. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Wek De Guzman, who did the Radian6 Scan, is a partner and the Head of Business Consulting at AllFamous Digital. He is most passionate in helping businesses transform how they interact with their clients through digital customer engagement. Connect with him on LinkedIn.