For all the snap judgments that theirs was a fight unworthy of a repeat, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao pointedly refused to discount the possibility of a rematch. They were right to be non-committal, as once the recriminations pass these two ageing fighters could discover that act two, back in the MGM Grand in four months, is the best available option.
While Mayweather's victory was wide, it was not altogether conclusive.
Pacquiao, who cut a smiling and oddly detached figure for parts of this fight, was not hurt once in a match that failed to produce a single knockdown. The subsequent flare-up of 'Shoulder-gate', as Pacquiao claimed he was carrying an injury that stopped him using his right hand to full effect, muddied the waters further. If there is any question that the Filipino was restricted in his powers - and his fading in the second half of the contest gave every sign - the clamour for an encore will grow.
"Sorry, boxing fans," said promoter Oscar de la Hoya, who lost to both Mayweather and Pacquiao in their prime. He spoke for many by his suggestion that a five-year wait, culminating in the unprecedented hysteria of the past seven days, had yielded a less than satisfactory outcome. That argument is sure to stir a feeling that such a rivalry deserves a clearer resolution.
Floyd Mayweather Snr did not even wish to countenance the notion. He wanted his son to finish his career in September with an "easy" opponent.
"We don't need all them tough fights," he said. But what kind of exclamation would this be? Mayweather is poised, on his next appearance in the ring, to equal the 49-0 record of Rocky Marciano, among the most famous unbeaten records in sport. It demands fanfare, not an anticlimactic mismatch.
'MayPac II' is the self-evident box-office sequel.
On the streets of Manila yesterday, where the defeat of the idol Pacquiao has been taken hard, the calls to do it all again were deafening. And with good reason, given that Pacquiao (36), who has now lost six times, has few places left to go. His deluded insistence that he had won the fight was a less than subtle invitation to Mayweather to set up a repeat.
Whether Mayweather has any appetite to acquiesce is questionable.
"Let me enjoy my victory," he said, wearily, as he prepared to count his mountain of money. There was no re-match clause signed but his refusal to kill off the idea was intriguing. As a businessman, he saw as plainly as anybody the slavering interest and eye-watering sums that this match-up generated. The temptation to milk the cash cow one more time could well be too difficult to ignore. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
It did not take long for the cat-calls to rain down. Floyd Mayweather had just delivered an exhibition of masterfully-economical ring craft and yet, as he raised his arms in triumph to exhort this broiling Las Vegas crowd, he looked in vain for the love he saw as his due. Admiration for the fighter did not translate to affection for the person. Such, perhaps, is always the fate of the flawed genius.