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Manufactured, not really. Protected? Tough to say. I mean, dude was a great boxer, it just sucks to watch him box. His whole style is predicated on defense and eluding punches, and just letting guys wear themselves down until he catches them slipping. You can certainly argue the Pacquiao fight was pushed off for way too long and they were both well past their primes by the time it happened.
The state of boxing these days is pitiful. It's such a great sport but all the best athletes will to pursue combat sports seem to be going the MMA route. We need another great heavyweight to come along, there hasn't been one since the 90s. The only real memorable fights worth the price of admission in recent memory were the Mickey Ward-Arturo Gatti fights in the early 2000s. I miss great fights like those.2