THE dust has settled in the aftermath of the so- called “Fight of the Century” which was pilloried as a dud.

Where does that leave the two protagonists?

Floyd Mayweather Jr. came out as the winner, though many solidly dispute that claim and some have even come out with alternative stats showing Manny Pacquiao landing more punches.

Still, the scorecards will forever read that Mayweather defeated Pacquiao via unanimous decision on May 2, 2015 and that’s that.

Yet, the victor lost as much as he may have won.

Because the fight’s magnitude attracted casual boxing fans and probably thousands of first- timers, many of whom were yet unfamiliar with Floyd’s fighting style--most of them left unsatisfied and unhappy.

This demographic--which boxing has been trying desperately to court all this time--was attracted to this fight for the wrong reasons.

To them the “Fight of the Century” probably meant an all-out brawl, a donnybrook between the two best fighters in the world: a fight fraught with peril and intrigue, featuring knockdowns and bloody, broken noses.

Alas, this was not meant to be. Floyd is the true practitioner of the sport called “The sweet Science” and he doesn’t believe in getting hit.

Ergo, there was just no freaking way he was going to change the way he fights just because he was facing Pacquiao.

On the contrary, he had every compelling reason to maintain and even improve on his status as best defensive fighter in the sport precisely because he was facing a fighter as prolific offensively as Pacquiao.

There was so much at stake for Floyd in that fight and he couldn’t afford risking his undefeated record because he wanted to please the fans.

Floyd isn’t in the fan-pleasing business. He’s in the I-win-this-fight-my way-and-pick-up-the check- business.

PACQUIAO. Which brings us to Manny. He lost the biggest fight of his career on the cards, but in the process picked up his biggest paycheck ever.

That loss has been blamed by his camp on a rotator cuff injury that prevented him from fighting at 100 percent form.

He didn’t have full use of his right shoulder during the fight, and had to undergo arthroscopic surgery a couple of days later.

Yet, instead of courting sympathy, that didn’t sit well with the fans, some of whom have even resorted to filing damage suits against him and Top Rank Promotions.

Their logic? They got duped into putting money on an injured fighter whom they thought had a legitimate chance to win.

So Manny’s loss on the cards has been exacerbated by a hit on his likeable, affably clean image.

Insinuations are rife that his camp did not want to lose a record breaking payday by reporting the injury earlier for fear that the fight might be postponed- or worse, cancelled altogether with the mercurial Mayweather calling the shots on the negotiations.

So where does that leave us? A fight of the century that:

1.) Left the fans in dissension as to who won;

2.) Left the fans unsatisfied on the nature of the proceedings;

3.) Left some fans feeling cheated;

4.) Made the best fighter in the world appear more unpalatable and unpopular;

5.) Led to its most popular fighter being named as defendant in damage suits;

Rematch, anyone?

VERBATIM. “I think we are going to get a late round knockout. Geale is tough enough to go some rounds, but a knockout in a late round…that’s my call.”--Freddie Roach’s prediction on Miguel Cotto vs. Daniel Geale for the WBC middleweight crown. (www.boxinginsider.com)

LAST ROUND. It’s on Maristela Castellano-Ostrea who recently celebrated her birthday. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)