IT was Street Fighter personified; the best boxer on the planet against the most marketable mixed martial artist in a $700 million event that drew the eyes of the world.
Celebrities competed for the best seats — comedian Steve Harvey somehow beat basketball icon Lebron James and Sean “Diddy” Combs in the ‘closest to the ring stakes’ — while actors Charlize Theron and Bruce Willis watched intently as Floyd Mayweather took apart UFC trash-talker Conor McGregor in 10 rounds.
When all the pay-per-view numbers are tallied up, Mayweather expects to see $300 million in his bank account.
And for taking a solid beating as most had expected, McGregor can lick his wounds with nearly $100 million, 20 times more than he has ever made in any UFC bout.
McGregor never stood a chance against boxing’s best in Mayweather, who retired after the fight with an impeccable record of 50-0, but put up a handy enough showing in the first three rounds for those who paid $100,000 to be ringside to walk away smiling.
A delayed start due to a late rush of pay-per-view purchases crashed the system in several US states. But pop star Demi Lovato got the live, but not sold-out, Las Vegas audience excited again with a rousing rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.
McGregor walked out first, draped in the Irish flag, to the tune of an Irish battle song, spurred on as the crowd favourite.
Mayweather donned an executioner’s balaclava for his ring entrance.
Chris Hemsworth, William H. Macy, Vanessa Hudgens, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Jamie Foxx, Don Cheadle, James Harden and Mike Tyson all craned their necks to get a glimpse of the richest man in sport.
Up to the opening bell, this was sold on the show rather than the merit.
The pantomime hatred, flurry of insults and boastful talk was all designed to lure the buyer in.
When sales slowed in the final weeks, Mayweather even resorted to highlighting his own weakness; his 40 years, his two years out of the ring, in a bid to create doubt about the inevitable result.
McGregor came into the ring as the much bigger man and surprised many boxing purists as he made a confident start. But as the rounds wore on his inexperience was pounced on by Mayweather, who looked as fast as ever and landed clean, heavy shots down the stretch before referee Robert Byrd waved off the contest in the 10th round with McGregor out on his feet.
Source: entertainment dailytelegraph