LAS VEGAS — It took a minute, but eventually Floyd “Money” Mayweather proved the greatest boxer of all-time wasn’t about to lose to someone in his first professional boxing match, even if his name is Conor McGregor.
After all the hype, all the talk and all the profanity, it simply was unrealistic to believe McGregor, the UFC champion, could beat Mayweather in their pay-per-view showdown Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena. So no one should have been surprised when Mayweather methodically broke down McGregor before scoring a 10th-round technical knockout.
Boxing: Floyd Mayweather avoids a brutal shot from Conor McGregor.
Mayweather enters the Matrix
Referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight at 1:05 of the 10th round as McGregor was absorbing repeated blows from Mayweather, who was starting to connect with everything he threw.
So what did we learn from this exercise? Well, it was entertaining from the very beginning, when the fight was announced in June until Byrd stepped in to stop the fight.
The best boxer on the planet and the UFC superstar brought a lot of attention to their respective sports, and those who spent $US100 on pay-per-view and thousands to witness the bout in person should not be ashamed to say they did so.
No, it wasn’t boxing at its best. Mayweather, who scored his first knockout since 2011, looked a bit rusty early on after having not fought in two years. McGregor, meanwhile, looked awkward in boxing gloves and trunks and no Octagon surrounding him. His boxing inexperience showed, especially late in the fight, when he tried to clinch. By the end, his face was a sitting target.
“He a tough competitor,” Mayweather said. “I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see. I came straight ahead to give the fans a show. He was better than I thought. He came from awkward angles. But I was the better man tonight.”
Boxing: Floyd Mayweather has spoken to the crowd after defeating Conor McGregor by TKO.
Mayweather speaks post fight
McGregor (21-3 in MMA) was a gracious loser.
“He’s composed,” McGregor said of Mayweather, whom he had vowed to stop within four rounds. “He’s not that fast and not that powerful. But boy, is he composed. What can I say? I had a bit of fun.”
Still, it was a weird conclusion. Mayweather improved to 50-0 and retired for the third time in his career, while McGregor vowed to return to the UFC where he owns the lightweight title.
“It’s back to MMA for me,” he said.
The finish of the fight was more satisfying than the beginning. Showtime delayed the start of the main event because of scattered outages from various cable and satellite providers and online offerings. The delay was to help systems get back on track and wasn’t lengthy. But fans at T-Mobile Arena were already restless after a lacklustre undercard.
Boxing: Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather embrace after the fight.
MayMac’s show of respect
By the time McGregor made his entrance, T-Mobile Arena was packed. Mayweather entered in all black with a black mask. His black robe with gold glitter was a strange look, as if Mayweather was embarrassing the role of villain.
After all the hype and all the talk, the world tour and the promises by McGregor that he would stop Mayweather in the second round, the fight started at a slow pace.
McGregor, using his jab, won the first three rounds as Mayweather did virtually nothing but peek through his gloves. Byrd had to admonish McGregor several times during the fight for hitting and holding and low blows, but no points were deducted.
By the fifth round, it was clear Mayweather was starting to take control. He began stalking the Irishman, forcing him to fight while backing up. By the ninth round, McGregor started looking fatigued, and by the 10th he was finished along with any notion the MMA star could be the best boxer on the planet. Of course, we should have known that all along.
Originally published as The G.O.A.T: How Floyd cemented his legacy
Source: sports dailytelegraph