Floyd Mayweather did what he said he’d do, but Conor McGregor didn’t embarrass himself, either. Instead of a travesty, we got something more akin to a guilty pleasure popcorn movie to close out the summer, a blockbuster that really can’t be seen as a disappointment.
Mayweather (50-0, 27 KO) stopped McGregor (0-1, 0 KO) in the 10th round of their scheduled 12-round junior middleweight title fight, leading at the time of stoppage on scores of 89-81, 89-82, and 87-83, when referee Robert Byrd stepped in to stop a sustained Mayweather assault, as class had shown over the course of the fight.
McGregor, 29, started well enough, boxing with smart aggression in the early rounds, while Mayweather, 40, laid back and tried to figure him out. And figuring McGregor out wasn’t all easy — despite his status as a boxing novice, his dimensions and style made him something awkward for Mayweather, who is used to fighting world class boxing champions who simply don’t do things the way that Conor McGregor was doing them.
It’s not to say that Mayweather struggled at any point, necessarily. Rounds scored for McGregor were largely due to Mayweather not showing anything offensively, as he scouted this strange opponent.
But McGregor showed that he’s a great pro fighter and athlete, and there’s no denying that. He showed heart and determination, a will to succeed despite being outclassed, and it was easy to come away with a healthy respect for the Irishman.
“He’s a lot better than I thought he was. He used different angles, he’s a tough competitor. But I was the better man tonight,” Mayweather said. “Our game plan was to take our time, go to him, let him shoot all his heavy shots early, then take him out down the stretch.”
“I guaranteed everybody that this fight wouldn’t go the distance,” Mayweather added. “Boxing’s reputation was on the line. Boxing is a hell of a sport. MMA is a hell of a sport. I want to thank all the fans from Ireland and around the world that came to this event.”
On whether or not this was his last fight, Floyd said, “This was my last fight tonight, ladies and gentlemen. My last fight. For sure. Tonight was my last fight. For sure. Tonight, I chose the right dance partner to dance with. Conor McGregor, you’re a hell of a champion.”
McGregor was in good spirits after the fight, congratulating Mayweather.
“I thought I took the early rounds pretty handy. He adjusted and changed his style. He’s composed,” he told Jim Gray. “He’s not that fast, he’s not that powerful, but boy is he composed in there. He was patient with his shots. I give him nothing but respect. Hopefully I entertained the fans.”
Of the stoppage by Robert Byrd, McGregor said, “I thought it was a little early of a stoppage. I get like that when I’m tired. There’s a lot on the line here. He should’ve let me keep going, I thought, but fair play. I’m just a little fatigued. He was a lot more composed under the shots, more experienced, especially in the later part. That’s what 50 pro fights will give you.”