When it was all said and done, “The Notorious” Conor McGregor, UFC’s reigning lightweight champion, stepped into the boxing world and hung tough with perhaps the greatest to ever do it in the legendary Floyd “Money” Mayweather — which is more than you can ask for a man who made his professional boxing debut against the absolute best in the sport.
In the end however, Mayweather kept his unblemished record intact, stopping McGregor in the 10th round of a scheduled 12 round junior middleweight contest. McGregor, backed up against the ropes, took a volley of punches from Mayweather who pressed forward. With McGregor unable to defend himself, referee Robert Byrd waved the bout off at the 1:05 minute mark.
McGregor did better than many expected
For a first-time professional boxer, McGregor actually performed better than expected. He clearly won the first two rounds, and arguably many others, as Mayweather took his time in sizing up the Irishman.
Utilizing his awkward style and various angles, McGregor threw Mayweather off his rhythm. It was difficult for Mayweather to fight from range, like he usually does. But the mark of a great champion is the ability to adjust, and Mayweather has always exhibited this trait in all his fights. It is what makes him such a great boxer in the first place.
Midway through the bout, Mayweather made the adjustment and started walking McGregor down with his guard up. Realizing he had to get in close to land his power shots, Mayweather closed the distance and began to connect. By the sixth round, McGregor was completely gassed. He just had no legs and Mayweather sensed the finish.
To McGregor’s credit, he was able to hold on a little longer, slipping Mayweather’s offense until the 10th. In the 10th round however, McGregor was just completely exhausted and had no energy left to defend himself.
Was it an early stoppage?
Some, including McGregor himself, feel that Byrd could have let the fight play on. McGregor didn’t in fact touch the canvas, so there was no knockdown. But these sort of stoppages are commonplace in boxing. As long as a fighter is no longer able to intelligently defend himself, it is the referee’s responsibility to recognize when to stop the fight.
“I thought it was close, I get a little floppy when I get tired. [Floyd] was a lot more composed. You’ve got to give it to him. I don’t know if I will box again,” said McGregor
In the end, McGregor just isn’t a 12-round fighter and he admitted to this in the post-fight interview with Jim Gray. Mayweather’s experience definitely showed as he remained poised for the majority of the contest until the finish.
Still, Mayweather admitted he was impressed by McGregor’s effort.
“He’s a lot better than I thought he was, he used different angles. But I was the better man. It was our gameplan to take our time and take him out down the stretch,” said Mayweather. “I chose the right dance partner for my last dance … this was my final fight”