By David Robinett at ringside
Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
It may not have been a matchup of two pound-for-pound boxers, but Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor put on an entertaining show, which is never a given in the squared circle, and always appreciated when it happens. Mayweather eventually forced a stoppage, pounding an exhausted McGregor into the ropes before referee Robert Byrd stepped in to protect McGregor from further punishment at 1:05 of round ten in a scheduled twelve-round super welterweight contest.
But before then, McGregor won some rounds (even if Mayweather might have let him), Mayweather had stretches where he treated McGregor like a bobblehead, and amazingly, the whole exercise might have actually been worth the $100 for the fans that paid to watch on television.
McGregor’s best moments came early in the fight, where most ringside observers agreed that he won each of the first three rounds. McGregor was mostly just pecking at Mayweather with jabs to the head and body, but Mayweather was content to let the MMA icon have his moments, and rarely countered any of the Irishman’s shots until the fourth round. McGregor did catch Mayweather off guard though with a sharp left uppercut in round one, and may have legitimately given Mayweather some pause early on by constantly switching stances and outreaching him with the jab.
Mayweather started to assert himself beginning in round four though. After being caught by a McGregor counter right hand to open the fourth, Mayweather responded with a straight right of his own that snapped McGregor’s head back and then switched from moving with McGregor to stalking him. From then on, McGregor became increasingly fatigued each round while Mayweather walked him down and landed an assortment of left and right hands to McGregor’s head that elicited oooh’s and cheers from the crowd. By the ninth round, McGregor could barely throw a punch from exhaustion and Mayweather was teeing off on him at his usual leisurely pace, everyone now recognizing that the competitive part of the fight had passed. Mayweather then closed the show in round ten with more of the same as McGregor wobbled and stumbled with every clean punch until the referee’s stoppage.
Nevertheless, it was fun, it was interesting, and it seemed as though everyone, even the McGregor fans, left happy, which was ultimately the point of this whole endeavor. And aside from counting his nine-figure payday, Mayweather also broke his tie with Rocky Marciano’s record of 49 undefeated victories, moving to 50-0, with 27 KOs. After the fight, despite some playful teasing by Showtime’s Jim Gray, Mayweather also confirmed this was his last fight, and insisted no amount of money would bring him back into the ring after tonight. If that’s true, it was one hell of a ride, and a fitting send off for one of boxing’s all-time greats.