A historic night at the T-Mobile Arena ended as expected, despite a valiant performance from Conor McGregor, it was the experience and conditioning of Floyd Mayweather Jr which shone in Las Vegas, as “The Best Ever” put one final exclamation mark on his spectacular 50-0 career.
Mayweather, 40, certainly rose to the occasion — as expected — and although the UFC lightweight champion was able to put forward a fiery effort, the five-division boxing champion was able to claim his first stoppage since his September 2011 knockout of Victor Ortiz, hurting McGregor in round 10, and forcing referee Robert Byrd to end the fight.
Although it’s still too early for us to know how successful the money grab was, there were certainly signs pointing in a positive direction. Due to ‘scattered outages’ of the pay-per-view broadcast, Showtime was forced to slightly delay the main event meeting between Mayweather and McGregor. Alas, the show went on as planned, albeit slightly behind schedule.
From the first round, McGregor’s unorthodox style began to shine, cutting the angles as he began breaking Floyd’s believably unbreakable defence. With the crowd firmly behind him, it’s hard to argue against the Irishman’s early success in the fight, even landing a flush uppercut to the boxing pro.
But as Mayweather confirmed in the post-fight interview, his early inactivity was all part of the gameplan.
After a strong start from McGregor, Mayweather begins his final assault
In round four, Mayweather Jr began to treat fans, showcasing more offense and aggression in a few rounds, than he possibly has done in his past six fights, as a fatigued McGregor began to show his weakness.
McGregor seemed to hurt Floyd in round nine, but the boxing GOAT chalked that up to a low blow. As the tenth round approached, it was evident that “The Notorious” had exhausted his gas tank. He struggled to defend any of Mayweather’s attack; similar to the climax of first Nate Diaz fight.
This spelled the beginning of the end for McGregor, as Mayweather put one final punishment on the UFC superstar, forcing referee Byrd to intervene. McGregor admitted during his post-fight, he would have much rathered Byrd let him go out his shield, but from the outside looking in, it’s very difficult to argue with the ending, defined by McGregor’s inability to even coherently stand without the assistance of the ropes.
After a brutally personal and heated build up, it was a fitting image to see Mayweather and McGregor embrace following the fight. As for the future of both men, Mayweather remained adamant that the 50th win of his remarkable career was the final bow. As for the 29-year-old MMA phenomena, there still remains the question of whether or not a fight with Paulie Malignaggi will materialize, but he did confirm that he will return to the UFC Octagon.