On Saturday, August 26, Floyd Mayweather Jr. seemingly wrote the final chapter of his Hall of Fame career.
In the 10th round, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) stopped UFC Lightweight champion, and boxing debutant, Conor McGregor, in what was his first knockout win since 2011.
In the first two rounds of the fight, Mayweather’s period outside the ring definitely appeared to have a negative impact on his performance. His reflexes and timing seemed to be slightly off, and as a result, an inaccurate right hand lead to a crisp uppercut counter from McGregor, which turned out to be arguably the best punch of the first round.
Furthermore, McGregor’s unconventional movement and execution of his punches in the aforementioned rounds certainly provided viewers with intrigue, as well as something for Mayweather to decipher.
Thereafter, Mayweather increased his intensity by landing right hands to McGregor’s body, in order to derail his opponent’s attacks, and help quicken his impending fatigue. Then, as soon as the third round was coming to a close, it was clear to see that Mayweather’s focus on body shots was working. The UFC Lightweight champion began to breathe heavily, and made no effort to hide his exhaustion.
Round 4 onward signaled the beginning of the end for Conor McGregor, whose energy levels appeared to reach rock bottom in a short space of time. It was a stark contrast from the first round, as McGregor’s punches became incredibly slow, and lacked any sort of power to hurt or trouble Mayweather. McGregor replicated a fighter who was in the 12th round, in terms of exhaustion, yet there were eight more rounds to go.
Consequently, Mayweather took control of the fight, by timing the slower McGregor, and landing his customary right hands, while also walking him down. Mayweather would also add some hooks into his assaults, and this would be a similar narrative for the rest of the fight.
For the next few rounds, Mayweather would constantly seek McGregor, in an attempt to land a clean shot that would put an end to the contest. Though, due to Mayweather’s aggression on the inside, and McGregor’s lack of energy, this would cause clinches between the two fighters, with referee Robert Byrd having to constantly warn McGregor of punches behind the head.
With McGregor barely surviving an onslaught in the ninth round, there was a sense that Mayweather would finally conclude his dominant performance. Eventually, by the 10th round, McGregor was spent, and was subsequently stunned by a clean right hand. Mayweather wasted no time in overwhelming his opponent with shots, which lead to McGregor falling into the ropes and Robert Byrd stopping the fight. Mayweather acquired his first knockout victory since the controversial win over Victor Ortiz in 2011.
As expected, McGregor was gracious in defeat, and both fighters deviated from their brash personas, in order to embrace and commend one another. Afterwards, Mayweather, with his crocodile WBC belt, smiling, reaffirmed his desire to end the fight with a knockout.
“I guaranteed everybody that this fight wouldn’t go the distance,” said Mayweather. “Our game plan was to go straight ahead.” Floyd then intensified the boxing vs. MMA debate, saying, “Boxing’s reputation was on the line.”
McGregor, despite being in danger, appeared to be unhappy with the stoppage. “Let the man put me down,” said McGregor. “Let me wobble back to my corner.” In terms of whether McGregor will return to the boxing ring, McGregor answered, “We’ll see what happens.”
Mayweather, on the other hand, was adamant that this would be his last fight. “This was my last fight tonight,” said Mayweather. “I chose the right dance partner to dance with.”