Connor McGregor was the one who actually came up with the idea to fight Floyd Mayweather. With the impetus of breaking the combat sports revenue records set by Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in 2015. Well, kind of. He mentioned, during an interview on TV, that he was interested in leaving MMA for a fight with Mayweather. Mayweather who was happy in retirement, eventually warmed up to the idea. He had been on a two-year hiatus, so the idea that he would walk away with at least $100 million was extremely enticing. He, in fact, walked away with a $200 million pay day. So I guess he made the right choice.
Many have said that the entire fight was a joke. Could an MMA fighter cross over into the boxing ring and actually win? Because it’s Monday, we know that he didn’t do the unimaginable. But was it as much of a joke as we thought? McGregor came to fight and he never stopped trying. I doubt he’s going to have a boxing career any time soon, but he got in a few solid shots. Maybe Mayweather let him take those shots? We will never know. Regardless of whether he did it for entertainment, or if McGregor had the skill, you can’t deny that McGregor gave it his all. But did Mayweather go the distance?
Mayweather, in my opinion, didn’t seem to have it in him. Almost like he wasn’t trying. So, let’s say that he wasn’t trying, is that why he went 10 rounds with McGregor? Mayweather said “I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see… I had to come straight ahead and give the fans a show. That’s what I gave them. He’s a lot better than I thought he’d be. he’s a tough competitor, but I was the better man tonight”. Of course he was. His record at the time was 49-0. Undefeated. Did anyone think that McGregor was going to come out on top of this one?
I guess “on top” is subjective, really. Both of them walked away with quite the purse, so they both “won” in a sense. McGregor had both age and weight going in his favour, but he wasn’t able to bring the win. Mayweather and his father (his trainer) had planned to take it slow. To let McGregor get his shots in early and then when he’s tired, to take him down in the final stretch. They knew that he fights for about 25 minutes in MMA, so he just had to keep the fight going until that time, and then he could take him down. And that’s what he did.
McGregor, however, has a different spin on this one. He seems to think that it wasn’t a knock out, but rather just fatigued. And that the referee (Robert Byrd) should not have stopped the fight when he did. According to McGregor, “I’ve been strangled on live TV and came back. When you’re in here in the squared circle, everything is different. Let the man put me down. That’s fatigue, that’s not damage. Where was the final two rounds? Let me walk back to my corner and compose myself”.
As you can imagine, and likely saw if you watched the fight, but there was nothing to McGregor’s punches. Boxing is considerably different than MMA. Yes, there’s boxing in MMA, but not the same. I am surprised, though, because boxing takes a lot of lower body strength. Which McGregor has. So I thought that he would have, at least, been a contender in this fight.
I mentioned age a few paragraphs ago. McGregor is 11 years younger than Mayweather. And while that doesn’t always make a difference, it can when it comes to stamina and endurance. McGregor should have been able to keep going, in theory, but by the 10th round, he had nothing left. Mayweather landed a huge right hand that nearly knocked down McGregor, and then he continued by landing about a dozen punches. That’s when Byrd jumped in and stopped the fight, as McGregor was barely on his feet.
Statistically, Mayweather didn’t do all that well either. He landed about 53% of his punches, whereas McGregor only landed about 26%. McGregor’s punch output dropped dramatically in the 9th and 10th rounds when he was getting hammered by Mayweather.
Now Mayweather has indicated that the fight went “exactly as planned”. And maybe it did. But I think we are still going to speculate that some of the reason for the slow pace of the fight has to do with his age. And maybe even the fact that he’s been on a hiatus for so long. Either way, both men walked away with quite the pay day. So I can’t really blame either of them for doing what they did. Mayweather also walks away with a 50-0 record.
As much as people don’t like McGregor you have to give him his props. This was a big risk for him. He only trained for a few months as a boxer. He could have said that he would stick with MMA, but he pushed himself to do something else. Now, he wasn’t particularly good at it, but sometimes it’s not about winning. Sometimes, it’s about being on the other side of the ring, fighting one of the greatest (or the greatest) boxer in the world. Think about all of Muhammad Ali’s opponents over the years. Sure, maybe they’re not thrilled that they lost. But I guarantee you that they look back on that and think about how they had the opportunity to fight with someone so great. I’m not saying that Mayweather is Ali, but you can see the comparison.