Last Saturday’s bout between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was one of the most lucrative fights in not just Boxing and MMA history, but in all of sports history. Given the magnitude of the fight, our two sports editors provide their takeaways from Nevada’s largest sporting spectacle.
Javier’s Take: At the conclusion of the sixth round Floyd Mayweather Sr. told his son, ‘As soon as you’re ready to go, he’s gone.’ The arc of a Floyd Mayweather fight has always been to feel out an opponent, figure out his rhythm, and then take calculated shots to win by points. With one of the most lopsided matchups in boxing history, Floyd was able to put a calculated exclamation point on his career by executing his game plan to a tee and securing his first true knockout in a decade.
From the initial talks about a potential crossover boxing match between these two combat sports stars, to the Showtime All Access series contrasting McGregor’s constant training to Mayweather’s hijinx, to the Vegas odds shifting to being an actual “competitive” fight, the build up of this fight felt almost like a WWE Pay-Per-View.
The fight was no more than a glorified exhibition match. It was entertaining because it pitted two of the most polarizing athletes against each other: young vs. old, MMA vs. Boxing, rich vs. richer, loud vs. louder. With a sprinkle of marketing, the Mayweather Promotional team was able to make both casuals and enthusiasts believe in an outcome other than a Mayweather victory.
While the opponent that Mayweather received his milestone 50th victory against could have been somebody more deserving, it is understandable why he chose McGregor. At the end of the day, Mayweather’s legacy has been his innovative approach to the sport. From his transition from “Pretty Boy Floyd” to being the biggest real life heel to the drawn out Pacquiao saga, to this once-in-lifetime crossover fight, Mayweather has always masterfully drawn the plot, and we have always bought it, this time to the tune of $100 exhibition pay-per-view.
When this fight was first announced my original thoughts were ‘what madman would dare pit himself against, arguably, the best boxer to step foot in the ring?’ But if any man was going to do the sports cross-over bout, it’d be Conor McGregor. A fighter who dominated the MMA world, looking to try his hand in one of the most lucrative sports known to man.
The press conferences featured a boisterous McGregor boasting to anyone who would listen and a composed Mayweather acting as if he’d been there 49 times before.
In my eyes, anyone who placed a bet on McGregor was grasping at straws if they thought a UFC fighter used to going 25-min was going to out last a boxing legend who’s gone 60-min in countless championship fights. Mayweather’s game plan was set from the moment the fight was announced; let McGregor expend all of his energy in the first few rounds, then press the pace of the fight until McGregor runs out of stamina.
I had the first three rounds going to McGregor. He was all in all the better fighter in those rounds, especially over the course of the first two, since Mayweather threw a total of 12 punches.
But as I sat and observed the fight, I knew it was humanly impossible for any fighter to keep up a 40-punch per-round performance. At this point, it was not a question as to if McGregor would gas but a when.
Mayweather would go on to win round four, five, six, seven, nine and end the fight in the tenth. I gave the eighth round to McGregor because of his body shot that crippled Mayweather, leaving him fighting for air.
While many have labeled Mayweather as a dancer in the ring, he stayed true to his word and truly came at McGregor for the majority of the fight. Mayweather gave himself a mental edge, because the more he walked McGregor down, the more McGregor thought he was losing the fight. Even during the points of the match where McGregor was clearly ahead.
At the end of the day, this was a huge pay-out for both fighters as no matter the outcome, Mayweather was set to rake in $300 million, and McGregor nabbed another $30 million, which is ten times the amount of money he made during his fight in UFC 205 against Eddie Alvarez. Along with this, both fighters earned even more respect than they already had in the fighting community, especially McGregor.