Somewhere in the middle of a circus a fight broke out. That’s perhaps the best way to explain Saturday night’s “mega-fight” between UFC darling Conor McGregor and 49-0 “retired” champ Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. The expectations for the bout were wildly varying, maybe with each fan-base still too high on the inordinate of hype this fight produced. Either way you stood, the actual bout was a fairly impressive show from the Irishman who maybe actually didn’t receive the credit he deserved.
The bout began with McGregor going in furiously at Mayweather, landing a significant amount of powerful strikes. Mayweather played it off for the first four rounds, though frustration set when five rounds in McGregor was still landing some punishing strikes. This was probably the most hits Mayweather has taken in a fight since his bout with Marcos Maidana (which you can see here, forgive the dubstep).
Though to call this a boxing fight might be a bit of a misnomer. McGregor was allowed to get away with a lot of illegal hits which would’ve ended any other fight in a DQ, or at the very least some points reduction. Instead, the ref remained insolvent while McGregor gleefully go for a clinch then hammer fist. This wasn’t a few times either, this was almost each round. A pretty fight this was not. The crowd was pretty amazed McGregor was giving the grand champ such a hard time. Was it a sign he would take him off his feet? His confidence was swelling and he was landing a lot of good jabs, frustrating the smaller Mayweather.
Still in the end it didn’t do McGregor much good. Come the 9th round, McGregor, very visibly exhausted, began getting absolutely battered by Mayweather who now was unleashing every bit of frustration McGregor had been causing him. The end came in the 10th when Mayweather battered him against the ropes, where McGregor looked momentarily helpless.
Some may argue the fight ended too early, as the ref saw McGregor not defending himself and pressed against the ropes calling the fight a TKO. McGregor contested after the fight being confused and tired is a natural thing, he would’ve recovered. And maybe that’s true. But for a solid minute Mayweather had McGregor looking real bad. If it wasn’t the 10th, it would’ve been the 11th. Either way, Mayweather still had the gas to go hard each round to the finish. McGregor simply didn’t.
It’s unlikely there will be a re-match unless Mayweather changes his mind about retiring again. He reiterated at the conclusion of the fight that this was it for his career, no reason to chase win 51. But hey, Bernard Hopkins did it, Jay-Z did it, Eminem did it, so there’s precedence for retirement comebacks.
Either way, as it was always meant to work, McGregor still won even in defeat. First and foremost, the fight was always about the money. Fuck the pride, the notoriety, or the dumb argument about who would win, a pure boxer or mma practitioner in a boxing fight. It was always about that fat-ass purse waiting at the finish line. According to a report from ESPN, McGregor took home a cool $30 million while Mayweather took $100 million (remember, whole fight was under the Mayweather Productions banner).
This isn’t the end for McGregor in any case. While uncommitted to whether he’d continue in boxing, he did reassure he was going to return the UFC. He is, after all, still backing up the lightweight division after holding the featherweight division hostage to go up to lightweight. I’m sure the UFC will be damn glad to have McGregor headlining one a ppv again, considering they just recently lost Jon Jones after having him come back. For all intents and purposes, McGregor never got knocked down and was TKO’d on his feet. He can at least say he went toe to toe with boxing’s absolute best and came close to the distance.
We can finally lay this filthy beast to rest. Mayweather won. The world continues to spin. And today you’re a $100 shorter today.