It was not such easy work, as most of us predicted, assuming that the guy who made the silly spastic motions in training would not be able to muster anything resembling a credible attack on a defensive savant. All due credit must be given to the man who came into the boxing ring for the first time as a pro, and took on the best man in the business, and made him work very hard to get the W in his farewell fight.
Floyd Mayweather looked across the ring at the T-Mobile arena at a cocky cat who many scoffed at, someone who had the temerity to declare with his 0-0 record he’d drop and stop one of the best defenders to ever put on gloves. Conor McGregor talked a great game in the leadup and he fought a good game, though it was not enough as the boxing craftsman allowed him to fire heavy launches, get a bit tired, and then picked him apart.
In round ten, the end came for the UFC standout, who two years ago was dismissed as a loon for even pondering he could fight Mayweather, 40, and hang with him. For three rounds and then some, the 29 year old McGregor, who must certainly be Ireland's favorite son now, did indeed hang with the Michigan native; but come round six, Floyd started to get more aggressive, looked to be the lead dog on offense, and that was the beginning of the end for the Dubliner.
Basting McGregor with hard, clean and crisp shots, Floyd gave the masses—14,623 in the arena, and maybe around 5 million PPVs were activated and excessive traffic snarled order servers in a few states—what he promised: a climactic finish.
Ref Robert Byrd, who earned his check, dealing with McGregor’s hybrid style, which saw him McFeint and McFlurry, and throw the occasional illegal hammer fist, and the grapple Mayweather (50-0 now, and, he declares, forever), and get his back, stepped in to halt the increasingly uneven tango.
McGregor, let's be perfectly clear, was a ruffian in that squared circle, thumbing his nose and giving eff bomb salutes to the rules of the marquis; he threw rabbit punches galore, but Mayweather was into his game plan and would not be deterred.
Floyd wanted to get McGregor, who could earn $100 million to Floyd maybe $350 million for this night’s work, into proverbial deep waters. He wanted to let the man drain his energy, and then, in a safer atmosphere, get to work on landing head shots that befuddled an athlete extraordinaire who deserves more than ample credit for winning more minutes of more rounds than many top tier boxers have against Floyd.
My take: This was about the best case scenario one could ask for. McGregor had his moments, making his delerious rooters, who can’t wait for his McGregor Irish Whiskey to be mass marketed, pumped.
He did better than we nayasyers said he could, and that meant we didn’t get a Floyd runaway win, which would have resulted in mass grumbling. And then Floyd kept his promise to give fans bummed by the abortive spar match with Manny Pacquiao in 2015 their pound of flesh. That stoppage, that climax, that bangup finale was welcomed by all who didn’t come to Vegas on the Conor train.
Mayweather swears this time it's for real, he's promised his family and Al Haymon he will retire and this was a going away bash befitting the man. He thought outside the safe deposit box in the last third of his career, and will be rewarded with a pile of loot for his vision and ring acumen.
McGregor now takes over the leader in the combat sports arena. He is brash as all hell, but has a aw shucks streak, and a groundedness which seems authentic and makes him hard to hate.
All told, this was the best case scenario for most of us all. Showtime and UFC and their brain trusts deserve heavy credit for rolling the dice here, because this one could have gone off the rails and left egg on face all around time. Instead, fight fans received what they are promised: an interesting event. It was that.