The biggest boxing match in years is finally behind us. Fifteen-time World Champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather defeated “The Notorious” Conor McGregor, the current reigning UFC lightweight champion. Mayweather won by TKO in the 10th round of the “Money Fight,” a match that has been hyped and built up to for months.
Mayweather, who declared this his last match ever, will officially retire with an unprecedented 50-0 career record in the ring, including the win over McGregor, breaking Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record for most wins in boxing history. Mayweather’s last fight was in 2015, against boxing great Manny Pacquiao. While Mayweather ultimately won, he looked as if he lost a step against Pacquiao. He had not impressed in many of his fights until that victory. Nevertheless, Mayweather defeated everyone in his path, and proved that he is still one of the biggest pay-per-view draws of all time. The same held true when he boxed against McGregor, one of the most feared fighters in combat sports today.
McGregor is one of sports’ ultimate success stories. He went from cashing welfare checks to survive before his time in UFC to becoming a two-division UFC champion and UFC’s biggest draw. McGregor has earned the right to his confidence—or arrogance, as some would argue. McGregor has become one of professional sports’ most outspoken personalities, and his frankness is what led to this fight against Mayweather.
McGregor is not afraid to make enemies, and that is what he did when he verbally attacked Mayweather, challenging him to a match in the squared circle. This would prove to be very difficult to negotiate, as Mayweather had already retired and McGregor was not a commissioned boxer. However, Mayweather agreed to come out of retirement for the fight and McGregor received certification to box. The only obstacles remaining were the pay-per-view rights and the sanctioning of the fight by the boxing committee. UFC and Showtime, Mayweather’s main network, agreed to a deal for the pay-per-view rights to the match, and the boxing commission eventually sanctioned the match.
A press tour to capitalize on the media coverage fight began weeks before the fight. McGregor wore a suit with profanity-laden pinstripes directed at Mayweather, mocked Mayweather’s alleged illiteracy and made the claim that Mayweather was too old. Mayweather stayed quiet during most of the tour, but it was clear he was not going to put it behind him. On Aug. 26, McGregor would realize that he picked the wrong opponent to make his boxing debut against.
On the day of the fight, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas still had not sold out all of its tickets, which came as a surprise to most boxing pundits and fans. The highly anticipated bout carried a pay-per-view price tag of $99. This was a turnoff to many fans, who instead decided to illegally stream the fight. The arena was empty for most of the night, worrying many people that the match may not be as exciting or relevant as expected.
However, when it was time for the main event, the arena became packed with fans from all walks of the Earth turning out for the fight. The crowd leaned in McGregor’s favor, with Irish flags flying around the arena and Irish chants breaking out during the match itself. The energy level was extremely high in the arena come the main event. After the fighters were introduced, it became abundantly clear that this would be a fight to remember.
McGregor took the fight straight to Mayweather as soon as the opening bell rang. McGregor’s effective offense in the first rounds was seen as a surprise to many, as most believed that the future Hall of Famer Mayweather would dominate his rookie challenger. This would not be the case, though, as McGregor flashed his confidence out of the gates once again, taking the first five rounds from Mayweather, according to many boxing pundits.
McGregor’s quick start may have been his eventual downfall, however, as he had shown in UFC that he lacked the necessary stamina to go deep into a fight. It became abundantly clear that Mayweather was in much better condition to go deep into the fight, and proved it in the late round. Mayweather capitalized on the exhaustion of his opponent by finally going on the offensive and landing a few huge shots in the 10th round that led to referee Robert Byrd’s decision to stop the fight.
Mayweather claimed a TKO victory over McGregor, maintaining his undefeated record, and cementing his legacy as one of the best ever. McGregor also proved he could hold his own in the ring, proving himself to be a more formidable challenge than expected. The bout was exciting and certainly lived up to the hype.