As many expected Floyd Mayweather was the victor in the much anticipated “Money Fight”, winning by TKO in the 10th round. The fight produced some fascinating questions and opinions.
The majority opinion afterward was that Mayweather gave McGregor the early rounds, whilst I do think Mayweather was feeling McGregor out I’m not so sure that the intention was to allow McGregor to win them.
Naturally, Floyd Mayweather is risk-averse and that was evident in those early rounds where McGregor landed some clean punches. McGregor coming from an MMA background was bringing in something Floyd hadn’t seen before so Floyd was extra cautious in the first half of the fight.
The other thing to consider is to get a stoppage victory Mayweather knew he had to make McGregor work hard in order for the stoppage to come. Mayweather did something he hasn’t done in years which is come forward and take the fight to his opponent which has never been his strength, this is why McGregor had more success than previous boxers who came in with more complete skill sets.
If Mayweather wanted could he have won every round? most likely yes he could of, however, the knockout would have been far more difficult to achieve. None of that can be used to discredit McGregor because he had to deal with the situation in front of him, irrespective of Mayweather’s tactics McGregor still had to work in order get himself in positions to land without leaving himself too open defensively.
McGregor’s work early surprised me, the pawing right arm neutralized Mayweather’s jab and his distance was making Mayweather miss, it’s not very often we see Mayweather miss punches he is statistically one of the most accurate boxers ever. The straight left landed cleanly to the head and body for McGregor although with 8oz gloves it didn’t seem to have nearly the same impact as we have seen him display in MMA.
As the fight went on the combination of fatigue & Mayweather’s pressure took its toll on McGregor, the gap in skill and experience became more obvious and by the 8th it was a question of whether McGregor would see the final bell or not rather than who the victor would be.
The win means Mayweather’s record moves to 50-0 surpassing Rocky Marciano who retired on 49-0. Did this fight do anything for Mayweather’s Legacy? not for me, apart from the significance of the numbers on his record, it was merely an exhibition to say farewell on the big stage.
After the supposed swansong against Andre Berto, I think Mayweather felt as if his retirement fight was underwhelming which is why the McGregor fight was so appealing to him.
There will be many fights for which Mayweather will be remembered, Diego Corrales, Arturo Gatti, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, & Manny Pacquiao are the performances that come to mind when I think about the highlights of Floyd Mayweather’s career. Mayweather vs McGregor was just the icing on the cake.
What did McGregor gain from all of this? exposure to a larger audience for one, on top of the fact that his biggest competitor in the combat sports market is now out of the picture.
It’s often the case that an aging legend takes on a younger prospect with the idea that should the young prospect win, he now holds the star power.
Oscar De La Hoya vs Mayweather is a perfect example of this, before that fight, Mayweather’s PPV numbers were relatively low but after beating De La Hoya he became a celebrity sportsmen.
Mayweather’s PPV numbers skyrocketed, he was everywhere. WWE appearances, Dancing With The Stars, talk shows, he had surpassed De La Hoya by becoming a crossover star. Known not just within the boxing community but becoming a part of pop culture.
Although McGregor did not win, we have to remember the task he was facing was almost impossible, taking on an all-time great in his first professional boxing contest.
The thing is McGregor didn’t need to win necessarily to gain something from this fight, just getting in there was risky. Had McGregor been humiliated, it could have been damaging to his career considering he is already an established star in his own sport.
Fellow MMA fighters, for the most part, felt proud of McGregor’s efforts & plenty of Boxer’s have heaped praise on the few things McGregor’s was able to do well during the contest. McGregor left the fight with his head held high and his reputation intact.
Reports indicate the estimated PPV buys for the fight are just over 4 million, falling short of the record set by Mayweather vs Pacquiao which was 4.6 million buys. All things considered, that’s still extremely impressive taking into account Mayweather vs Pacquiao was a contest between two all-time greats that was 7 years in the making.
With Mayweather retired the global fighting market now belongs to McGregor, I can’t think of another fighter who’s had as much commercial success as McGregor before reaching the age of 30. Following the Mayweather fight, an even larger audience will be tuning in to his MMA contests which I’m sure was the idea when this fight was originally made.
Regardless of their separate disciplines, this exhibition was essentially a passing of the torch between the star of the past and the star of the future.