Expected to be one of the most lopsided mismatches in history, Saturday’s megafight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor turned out to be more competitive than most people (except maybe for McGregor) thought possible. McGregor, who came in with zero professional boxing experience, managed to make it 10 rounds with Mayweather, who won via technical knockout at 1:05 of Round 10.
Mayweather, who entered T-Mobile Arena in a ski mask to seemingly playing up his role as the villain in this matchup, said after the bout that he tried to make it entertaining for fans.
“I told them that I owe them for the Pacquiao fight,” he said after his victory, referring to the widely recognized snoozefest that was his much-anticipated 2015 fight against Manny Pacquiao. Mike Tyson even tweeted at the time he was “underwhelmed.”
Tyson, who was among dozens of celebrities at the Las Vegas arena on Saturday, has yet to comment about Mayweather’s latest performance, but the majority of those on social media Saturday night appeared to agree it was a nice, if unexpected, change of pace for the defensive specialist. Even McGregor paid Mayweather a compliment afterward, although it did little to quell accusations that the Irishman has racist tendencies.
“I turned him into a Mexican tonight,” McGregor said, referring to the stereotype that boxers of Mexican descent fight with a more aggressive, entertaining style than defensive specialists such as Mayweather. “He fought like a Mexican!”
Mayweather, who had just ended his in-ring interview by lauding McGregor’s Irish heritage, appeared perplexed by the remark, which also left the Internet feeling a bit uncomfortable.
McGregor deserves accolades for making the fight interesting, as well. His early ferociousness did not go unnoticed by fans and fight analysts alike.
McGregor’s early shots played well with spectators, but also with Mayweather, who said after the fight that was all part of his game plan.
“We wanted him to shoot his heavy shots at the beginning,” Mayweather said of McGregor, who was scored the winner of each of the first three rounds by one of the fight judges. “He was a lot better than I thought he was.”
McGregor, meanwhile, tried to keep up the momentum until the final rounds, but it became clear he began to feel fatigued. Not used to the length of boxing matches, the UFC champion fizzled out as Mayweather got going, eventually wobbling into the ropes where the referee stopped the fight.
“I thought it was a little early of a stoppage,” McGregor said. “He should’ve let me keep going.”
In the end, however, McGregor, too, appeared to be pleased with the entertainment quality of the fight.
“Hopefully I entertained the fans,” he said. “I’m having a ball.”
As for whether fans can expected a rematch, however? McGregor said he was unsure whether he’d continue in boxing, while Mayweather said definitely not.
“This was my last fight tonight, ladies and gentleman,” the 40-year-old boxer said, adding, “Tonight I chose the right dance partner to dance with.”