Referee Robert Byrd stopped the proceedings at 1:05 of the 10th round as Mayweather continued to deliver damaging blows to the head of a wobbly McGregor at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Mayweather, 40, ran his record to 50-0 (with 27 knockouts), surpassing the iconic benchmark he shared with legendary heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano. It was the first knockout in nine fights since 2011 for Mayweather, who is regarded as perhaps the greatest defensive specialist in boxing history.
“He’s a tough competitor,” said Mayweather, who came out of retirement for this fight. “I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see. He was better than I thought.”
After a slow start measuring McGregor in the fight contested at 154 pounds, Mayweather began displaying his vastly superior boxing acumen in Round 4 and winning every subsequent round through the stoppage.
Mayweather’s most dominant round was the ninth, when he landed virtually at will as McGregor appeared dazed, desperately trying to stay upright.
“Our game plan was to take our time,” Mayweather said. “We wanted him to shoot his heavy shots at the beginning. I guaranteed everyone this fight wouldn’t go the distance.”
McGregor, meantime, had promised to knock out Mayweather within the first two rounds. Instead he was left winded immediately after the fight was stopped and indicated he was uncertain if he would take part in another boxing match. He did say he definitely would go back to MMA, where he is the reigning UFC lightweight champion and has a record of 21-3 (18 KOs).
“He’s composed,” McGregor, 29, said of Mayweather. “That’s it. He’s not fast. He’s not powerful. He’s just composed.”
Round 10: Fight is stopped midway through round with Floyd Mayweather scoring a 10th-round TKO.
Round 9: Mayweather, 10-9. Mayweather’s most dominating round. He wobbled McGregor and came forward at will while McGregor was constantly retreating.
Round 8: Mayweather, 10-9. Another solid round from Mayweather, who landed several combinations. McGregor, however, at least looked like he was getting his legs back somewhat.
Round 7: Mayweather, 10-9. Mayweather’s boxing superiority showed in the his best round of the fight. All the meaningful strikes came from the champion.
Round 6: Mayweather, 10-9. Tide continued to turn in Mayweather’s favor. The champion now has McGregor, who’s clearly fading, off-balance and rarely able to find his target.
Round 5: Mayweather, 10-9. Mayweather had issues getting off his punches but still won the round based on sheer volume. McGregor is starting to lean on Mayweather without throwing much.
Round 4: Mayweather, 10-9. Mayweather finally scores with counterpunches in by far his best round of the fight. McGregor appears to be slowing a bit.
Round 3: McGregor, 10-9. More switching stances while delivering punches gives McGregor the third round. Mayweather has yet to land cleanly and looks confused.
Round 2: McGregor, 10-9. McGregor continued to apply more pressure and was the much more active fighter. He also switched stances, which seemingly caught Mayweather off-guard.
Round 1: McGregor, 10-9. While Mayweather most was measuring his opponent, McGregor landed the cleanest shot of the round with an uppercut counterpunch.
MAIN EVENT DELAYED
The much-hyped fight was slightly delayed pay-per-view outages.
“Due to high demand, we have reports of scattered outages from various cable and satellite provides and the online offering” Showtime, the fight broadcaster, said in a statement released shortly before midnight Saturday. “We will delay the start of the main event slightly to allow for systems to get on track. We do not expect a lengthy delay.”
It is not known how many carriers or online providers are experiencing outages, EPSN reported.
Earlier Thursday, the online streaming service UFC Fight Pass acknowledged delays.
Some experts have predicted the pay-per-view match could set a record for number of buys. The current mark is a reported 4.4 million when Mayweather faced Manny Pacquiao in May 2015. Mayweather won that fight by unanimous decision, with two judges scoring it 116-112 and a third 118-110.
MAIN CARD SCHEDULE AND RESULTS
>> Gervonta Davis def. Francisco Fonseca via eighth-round knockout
Gervonta Davis beat Francisco Fonseca via a controversial eighth-round knockout when the Baltimore fighter hit his opponent in the back of the head and subsequently pushed him down to the canvas.
Referee Russell Mora counted Fonseca out at 39 seconds of Round 8, but replays indicated Davis in fact had landed an illegal rabbit punch.
In the biggest bout of his career, Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) remained undefeated following the disappointment of having been stripped of his International Boxing Federation junior lightweight championship when he failed to make weight Friday.
Davis came in at 132 pounds, two pounds over the limit, thus forfeiting the title that would have gone to Fonseca (19-1-1, 13 KOs) if he had won.
He also came in with quite a pre-fight look:
>> Badou Jack def. Nathan Cleverly via fifth-round TKO.
Badou Jack claimed a dominating victory over Nathan Cleverly to secure the World Boxing Association light heavyweight title.
Cleverly entered as the WBA 175-pound champion but was no match for Jack, who worked the body with power and precision before referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight with 13 seconds left in Round 5.
It was the first fight for Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) at 175 pounds after he had won the World Boxing Council super middleweight belt.
Jack, 33, took command in the fourth round against Cleverly (30-4, 13 KOs), throwing 99 punches, including landing four in a row to the head. One of those blows left Cleverly’s nose bloodied as the fighters went to the their corners at the bell.
In the decisive fifth round, Jack calmly backed Cleverly, 30, into the ropes and began going to work on the body again. Weeks then halted the proceedings when Cleverly appeared limp and defenseless as Jack continued to do damage to the body and head.
>> Andrew Tabiti def. Steve Cunningham via unanimous decision.
Youth prevailed in the first televised fight of the night, with rising contender Andrew Tabiti defeating former two-time cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham.
Tabiti (15-0, 12 KOs), 27, remained unbeaten in winning a 10-round unanimous decision against an opponent 14 years his senior. Two judges scored the 10-round bout 97-93, with a third scoring it 100-90.
Tabiti wasn’t particularly busy throughout the fight but landed his punches far more cleanly than Cunningham, who held the International Boxing Federation title at 200 pounds in 2007 and 2010. Cunningham (29-9-1, 13 KOs) entered the having lost two of his last four bouts.
The jab was especially effective for Tabiti. In keeping the fight inside in the later rounds, Tabiti, trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr., landed repeatedly to the body with straight left and rights. He landed a high of 20 punches in Round 8, when Cunningham, in the twilight of his career, clearly had slowed.