Mayweather-McGregor was stupid (but really fun)

Floyd Mayweather is the greatest boxer of his generation, and unquestionably one of the best ever. 49 times in his career he has meticulously picked and prodded his way to victory, but when sports fans look back on boxing’s Mayweather Era, it may well be his 50th fight they remember.



It always annoys me when people complain about Mayweather’s lack of entertaining fights. They parachute in for a fight or two every few years and complain if they don’t see another reiteration of “Rocky.” Maybe the same people didn’t like watching the 1985 Bears play defense.

For as thoroughly detestable a person Mayweather is outside the ring, his brilliance inside it can’t be questioned. Mayweather’s fight with De La Hoya is what hooked me on boxing, and I remember lying awake after the Pacquiao bout just as astonished. Pacquiao was trying to fight a man playing chess, getting tied-up at every turn. Mayweather may not have the one-punch power of Mike Tyson, but he dismantles his opponents all the same.

Well, except Conor McGregor.

There was a cynical mood surrounding the fight. But in the end, the spectacle was so absurd that it was actually kind of fun.

In many ways, Referee Robert Byrd set the tone for the event before the two fighters touched gloves. He spent a solid minute going over the rules, defining what a fair punch was, and warning the fighters against UFC-style maneuvers, staring at McGregor the entire time.

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To McGregor’s credit, he started the fight doing exactly what he needed to. He rushed Mayweather and threw flurries of punches, bullying him into the ropes. He switched frequently between southpaw (left-side leading) and conventional stances. He would also occasionally split his hands vertically, so one was high while the other stayed low, dividing Mayweather’s attention about where the next punch could come from.

Mayweather, who usually spends the first rounds of his fights sussing-out his opponents, looked slightly befuddled. How do you plan against a man who was fighting, in McGregor’s own words, like “an Irish gorilla”?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports.

On paper, McGregor topped Mayweather in the early rounds – just as Pacquiao did before him – but victory was never truly on the cards.

As McGregor tired the ref became more busy. A few of McGregor’s punches looked low, and Mayweather took issue with them. Mayweather also occasionally turns away from opponents when he senses danger as a means of using the rules to protect himself (the sixth round of his 2007 fight against Ricky Hatton was a notable example). When he pulled that move against McGregor, the Irishman’s instinct was to punch. He did a few times, and the referee again warned him for it.

It wasn’t malicious, simply ignorance. Like a rugby player thrown into a football game, not fully practiced on the rules.


By the end, Mayweather threw caution to the wind and did something he has only done a handful of times in his 21-year career: He went on offense. It’s a shame he didn’t do it more, too, because it was thrilling. He landed punch after punch on McGregor, who was utterly exhausted by this point, before a TKO in the 10th.

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After the fight, McGregor said the referee should’ve let him get knocked down (an option he could’ve exercised himself at any point), so he could recover and continue. In reality, this was a good stoppage. McGregor could barely keep his hands up and wasn’t defending himself by the end. This fight was over, and Mayweather confirmed the result we all knew was coming.

Just not in the way we were expecting it.