No, but he did put up one helluva fight.
A little more than two months after it was signed and sealed, the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor boxing match was delivered last night (Sat., Aug. 26, 2017) in front of a not-so-packed house inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, courtesy of Showtime pay-per-view (PPV) and co-promoted by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
McGregor came out strong right out of the gate and captured the first few frames by being the much busier fighter. Mayweather did what Mayweather always does and simply bobbed and weaved his way out of danger, waiting for his opponent to punch himself out.
Five rounds later and it was all “Money,” who got stronger as the fight wore on while McGregor got weaker, weighed down by heavier gloves than he’s used to and competing way past the 25 minutes allotted in championship MMA fights. The final result was a tenth-round technical knockout (referee’s stoppage) in favor of Mayweather.
For complete results and play-by-play click here.
There will be a lot of talk in the weeks to come about whether or not the aptly-named “Money Fight” was a success, or simply a combat sports spectacle designed to make a gazillion dollars for all the greedy hands rooting around the pot. Mayweather will make a bare minimum of $100 million, while McGregor will rake in $30 million.
Then comes the PPV bonuses and other undisclosed earnings, so we’re talking about beaucoup bucks anyway you slice it.
Outside of the prolific payouts, there was really no reason to stage this cross-discipline contest. Mayweather won because McGregor was playing by his rules, just as “Money” would have been squashed if he tried to throw hands inside the Octagon.
James Toney vs. Randy Couture comes to mind.
That said, it did play an instrumental role in embedding McGregor even deeper into popular culture. Particularly the haughty sports culture, which often frowns on two combatants beating the shit out of one another inside a steel cage while beer-swilling dude-bros chant USA! USA! USA!
Because fuck the Statue of Liberty, this is ‘Murica!
In my neck of the woods (Tri-State Area), popular AM radio station 1010 WINS was covering the Mayweather vs. McGregor bout all day and night, the first time I’ve heard anyone from UFC mentioned since Holly Holm cemetery’d Ronda Rousey back in late 2015.
If you’re a mixed martial arts (MMA) fan, McGregor’s loss is probably the best-case scenario. Sure, we don’t get to troll our boxing buddies about a “Notorious” upset, but let’s face it, there is still a lot of work to be done back home.
The power-punching Irishman, for all his accolades, has yet to make single title defense in any division, in any promotion, at any point in his career. He likes to get in and win, the get the heck out of Dodge with his belts intact.
No doubt this was a moral victory for McGregor, who put up a much better fight than Manny Pacquiao roughly two years back. Not to suggest “Notorious” is a better boxer than “Pac Man,” but he did present a more complex, awkward style, one “Money” probably hasn’t seen throughout his storied career.
Top marks for that.
I think one of the major things we’ve been missing from both MMA and boxing is the feeling of a “big fight.” While UFC didn’t want to schedule anything on or around Mayweather vs. McGregor, MMA fans are accustomed to weekly events and there is only so much talent to go around. In the old days (which really aren’t that old), the bulk of the broadcasts were monthly PPVs … and they felt BIG.
Remember the buzz behind Liddell vs. Ortiz 2? How about St-Pierre vs. Penn 2?
“The Money Fight” felt big because it featured big stars, and big stars are in short supply these days. Especially in sports as unforgiving as MMA or boxing, where you’re only as good as your last fight.
Fans are finicky that way.
By that metric, this was the last fight for both Mayweather and McGregor, or at least the most recent fight, and judging by all those PPV outages, I’d say both fighters will go home winners, especially when the checks are cashed on Monday morning.
The fans on the other hand … well, that’s open to interpretation as the performances of each combatant (as well as the standing finish) are scrutinized across the board. No matter who you were rooting for, at least they gave us something to talk about.