Alas, the spectacle has finally come to a close. 3 months of press conferences, excessive hype, constant analysis, and every sort of prediction from A to Z, all came to a close in T-Mobile arena Saturday night.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. handed Conor McGregor his first TKO/KO loss at 1:54 left in the 10th round, completing his perfect 50-0 record, as Conor falls to 0-1 on his pro boxing record. Amid all the hype and dramatics of the fight build up, many people forget about the experience Floyd brought into the ring tonight, he kept his composure and gave a signature "Money" performance, putting his defensive skills on showcase along with the counter punching that's given him such an edge on his opponents.
The night began in favor of McGregor, as he came out in the first round throwing heavy early. He showed that he did belong in the ring with Floyd, as he landed punches and showed good movement and landed a solid left uppercut that jacked Floyd's head slightly. Floyd was more in a feeling out process, not throwing heavy and letting McGregor come to him. He only threw 4 punches in this first round.
The next round consisted of about the same, Conor kept up the pressure and offense, however there were several clinch breaks as Floyd started to bring out more of his defensive boxing, and as Floyd had the tendency to duck his head and body down, McGregor attacked with a couple hammer-fist style punches, and was warned as these are not legal. All in all, this appeared to be another round for Conor. Floyd only threw 3 more punches in this round, but we would see how this would play into his favor later into the bout.
In round 3, we see Floyd start to open up with his hands a bit, but Conor came with his forward pressure and defended what he could, still landing decent shots on Mayweather.
However it could be said that round 4 was the turning point of the fight, Floyd started landing more and more shots on McGregor and his defense was still holding up. It was a very close round as Conor was dishing out good shots as well, and it could be said that this round went down the middle, but this worked in Floyd's favor because this is where his ring IQ and experience started to take over.
In round 5, we saw Floyd continue to start pushing his own offense and combinations, along with his defense and use of clinch breaks and this is where you see the first signs of fatigue in McGregor.
Round 6 was where Floyd started to take over, he started landing more combinations, but Conor was by no means out of the fight, it was just apparent that the duration had started to take its toll on the UFC Lightweight champ. Floyd took advantage of this heavily as his conditioning held up and he started to step on the gas pedal.
Round 7,8 and 9
Rounds 7, 8, and 9 were the beginning of the end. Floyd began closing in and used his defense to set up counters that began to connect with Conor's head, and as the rounds went on, McGregor's movement faded and his hands began to drop. He was still battling, but you saw that Floyd was definitely in control now. At the end of the 9th round Conor had been rocked and was now on slightly wobbly legs on his way back to the corner, and he was wearing his fatigue on his face.
Going into the 10th, Floyd was ready to end it. He put pressure on Conor and eventually started throwing combinations that began connecting and just before the 2:00 mark in round 10 Mayweather landed a straight right that followed an uppercut, which connected flush with McGregor's jaw, rocking him. He was off balance and Mayweather started to pursue, throwing hooks and looking for the finish. Backing McGregor into the ropes, Floyd swung two more hooks, one a grazing shot, but then landed a third left hook that sent Conor back onto the ropes. This is where Floyd then threw two more shots, the second once again clanging into the chin of the Irishman, rocking his head, which would lead referee Robert Byrd to step in and stop the fight due to TKO.
All in all, what we received was nothing short of remarkable. We were taught a lesson in true boxing prowess and experience by Floyd, who turned back the clock and put on one of his best performances at 40 years old. With his record still standing untouched at 50-0, he can retire full well knowing that he is a boxing legend and that it will be hard for anyone in the sport to accomplish what he has. However, we got another amazing display, by Conor McGregor. Some had predicted he would not land a punch on Floyd, yet he came in and won rounds against the legend and went into the deep waters with him where he fell just short. If anything was highlighted at all, it was the difference between boxing and MMA. The difference between a man who knows every nuance of boxing and how to be successful at it, and a man who trains in several other disciplines and is used to multiple weapons who was not only now limited, but also took on one of the greatest of all time for his first pro match. Both men should hold their head high for what they put on, and although we ended up with a semi-predictable ending, it is still such a privilege to have witnessed the biggest sporting event of all time. It's no debate that Floyd could now be considered the greatest boxer of all time. It is also no debate that Conor impressed many a boxing fan during his time in the ring, but now everyone can assume that the next time we will see Mac, it will be back in his own element, his backyard. The Octagon.