Floyd Mayweather Jr., the face of boxing for more than a decade, punctuated a stellar yet controversial career with a technical knockout over U.F.C. champ and first-time boxer Conor McGregor on Saturday night.
In the 10th round of a surprisingly well-matched fight, Mayweather backed McGregor onto the ropes with a series of rights and lefts. McGregor’s face was completely bloodied. He was about to fall through the ropes, and the referee stepped in to stop the fight with 1:55 remaining in the round.
“I gave the fans what they wanted to see,” Mayweather said after the fight. “I told them that I owed them for the Pacquiao fight. I must come straight ahead and give them a show.”
The victory improved Mayweather’s record to 50-0, and allowed the typically defensive fighter to say farewell in thrilling fashion in what he said was his last fight. It also proved right the naysayers who said that this fight was nothing more than a glorified, money-making exhibition.
Mayweather said the fight was not going to go the distance, and he delivered on that promise. Things went just the way that most pundits said they would. McGregor would have no way of connecting cleanly with Mayweather. He landed a few touch punches but nothing solid the entire fight. And given that U.F.C. fights are much shorter than boxing matches, McGregor’s stamina was in question. And he certainly seemed to tire in the late rounds as Mayweather made easy work of him.
Although McGregor is one of the biggest stars in mixed martial arts, he had not boxed since he was a teenager, and had no professional boxing matches under his belt.
The fight was fashioned on the strength of two bombastic personalities with huge fan bases, making for a ripe promotional draw. It was expected to pull more than half a billion dollars in revenue. The pull of the money was so strong that Mayweather ended his two-year retirement to step into the ring with McGregor. To many, the fight was more exhibition than authentic.