Conor McGregor was “brought to school” by Floyd Mayweather and needs to “stay in his lane”, according to former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.
UFC star McGregor lasted 10 rounds with Mayweather in his maiden professional boxing match in Las Vegas, as his opponent stopped him to retire with a perfect 50-0 record.
Many had predicted McGregor would barely last a round with one of the greatest fighters of all-time, so he has earned some credit to have stayed the course for as long as he did.
However, the statistics and scorecards back up what was consistently predicted – that he would not have the durability to go toe-to-toe with a master of his craft for 12 rounds.
And, despite his immediate online reaction being to say “I like him even more now”, Lewis told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek that McGregor should know his place.
“In the beginning, I didn’t look at Conor McGregor as a boxer, this guy has never been 12 rounds and he’s in there with a professor of boxing,” the Briton said.
“Floyd took him to school, he made him punch himself out and when he was tired he took him out. It’s textbook boxing.
“It shows that boxing is a superior sport. In the ring, you can’t beat a boxer, it’s not as easy as everybody thought it would be, just because McGregor is a fighter. This is fighting where you can only use your hands.”
Despite Lewis’ criticisms, the money the fight attracted means another boxing outing for McGregor seems inevitable, possibly against Paulie Malignaggi who has denied claims he was put down by the Irishman in sparring.
Lewis, though, hopes McGregor’s ring appearance will never be repeated.
“I didn’t see the point of the whole thing,” he added.
“A lot of people found it exciting, could Conor McGregor beat Floyd? It wasn’t the case. It was a case of a textbook style brought to school, Conor McGregor got brought to school. He got schooled.”
Asked if he had a message for McGregor, Lewis said: “Stay in your lane. Boxing is superior.”
Carl Froch admitted he was on the edge of his seat but also believes Mayweather “outclassed” McGregor.
Four-time world super-middleweight champion Froch praised the UFC star’s resilience but the 40-year-old was not surprised by the result.
Conor McGregor stepped into a boxing ring for the first time as a professional fighter against Floyd Mayweather, but it may not be the last.
The Irishman said that “anyone who wants a knock, give me a shout” in the wake of his 10th-round loss.
He may chose to return to UFC but, should he stay in the ring rather than go back to the octagon, who could he take on?
Here, we look at five possible opponents:
The retired American sparred with McGregor but things quickly turned sour as he left the camp amid denied claims he had been knocked down. Malignaggi retired this year after time caught up with him, but could he face McGregor on St Patrick’s Day in New York, as has been mooted?
Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi just had a confrontation in person pic.twitter.com/rdFWBA8D9U
— UFC Insiders (@UFCInsiders) August 22, 2017
Surely not? Mayweather said he was retired “for sure” after beating McGregor but, Mayweather also loves money. This fight has reportedly earned him $100million – would he be able to resist 200 million? His perfect 50-0 record should keep him out of the gym.
Ahead of the fight, Khan said “boxing will be over” if McGregor won. He also said, in the event of a McGregor victory, “I’d even go to Ireland and fight him there”. McGregor lost, but will Khan still fancy it?
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) August 25, 2017
Brook, like Khan, has wanted the biggest names in the welterweight division. Like Khan, he never faced Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. He stepped up to face Gennady Golovkin at middleweight and lost, bravely, before doing so to Errol Spence back at welter. He is at a career crossroads, but would he fancy McGregor?
One of the four Smith brothers, all professionals, Liam Smith was the WBO light-middleweight champion in 2015 and 2016. He will have a rematch with fellow Brit Liam Williams in Newcastle in October, having beaten him earlier in the year when Williams – ahead of the cards – suffered an eye injury. If he loses the rematch, could he look at Conor?
Provided by Press Association Sport
Floyd Mayweather accepted that Conor McGregor was better than he thought as he was made to work hard for his 10th-round stoppage in their light-middleweight fight in Las Vegas.
McGregor was making his professional boxing debut having moved over from UFC and fared better than most people thought, winning the first few rounds.
But Mayweather’s class and experience began to tell and, with McGregor barely able to stand in the 10th round, the referee stopped the fight.
Mayweather said in his post-fight interview in the ring: “He is a tough competitor and I thought we gave the fans what they wanted to see.
“He is a lot better than I thought he was, he used different angles and was a tough competitor but I was the better man tonight.
“Our game-plan was to take our time, let him shoot all his heavy shots early on and then take him down at the end, down the stretch.
“We know in the MMA he fights 25 minutes real hard and after that he starts to slow down.
“I guaranteed this fight wouldn’t go the distance. A win is a win.”
Mayweather’s victory takes his record to an unprecedented 50-0 and the 40-year-old insists this was his last outing in the ring: “This was my last fight tonight, my last fight, for sure. I chose the right dance partner to dance with.”
McGregor will walk away with his reputation intact after putting up an accomplished showing in his first professional bout.
The 29-year-old believes the referee Robert Byrd called time on the fight too early.
“I took the early rounds fairly handy,” he said. “I thought it was close, I thought the stoppage was a bit early, there was a lot on the line and I thought he should have let me carry on.
Conor McGregor (111-430, 26%) in 10 rounds landed more punches & at a better percentage than Manny Pacquiao (81-429, 19%) did in 12 #MayMac
— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) August 27, 2017
“I was just a little fatigued. He is composed and you have got to give it to him.
“I thought it was close. I get a little wobbly when I’m tired, it is fatigue, the referee could have let it keep going, let the man put me down. I am clear headed.
“Where were the final two rounds? Let me wobble to the corner and make him put me down.
“I’ve been strangled on live TV and came back. When you’re in here in the squared circle, everything is different.”
On the potential to get back in the square ring, the Irishman added: “We’ll see what happens. I am having a buzz, if anyone wants a knock give me a call.”
Provided by Press Association Sport