A seismic event but after the earth stood still for Mayweather and McGregor, nothing has changed

Sport360's Alex Rea reflects on the thrilling battle between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor in Las Vegas

Alex Rea
by Alex Rea
27th August 2017

article:27th August 2017

In the end, nothing has changed and that in itself is the best outcome for all.

Floyd Mayweather got the result boxing so richly required, MMA got the performance from Conor McGregor it so desperately needed, the fans got the entertainment they craved and everyone got paid.


Indeed, Mayweather’s 10th round stoppage of a brave, but beaten, McGregor in Las Vegas was the perfect conclusion to what seemed an imperfect match-up.

Far from the farce predicted, McGregor can hold his head high and Mayweather likewise for giving the fans what they wanted in finally hunting to take a head off.

Now, we move on with the acceptance that this megafight, an awkward marriage of two contrasting disciplines, had no negative or positive impact on either sport.

It existed and it happened, monetarily going down in the history books and culturally taking on significance as a remarkable piece of one-time entertainment – nothing more.

With the appetite satisfied, the hope now is that this is the last of the crossover clash because quite simply they don’t serve a purpose, we don’t need to see it again.

McGregor can return to his natural habitat in MMA, emboldened by his lionhearted display and bloated financially by a big boxing payday.

Whether it is this year or next, when the Dublin-native does decide to compete in MMA again his reputation is more than fortified.

He outlanded Mayweather in the first three sessions, boxed rather than brawled on his debut in the sport and will have earned a fraction of the exponential viewership to take back to MMA.

That same boxing audience will now be searching for a new pay-per-view star because Mayweather is finished – for real this time.

There was always a sense after the Andre Berto fight that he would be back, too tantalising the prospect of just sitting level with Rocky Marciano on 49-0. And his performance exemplified why the time is right to bow out.

For a 40-year-old man, Mayweather was in tremendous physical condition, strong into the deep rounds as a 29-year-old McGregor faded fast, but he looked old. This wasn’t the greatest boxer of this generation as he did, in fairness, perpetually profess in the build-up claiming, “he wasn’t the same”, but he delivered on his promise to right the wrong of his Manny Pacquiao performance.

In reality, McGregor needed a knockout before the fourth round but Mayweather did exactly what was necessary to make sure that didn’t happen.

He barely threw a punch in the first three stanzas but he didn’t blink either as he read McGregor’s unorthodox movement.

He covered up in three and four to look for counters then put the pressure on gradually until McGregor was cooked.

While the debutant delivered 111-of-430 (25.8 per cent), Mayweather contrastingly landed 170-of-320 (53.1 per cent) of his punches. Although the Irishman registered 30 more punches than Pacquiao managed in two more rounds, it must be prefaced Mayweather sacrificed his signature defensive style to make it an interesting fight.

“I wanted to go out with a bang to give the fans what they wanted to see,” Mayweather told ESPN post-fight. “I didn’t want to give the fans a boring fight.

“I kept my composure. I knew I would take some shots. We came on in the second half. We had a game plan. Our game plan worked.”

With the prestige of 50-0, he can retire rich and unrivalled while McGregor seeks a new adversary.

But like always the Irishman has option, a Russian superfight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, a lucrative trilogy conclusion with Nate Diaz or just the defence of his 155lbs title are all on the table.

“This was some buzz to come in and fight this man,” McGregor said. “There was so many things to overcome. I have many options in MMA. I am sure there will be options that will present themselves in the boxing game.

“I love competing. I love a damn good fight. I can’t tell you exactly what is next but something will be next.”

That doesn’t sound a man defeated, indeed, it’s as if nothing has changed at all.


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