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.”
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Floyd Mayweather outclassed Conor McGregor with a 10th-round stoppage here Saturday to win their money-spinning superfight and clinch his 50th straight victory.
Former welterweight boxing champion Mayweather, who had emerged from a two-year retirement to take on the Irish mixed martial arts star, took his time to get going before dominating from the fourth round.
Everyone has had their say on the fight, particularly the MMA community so here’s a selection of what they had to say.
— Jose Aldo Junior (@josealdojunior) August 27, 2017
— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) August 27, 2017
Who said mma fighters can’t box? Hats off to both warriors for the entertaining fight!! 💯✌🏽
— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) August 27, 2017
Trained our hardest and gave it our best shot. Came up short this time but we’ll be back. Win or Learn 🥊
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) August 27, 2017
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 27, 2017
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 27, 2017
In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.
— Gokhan Saki (@gokhantherebel) August 27, 2017
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) August 27, 2017
Floyd Mayweather won for the 50th time in his decorated career when the fantasy fight with Conor McGregor proved a mismatch and he stopped the Irishman in 10 rounds in Las Vegas.
The American has long vowed this would be his final fight, but even at the age of 40 and after almost two years of inactivity he showed few signs of decline in outclassing McGregor, who at the T-Mobile Arena was making his professional debut.
As had always appeared almost certain to be the case when interest in a match-up between the highest-profile figures from boxing and the UFC began building over a year ago, McGregor simply proved levels below perhaps the finest fighter of the modern era.
He remained game and began with confidence, but as with Mayweather’s opponents in his other 49 fights, swiftly learnt his skills were hugely inadequate as he became the first fighter to be stopped by him since Victor Ortiz in 2011.