On this day in 2017 Former five-weight world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated MMA superstar Conor McGregor in his debut match in the 10th round in Las Vegas.
Millions all over the world tuned in to see one of the most anticipated fights in the history of boxing. A rare crossover event between two worlds. McGregor renowned for his power, Mayweather regarded as the greatest defensive boxer of all time, to use a Gorilla Monsoon saying, it was an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. Two fighting disciplines clashing to determine who was the best.
For McGregor it was a win win situation, defeat Floyd and you just beat the best. Lose and well at-least you gave it a shot. Mayweather stood to lose alot more , an undefeated streak possibly crushed by a debutante, a chance to break Rocky Marciano’s record gone forever. This was seemingly reflected in his purse for the night, but still it seemed a gamble, or was it?
What I mean by that is did McGregor ever really stand a chance? Not only never having a professional bout, he never even an amateur bout. The talk of 8oz gloves favoring the powerful punching power of McGregor, seemed to forgot that Mayweather himself has 26 knockouts on his record.
The Association of Ringside Physicians , which is a group of more than 100 highly regarded ringside doctors, were so concerned and shocked that the fight was allowed go ahead they personally wrote to the Nevada State Commission.
Lennox Louis called it a “farce”, a sentiment shared by many withing the fighting community. Four-division world champion Canelo Alvarez seemed to agree that the whole situation was ridiculous. “In the history of boxing you’ve never seen a fighter fight one of the best fighters in boxing on his pro debut,” he continued “The fight will sell because they are two big names but it’s a joke.”
The only joke seemed to be on the people that said they were not going to watch the fight. The hype was reel, a world tour was announced which generated much controversy. Racial and homophobic barbs were traded which ultimately both fighter needed to apologize for, however this did nothing to quell the public thirst. Priced in the US at $89-$100 the bout generated 4.3 million North American buys, the second highest PPV number after Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, with the live gate generating over $55 million dollars. The hype was real.
McGregor’s fights especially as an Irish person, were a cultural phenomenon. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country staying up until ungodly hours to see Conor march to the ring while the Foggy Dew helped beat our hearts to make up for the missing battle drum. This night was no different, once again the nation held its breathe, as confident in McGregors chances as he was. “I’m going to knock him out inside four rounds, mark my words”, Mystic Mac declared and he was right before. Contests with Diego Brandao, Dustin Poirer and Jose Aldo all predicted with incredible accuracy, could he be right again?
The bout started at 11.55pm on the 26th of August with McGregor coming out blazing, possibly wanting to land big early. Many suspected he wouldn’t land at all on the once in a generation talent like Mayweather. That thought process was quickly put to rest when the Notorious one landed an uppercut perfectly on the chin of Floyd inside the first round, raising the spirits of the neutrals. Flyod looked content to take his time, being elusive and not throwing many shots.
Eventually Floyd’s composure started to turn in his favor as Conor began to run out of gas. By round six the undefeated Mayweather had started to become more aggressive after feeling out the unorthodox fighter he was up against. McGregor was all ready out of his comfort zone, now he had to brace himself against one of the greatest to ever grace the square circle, who was just hitting his stride. MMA bouts last a total twenty five minutes if a championship contest, by the start of the tenth round this contest was going for twenty seven minutes.
One minute and five seconds into the tenth round the ref put a stop to the contest by technical knock out with the fight being scored at 87-83, 89-82, 89-81 anyway ( scorecard below ). Mayweather had secured his place in the history books retiring with 50 – 0, a result looking back was never really in doubt. However the bout was not the joke that many thought it would be. It was more regarded as more entertaining then the Pacquio- Mayweather fightfight, which despite such a long 6 year build could not live up to the hype. When “The Money Fight” between Mayweather and McGregor was announced and when it happened spanned a gap of just ten weeks, which is incredible.
Love it or hate it, we got to be apart of history