Some myths were busted, while some others were lent further credence.
Many believed that Conor McGregor — a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) outsider, with zero experience in professional boxing — stood no chance of landing even a single punch. Here he was, a fish out of water, taking on the boxing ‘guru’, Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather. This was dismissed as a circus freak show, a greed-driven money-making exercise. This isn’t a real bout, alarmed purists cried.
McGregor proved the doubters wrong, showing incredible skill to keep Mayweather guessing, at least for the first few rounds in Las Vegas on Saturday. The Irishman threw orthodox jabs and crosses to hold his own. This was no one-sided affair. It was clear that McGregor had taken this fight with the seriousness that it deserved.
As for Mayweather, who entered this bout with an incredible 49-0 record, his legacy only elevated. This win, which came in his final appearance in the ring, showed why he is described as ‘TBE’ — The Best Ever. Patience, precision, immaculate defence, composure, street smarts — all these qualities were evident in Mayweather’s victory over a man 11 years his junior. The brash superstar put on a boxing master-class, as he has done over the course of his 21-year career.
The fate of the fight boiled down to one crucial aspect — in-ring stamina. McGregor, accustomed to five-minute rounds in the MMA world, lost his mojo as the fight wore on. Twelve three-minute rounds, used in this squared circle, proved to be beyond his scope.
As expected, McGregor showed purpose and energy in the first round. He landed a perfect upper-cut, which jolted Mayweather out of his shoes. But by the time the sixth round arrived, McGregor was a spent force. In the seventh, his hands were down by his side, leaving him completely exposed.
In the pre-fight build up, Mayweather repeatedly proclaimed that he intended to take McGregor into deep water and leave him there to drown. He got his wish. Mayweather, who was content to bide his time until this point, moved in for the kill.
A sharp straight right snapped McGregor’s head back, and more unanswered blows followed. The end came in the tenth round, when Mayweather threw a couple of vicious straights, which sent a thoroughly exhausted McGregor reeling.
A final barrage, with McGregor backed up against the ropes, prompted referee Robert Byrd to wave it off. Perhaps Byrd could have let the bout continue, at least until the end of the round. Much like a Samurai warrior, a professional fighter wishes to die by the sword. A clean knock-down would have given McGregor an honourable loss.
McGregor, though, did not have much else to complain about, for Byrd had been quite lenient when it came to the several illegal punches thrown to the back of Mayweather’s head.
With this technical knockout, Mayweather stands alone on top of the highest peak. This American pugilist overtook the 49-0 record held by the great heavyweight, Rocky Marciano.
To top if off, Mayweather earned a reported $200 million pay cheque for this grand spectacle. What a way to ride off into the sunset.
Source: The Hindu