Aug. 26 marked the date of one of the most highly anticipated boxing matches in recent memory.
The battle was fought between the undefeated, 11 time five-division boxing champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. and current UFC lightweight champion “The Notorious” Conor McGregor. The fight took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nev., and was scheduled for 12 three-minute rounds with 8-ounce gloves.
This fight was dubbed as “the Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History,” and rightfully so. These fighters’ qualifications speak for themselves. The expectations? Some may argue that there were none. That is what made the fight so captivating.
There are no experts on this type of event. Sure, boxing and UFC analysts alike can speculate as to the results of the fight, but at the end of the day, no one knew how McGregor’s octagon skills would translate to the ring or how Mayweather would handle himself when faced with these skills.
The fireworks started months in advance, as the two fighters took the stage at three media events leading up to the fight. Neither fighter lacked confidence, which led to some very loud comments when face-to-face in front of a microphone.
At the end of the day, the belt didn’t go to the best trash talker; it went to the best boxer.
McGregor came out of the gate firing, landing 51 punches to Mayweather’s 40 in the first five rounds. This, however, was the turning point for Mayweather. McGregor spent the remaining rounds on defense looking visibly tired.
McGregor commented on Mayweather’s composure as being his biggest asset, saying, “He’s not that fast, he’s not that powerful, but boy is he composed in there.”
By the 10th round, Mayweather had worn down McGregor to the point where referee Robert Byrd ended the bout, awarding the win to Mayweather by TKO.
This fight went much differently than many expected. Boxing great Oscar De La Hoya told TMZ Sports that he didn’t believe McGregor would be able to land even one punch on Mayweather during the fight. In this sense, he exceeded expectations.
“I’m so proud of Conor,” Dana White, president of the UFC, said. “It was a completely different fight than I thought it’d be. Ten rounds with the best to do it.”
Mayweather further solidified his spot among boxing legends, moving his record to a perfect 50-0 and surpassing Rocky Marciano’s undefeated 49-0 record. As for his future, Mayweather said that he won’t continue fighting in the ring. He officially retired from the sport of boxing following that night’s match.
McGregor, on the other hand, is just getting started. He said that he fully plans to return to the octagon and would be open to more boxing matches.
Results aside, this fight proved worth it for both fighters. Mayweather’s guaranteed disclosed paycheck amounted to $100,000,000, while McGregor’s was $30,000,000.
While insults and slights seemed to dominate the atmosphere before the fight, the overall feeling after seemed to be that of mutual respect. McGregor, in defeat, embraced Mayweather after the fight.
Boxing takes a certain type of edge, something that both of these men have. They have a chip on their shoulder that allows them to be in the ring with each other.
At the end of the day, both boxers are cut from the same cloth and seem to understand that what makes them enemies in the ring also makes them companions outside of it.