Yeah, it was the second biggest-grossing fight of all-time. It also made a ton of money for everyone involved. And, yeah, it generated tons of heated publicity and attention.
But when Floyd Mayweather stopped UFC star Conor McGregor in the tenth round of their 2017 blockbuster, Mayweather let down all of boxing.
Boxing vs. MMA
This super-fight was billed as a boxing vs. MMA clash where the winner would walk away with a truckload of bragging rights in the neve- ending virtual battle of combat sports. Mayweather should’ve trounced McGregor, who was competing in his first ever professional boxing contest. He should’ve beaten him in the same way UFC legend beat retired boxing legend James Toney in their 2010 clash in the UFC octagon– via first round one-sided slaughter.
Mayweather, however, would carry McGregor for several rounds before subtly upping the pressure to take the brash Irishman out.
Mayweather didn’t take it seriously
The pound-for-pound great had reportedly not taken this bout all that seriously and wasn’t in the greatest of shape. He had also been retired for two full years before stepping into the ring with “The Notorious One.”
But, still, the fight shouldn’t have gone ten rounds. And McGergor certainly shouldn’t have been allowed to do as well as he did in the first few rounds.
McGregor was shaking
By the account of Mayweather assistant trainer and good friend, Nate Jones, the UFC cash cow was rightfully petrified at what might happen to him at the hands of a future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
“When McGregor wrapped his hands, we sent a representative which was me. I’ve never seen someone so nervous in my life. That’s the part of the fight that shocked me the most because going into the fight, McGregor was talking a lot of smack,” Jones recently said on the Rocky Road: Rewind podcast.
“In the locker room getting ready to fight, he was very shook,” Jones continued. “He went to the washroom six times. Six times. I was like, ‘what is wrong with this dude?’ He was very shook for that fight. Going into the fight, I was worried about him not being a boxer, I was worried about the unknown. And he brung to the table his size. I was worried about that but we handled him well, we chopped him down and stopped him.”
Team McGregor with the treachery?
Jones also revealed that McGregor’s camp had offered him $1.5 million to jump ship and help train McGregor. Everyone on Team McGregor was concerned about the challenge of facing Mayweather. They wanted to get the upper hand in any way possible.
Fortunately for them (and unfortunately for boxing), Mayweather was content with going through the motions. He scored a stoppage in the easiest, most painless way possible. He could’ve scored a moral victory for the sport by teaching the “invader,” McGrgeor, a lesson about how rough and tough the boxing world is. It would’ve been a much needed teaching moment for many in the MMA world who frequently denigrate the toughness and roughness of boxing.
Instead, Mayweather carried the man. He allowed McGrgeor and his MMA people to brag about how they were able to stay competitive with the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world for most of the fight.