Classy American boxer Floyd Mayweather stops brave MMA star Conor McGregor in 10th round
Irishman makes a fast start in his maiden professional bout, but the referee is eventually forced to step in at the T-Mobile Arena as the former welterweight champion prevails
Floyd Mayweather beat Irishman Conor McGregor by way of technical knockout in the 10th round of their much-hyped megafight in Las Vegas to keep his perfect record intact.
Mayweather, who came out of retirement at 40 for the fight, improved to 50-0 to surpass heavyweight great Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record for most wins without a loss or draw.
McGregor, a mixed martial arts champion who was making his professional boxing debut, failed to pull off what would have been the greatest upset in combat sports history but made the fight much more compelling than most experts had predicted.
“He is a tough competitor and we gave them what the fans wanted to see – I owed them for the Manny Pacquiao fight,” said Mayweather.
“He was a lot better than I thought. He was a tough competitor, but I was the better man. Our game plan was to take our time, let him shoot his heavy shots and take him out at the end.
“In the MMA, he fights 25 minutes really hard, and after 25 minutes he starts to slow down. I guaranteed everybody this would not go the distance. Boxing’s reputation was on the line.”
The Irishman came right out to the middle of the ring to meet Mayweather and landed a good uppercut in the first round and kept the American away with a pawing right jab.
Neither fighter landed much in the second round, but McGregor again edged it as Mayweather remained tentative.
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McGregor continued to use his jab and size to keep Mayweather off balance in the third round and switched from southpaw to conventional to try and fool the American, who was searching for an opening.
Mayweather continued to pursue McGregor in the fourth and the American started to combat the jab and connect for the first time in the fight by landing some solid head punches.
— UFC (@ufc) August 27, 2017
And the American started to establish his dominance in the fifth round by working out McGregor, landing a hard left in the final minute.
Mayweather stepped up the pace in the sixth round and began landing in volume, with McGregor’s punches seeming to lack power.
The American started to have his way with McGregor in the seventh, chasing after him and landing punches to the head, with the Irishman appearing to tire under the pressure.
The action slowed somewhat in the eighth round, but the tone of the fight remained the same with Mayweather remaining on top.
Mayweather landed big combinations to the head that shook McGregor in the ninth round, with the Irishman holding on to stay upright.
And Mayweather brutalised McGregor in the 10th round, landing numerous shots and chasing his opponent around the ring until referee Robert Byrd saved the Irishman and stopped the fight.
The end came with a tired McGregor doubled over on the ropes as Mayweather landed two hard left hooks, prompting Byrd to intervene and declare a technical knockout.
“I took the early rounds pretty handy, he adjusted. He’s composed – not that fast or powerful, but boy is he composed and he was making me throw,” said McGregor.
— UFC (@ufc) August 27, 2017
“Fair play to him, what a career he’s had. I thought it was a little early with the stoppage. I would have liked to have hit the floor, [the referee] should have let me keep going. I was just a little fatigued. He was a lot more composed under the shots – that’s what 50 professional fights will give you.
“I’ve been strangled on live TV and came back, so I would have liked him to have let it go. It was some buzz. I thought we were close. It was fatigue. The referee could have let it keep going, let the man put me down. No one is taking these kind of risks. I’ll take it on the chin, it’s another day for me.”
The American is also expected to be around US$200 million wealthier, taking his career earnings to around US$1 billion.
McGregor, who was an unemployed former plumber four years ago before emerging as one of the biggest stars of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is expected to earn around US$100 million.