The Bucking Broncho: Mayweather Wasn’t the Only Winner of the Night
Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, speaks with Conor McGregor after a super welterweight boxing match Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
The biggest fight of the Century (so far at least) finally happened over the weekend and although one man walked away with the victory, everybody involved left taking some kind of a win with them.
After the 10th round TKO by Floyd Mayweather the Boxing and MMA worlds saw what they were expecting, one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers to triumph over a first timer. Yet, what many did not see was just how well Conor McGregor was able to perform.
Only a fraction of the world’s population, outside of Ireland, gave McGregor a real chance. The thought of an MMA fighter stepping into a boxing ring for the first time against someone with the talent of Mayweather sounds like a joke, on paper.
But this fight didn’t happen on paper, it happened in the ring, and anytime two men square off anything could happen.
Let us give Mayweather his due credit for his performance in the fight. For the first time since anyone younger than 20 could remember, he didn’t spend the entire time running. He had a gameplan and stuck to it, eventually giving him the victory.
Again, was anyone really surprised about the outcome? Most experts didn’t even have McGregor getting through sixth round.
The surprise came from the ability McGregor showcased in the fight, specifically in the first four to five rounds. The footwork, head movement, and timing were not that of a beginner. Landing more punches than anyone thought, including Las Vegas.
The over/under for McGregor’s landed punches was set at 29.5, meaning one could bet he would finish with less or more than 29.5 punches landed. The Sportsbook in Las Vegas determines the number; usually they are correct or at least close. Well he connected 111 times, with two rounds remaining no less! A slight improvement than the 29.5 that was expected; that’s more than Manny Pacquiao’s mere 80 from his fight, one that made it through all 12 rounds.
What set this fight apart from many of the others in Mayweather’s career was how he was able to get the victory. Knowing if he maintained his distance McGregor had a better chance at catching him. So instead he became the aggressor and kept the fight in close, something he said he would do, but who actually believed it at the time? As McGregor began to wear down is when we saw what made Mayweather so successful. Giving flurries of punches to McGregor before being stopped in the 10th.
Whether the referee should have called the fight at that moment or waited for the round to end is a discussion on its own. I don’t think it would have made much of a difference at that point in the fight, both fighters showed the world what they wanted us to see. McGregor stepped up and did what no one else has been willing to attempt, and earned a lot of respect in the process. He fought one of the greatest boxers in a boxing match and hung around. Mayweather on the other hand accomplished the feat of going 50-0 in his career. Passing Rocky Marciano for the best record all time.
In the end, everyone involved with the fight in some form or fashion won that night. Yes, McGregor lost in the ring, but he didn’t lose. He earned a lot of people’s respect, including Mayweather’s; plus with both fighters earning over $100 million, I think they’re doing just fine. Most importantly us the fans won. We got to see a fantastic fight between two of the best and actually competing with each other. After all the hype and expectations, the fight actually lived up to everything that was said, which is a rarity nowadays. It’s too soon to speculate on the futures of the fighters and their respective sports, but one thing is certain, the world of combat sports should be on its knees thanking both Mayweather and McGregor.