Floyd Defeats McGregor on The Stamina Element: A What Happened and Why
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
Las Vegas, NV (August 27th, 2017)– In Mixed Martial Arts, five MMA rounds of five minutes’ duration in top flight professional matches equals 25 minutes. In professional boxing, 12 championship rounds of three minutes each equals 36 minutes.
Mayweather versus McGregor was billed at the biggest event in Combat Sports history. Perhaps so for pay-per-view events. In any case, T-Mobile Arena, at 14,623 paid admission in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday night, August 26, 2017, was not a sellout. Floyd’s light has continued to shine brightly, but has begun to fade slightly as tickets were still available. Floyd had succeeded in hyping this particular bout in a Showtime show of all shows and reached 50-0 with 27 knockouts, to surpass the Rocky Marciano 49-0 longstanding record. However, Floyd’s accolades occurred in the 147 pound welterweight division, and divisions lower. Rocky’s accolades occurred in the heavyweight division, when he never weighed heavier than a cruiserweight by modern standards. Both athletes remain remarkable for their accomplishments, but there really is no grounds for comparison between the two.
For Conor McGregor, a 29 year old Irish southpaw facing the 40 year old version of Floyd,his professional boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr. amounted to this. Either Floyd was old and ring rusty, or McGregor would fold after the 25 minute mark. McGregor, the UFC’s 155 pound world champion, weighed in at 153 pounds to Floyd’s 149 ½ pounds. Call it a super welterweight bout. All it what you want. It was different in the annals of boxing’s most memorable bouts, unique and strange in its construct. Perhaps MMA and boxing need to be part of the same show in the future. In its odd way, Mayweather versus McGregor was a slice of things to come the public wants.
McGregor won the first three rounds easily, unintimidated by Floyd’s natural ability and fearsome reputation. McGregor’s early brilliance had to do with throwing strange punches from unique angles, including a counter uppercut which scored. Not limited to southpaw, McGregor threw odd punches at short range from strange angles and threw a ring rusty Floyd out of his game, at least for a while.
Floyd picked up the pace ever so slightly in rounds four, five, six and seven. McGregor landed some punches here and there, and knew how to hold. McGregor occasionally threw instinctive punches to the back of Floyd’s head, but not with any intent to the extent he could have been disqualified. McGregor did not approach the bout with a kill or be killed mentality. Rather, McGregor tried to outwork Floyd at close range.
Floyd did not run out of gas. McGregor did after the 25 minute point ran into the ninth round. By that point, a tired and fading McGregor tried to hold, but he continued to slow down until the point Floyd stopped him on the ropes in the tenth round.
McGregor actually never fell down, but the end was not far away when referee Robert Byrd wisely called an end to the contest. At 50-0, Floyd did not pass Rocky Marciano in the sense of greatness. Rather, as Rocky would have pointed out if he were still alive, Floyd simply demonstrated MMA is far from equal photo with boxing. Surely Conor McGregor had adequate time to prepare for this bout. He made the challenge, and Floyd came out of retirement and accepted it. McGregor certainly had his chance, it was just he lacked the proper conditioning to deal with Floyd in an extended fight.
If McGregor thought Floyd would go early, well guess what? McGregor did not have a goods approach. The fight went deep, and McGregor got exposed for what he was: an MMA fighter fighting in the wrong place. Floyd versus McGregor was a pay-per-view bonanza. It turned out to be exactly what is was: a well-promoted show, with the outcome never in doubt.
The extravaganza had all the vibrations of a well-promoted show. It was not a carnival like the atmosphere or a freak show. McGregor came in as a professional, but ultimately proved he could not make the transition from MMA to boxing as well as Chris Algieri did. The Las Vegas atmosphere had the usual array of celebrities, but it was not like Muhammad Ali versus Rocky Aoki or Lyle Alzado. It was not like Rocky Marciano versus Jerry Lewis. The bout was not a joke. The bout was real. No world title was at stake. Neither fighter hit the canvas. Floyd not only outclassed McGregor, he knew exactly by instinct when McGregor would fade.
McGregor had some good moments early. Never a candidate to win by decision, McGregor knew he had to know out Floyd. His brilliance was early, and it was in creating opportunities for punches and counters by creating confusing angles. Perhaps McGregor, in his respectable showing, in the least, demonstrated why Floyd would be foolish to go after an Errol Spence or a Keith Thurman. Maybe it was ring rust combined with early caution which caused Floyd to lost the first few rounds. McGregor was, after all, a strange opponent. Pete Rademacher fought Floyd Paterson for the world heavyweight title in his first professional bout after winning the Olympic Gold Medal.
The world wanted to see Floyd, and Floyd wanted to recapture the limelight. Were we supposed to be impressed? Only in the sense Floyd felt he had the right opponent to reach 50-0. Is Floyd better off returning to retirement? It would seem so. Other than reaching 50-0, there was really nothing else to prove. Should Mayweather versus McGregor have been sanctioned in the first place? Should eight ounce gloves have been approved by Nevada? The bottom line is McGregor made the challenge, and Floyd and the world accepted it. The well promoted show was good for boxing, and Floyd is boxing’s goodwill ambassador of the moment. Could Floyd be lured out of retirement again? It’s possible, but improbable.
Floyd hoped to make 100 million dollars, but his take could be double that. McGregor hoped to make 30 million, but could make 100 million dollars in perhaps the best promoted pay-per-view event of all time. For as much money as this bout made, there was no equaling the hype. McGregor conceived it, loud mouthed it to the bitter end, sold it to Floyd and the world, and made the world believe, at least for a few rounds, an upset was possible. He attracted out attention. However, McGregor’s dream was short lived. McGregor demonstrated the right idea to beat Floyd. McGregor had the road map, as his style could not be predicted. McGregor’s style, though, was ultimately picked apart by Floyd. Part of me wanted to see the bout reach the bitter end. Referee Robert Byrd thought otherwise. McGregor made no excuses. The end was coming when the referee called a halt.
It’s just McGregor seemed a better candidate to go the distance but not win any rounds. Instead, he lacked the stamina for a 36 minute affair, but made it interesting while in lasted.
For all his glory, McGregor actually threw more punches, 430 to Floyd’s 320. McGregor landed a respectable 111 blows, but Floyd landed 170 blows, a 53 percent to 26 percent ratio. With a fighter of Floyd’s caliber, getting hit like that will take its toll. McGregor tried valiantly to land body shots to break Floyd down and sometimes did, but got hit in the head too much, and by bout’s conclusion was reeling around the ring, signaling his crossover attempt from MMA to boxing was not to be.
In retrospect, Floyd versus McGregor demonstrated both fighters were in top flight physical condition and were ready to rumble. Neither appeared to underestimate the other once the opening bell rang. The bout seemed more appropriate to be classified as an exhibition, in the sense Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record was at stake, and a professional debut seemed the wrong claim to reach 50-0 and surpass Rocky. However, Floyd versus McGregor did not parallel Muhammad Ali versus Lyle Alzado, a football player who went 10 rounds. Ali did not, by his own admission, prepare seriously for that bout. For this Floyd, Floyd most certainly had to prepare, in the event McGregor got lucky and caught Floyd sleepwalking.
Were 10 rounds for Floyd nine rounds too long? In the least, McGregor’s performance proved to Floyd being out of the ring almost two years is not as good idea when being faced by a world class opponent, even if the opponent is an athlete from a world other than boxing. It is not like Floyd and other boxing like him would step into the MMA realm like Riddick Bowe and Ray Mercer and others from boxing who did and failed. McGregor’s illegal hammer punches to the back of the head, while instinctive rather than intentional, were a solid warning to boxers not to attempt a crossover in the MMA arena in the opposite direction. McGregor and other MMA fighters would have a feast if they did.
No title was at stake in this bout.
Mayweather retired again after this bout.
McGregor is the UFC 155 pound MMA champion, and made a crossover pro boxing debut.
Referee: Robert Byrd
Scorecards at time of stoppage: 89-81, 89-82, 87-83 for Floyd
McGregor appeared to win rounds one, two, three and eight
Neither fighter was down during the scheduled 12 round main event contest in Las Vegas.
First bout at 154 pounds for Floyd Mayweather Jr
BoxRec online ranked Floyd Mayweather Jr. number one worldwide at Super Welterweight 154 pounds after this bout, listing Floyd as ‘active’
Biggest grossing professional bout in history. Final profit numbers to be determined.
First knockout for Floyd since defeating Victor Ortiz in 2011.
McGregor had fought boxing bouts as an amateur, only MMA as a professional, entering this bout.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. reached 50-0, unbeaten, with no draws, surpassing Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record. Marciano’s record included a 10 round split decision win over Roland LaStarza with three different scorecards ending in a draw. Under New York’s thensupplemental scoring system, referee Jack Watson called the bout 9-6 for Marciano.
Undercard Results, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Badou Jack TKO 5 Nathan Cleverly, Light Heavyweights
Jack wins WBA World Light Heavyweight title
Cleverly, who protested the stoppage, took a beating on the ropes. Not a close bout. Jack now available to fight Andre Ward and Adonis Stevenson, the other 175 pound champions.
Gervonta Davis KO 8 Francisco Fonseca, Super Featherweights
Davis two pounds overweight at 132, so the IBF World Super Featherweight title is vacant.
Andrew Tabiti Win 10 Steve Cunningham, cruiserweights
Tabiti retains NABF and wins USBA Cruiserweight titles.
At 41 years old, ex-champ USS Cunningham lost all rounds on one judge’s scorecard.
Yordenis Ugas Win 10 Thomas Dulorme, welterweights
Dulorme down twice in round two. Ugas down in round seven. Dulorme lost a point for low blows in round six and 10. The final point deduction cost Dulorme a draw on scorecards.
Juan Heraldez Win 10 Jose Miguel Borrego, Welterweights
12-0 Heraldez came off canvas in ninth round to decision 13-0 Borrego in prospects battle.
Mark Anthony Hernandez Win 6 Kevin Newman II, Super Middleweights
9-1 ‘Madman’ Hernandez scores a minor upset over 7-0-1 Mayweather prospect Newman.
Savannah Marshall (Pro Debut) Win 4 Sydney LeBlanc, Female Super Middleweights
Only female on Floyd versus McGregor Showtime card opens untelevised portion of card.