So the dust has finally settled on the Floyd Mayweather Jnr v Conor McGregor bout and one of the most hyped fights in history is finally over. On the morning of 27th August I woke up around 8:30am whilst on holiday in Lahore to follow the fight. Much was made of McGregor’s punching power – what would happen when he landed a clean punch on the 40yr old Boxing champion? Having predicted to knock Floyd out within 4 rounds and using 8oz gloves, everyone wanted to see how the fight would play out. Could a fighter from another art actually come in and beat a Boxing champion? (Albeit one who was 40yrs old and retired for over 700 days)
As the fight went on, Boxing fans quickly realised it was going very similar to the way many from the sport had predicted except unintentionally. The general concensus was that Floyd would take a few rounds to figure McGregor out and then slowly pick him off and counter punch his way to a wide points win or knock out in the later rounds. What happened though, was Floyd fighting in a totally different way to he has ever fought and pretty much carrying McGregor for most of the fight.
Before I continue, I will say Conor McGregor deserves a whole lot of respect for daring to step into the Boxing ring, it takes a lot of guts to do what he did, whether it was because of the money or not shouldn’t take anything away from him. Yes he was a shrewd businessman(much like Floyd was) for calling out the perfect opponent(Had McGregor ended up in the ring with an active World Champion the end result would have been far more embarassing for him) but still, it takes a lot of heart, courage and mental toughness to want to step into the ring and face a quality opponent in a sport different to one you participate in.
My opinion though, is that Mayweather Jnr carried his opponent. It’s not a surprise he entered the ring wearing a balaclava because this was a robbery, Mayweather Jnr walked away with what will likely amount to around $300 million dollars barely breaking a sweat, without getting out of 1st gear and knowing from the start he was always going to win whenever he wanted to end the fight. This was an easy nights work for the undefeated Boxer.
Why do I say he carried McGregor? Floyd came out fighting in a manner he has never fought before. The whole fight he literally walked down his opponent, anyone who has seen Mayweather Jnr fight knows this is not how he fights, there was no boxing footwork, Floyd is a counter puncher, not a stalker. But stalking is fine for Boxers but why didn’t he cut off the ring then? The manner of stalking was following McGregor around the ring rather than cornering him by cutting off the ring, this again shows Mayweather Jnr was trying to prolong the fight, had he chosen to cut off the ring the fight would have ended far sooner. Boxers do not follow their opponent around the ring, they cut the ring off. Floyd did not do this because he knew it would tire McGregor out sooner which meant the fight would also be over sooner.
Mayweather Jnr is a defensive genius, one of the greatest defensive fighters in history who more than anyone else has made the shoulder roll famous. So where was the famed shoulder roll in this fight? There was very little ‘philly shell’ or ‘Michigan Defense’ or ‘shoulder roll’ whatever you want to call it. There was also very little head movement displayed by Mayweather Jnr and very little evasive footwork. Mayweather Jnr abandoned his defense in order to give the fans a fight they would enjoy watching and he was able to risk doing this because he always knew there was no chance he could ever lose to McGregor in a boxing fight, he fought the total opposite way to his real style.
Where was Floyds jab? The jab is the most thrown punch in Boxing yet Floyd barely used his at all. The jab is the can opener which leads to all other punches, to not use the jab is to fight recklessly or to know you have nothing to fear from your opponent because you know you can finish the fight whenever you want so whats the point in using the jab when you can land a heavy right hand? To put this into perspective, we can easily compare Mayweathers performance against Manny Pacqiuo to what he did against Conor McGregor. Against Pacquio in 2015, Floyd threw 267 jabs in the 12 round fight, against McGregor he threw a paltry 59 in 10 rounds.
In round one, McGregor landed a flush uppercut on Mayweather Jnr, and he barely took a step back and then continued walking forward. From that point on, McGregor – and probably every single one of his fans realised there was little to no chance of the UFC champion beating Mayweather Jnr. The way Mayweather Jnr boxed showed a complete disregard for his opponents Boxing ability and punching power. After round 5 Mayweather shoved McGregor, “I pushed him and told him, ‘You still ain’t knocked me out. I thought you said it wasn’t going past four (rounds)? Show me your real power.’ That’s all. It was just trash talking that fighters do whether it’s MMA or boxing….When the best compete against the best, we want to be pushed.”
Do you think Mayweather Jnr would have fought in this style against any top contender in Boxing? Mayweather Jnr has fought far bigger punchers than McGregor, who in actual fact in the squared circle does not possess above mediocre punching power. Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquio, Canelo Alvarez, Marcos Maidana to name just a few of Mayweathers opponents all possess a far bigger punch than McGregor. This fight was for the fans and for the money, it belonged in the WWE rather than the Queensbury Boxing rules and as soon as Mayweather Jnr felt the fans had got their moneys worth, he ended the fight in emphatic fashion.
It is my opinion that the fight could have ended really in any round after round 5, by which time McGregor was already gassing out, Mayweather Jnr chose to play it safe and wait a little longer before going in for the kill, perhaps it was the size difference, Mcgregor was the much bigger man in the ring, perhaps it was never having seen McGregor’s style of fighting before but the fight could have ended much sooner. Floyd confirmed his reasons after the fight “Everyone in this room that watched me fight knows that I could have easily outboxed Conor McGregor, counter-punched him all night,” Mayweather said. “That’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to go out with a bang. I told you guys I wanted to come straight ahead. I felt like that’s what I owed to the fans for the Pacquiao fight.”
For McGregor, he has walked away with a healthy pay cheque and if he doesn’t want to, doesn’t have to ever fight again. Should he choose to fight again, he would be best served by returning to the sport he is the champion, the UFC. McGregor will now justifiably demand more money to fight and deservedly so, he is a top draw and would have won many fans from Boxing who will now follow his UFC career should be return to the Octagon. Being outclassed by a future Boxing hall of famer is nothing to be ashamed of, he can walk away with his head held high, having given it a go in a fight which will remembered for a long time. McGregor is a success, a winner and a role model. For Mayweather Jnr, lets hope he stays retired, enjoys his wealth and enjoys the legacy he has undoubtedly left behind as the greatest fighter of the 21st Century.