Like Rihanna said, “This is what you came for.” To the surprise of no one with even an iota of combat sports IQ, the undefeated future hall-of-fame boxer defeated the debuting professional in a boxing match.
If you chanced upon that last paragraph in the back of a newspaper’s sports section without knowing the context, you’d probably laugh it off as some sparring match that took place in a local boxing gym. And yet, that’s essentially what happened with the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight under the bright lights of Las Vegas.
That’s not to discredit the Irishman’s efforts. The UFC champ did better than a lot of critics expected, taking the first three rounds and landing shots on a noticeably slower Mayweather. Then Mayweather showed an uncharacteristic aggressiveness and started landing flush right hands on a tiring McGregor. The end was near by the end of the ninth round, and Mayweather put the finishing touches by scoring a referee stoppage in the 10th. From a technical standpoint, it was actually an interesting fight. Mayweather’s minute adjustments and ring generalship were fascinating to watch.
The Mayweather victory might’ve been a foregone conclusion to some, yet a lot of fans bought in to the hype thinking that McGregor would be the one to beat the streak. That included some newcomers who watched the fight because the drama got them curious. Short of saying I told you so, this is a lesson that a fight should be assessed for what it is instead of what it’s made out to be. Didn’t we learn our lesson with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao?
Now, is McGregor really the loser in all of this? Not really. The 29 year-old just earned a cool $30 million and participated in one of the biggest sporting spectacles ever. He’s still the UFC lightweight champ and hell, he did better against Mayweather than some seasoned professionals. All three judges scored the first round in his favor; winning three minutes against an all-time great has to count for something. Mayweather, meanwhile, looks to finally be riding off for good with this $100 million and 50-0 record.
For the newcomers who came away from this circus disappointed, either because you felt cheated out of your money or that your adrenaline rush wasn’t satisfied, all hope isn’t lost. I encourage you wait next month for the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight, and keep an eye out for the next big UFC card. Combat sports have a lot more to offer than just the fights and fighters that fill up our local sports bars. Stick around, I promise you it’s worth it. Welcome to fight fandom!