Future Boxing Hall of Famer Floyd “Money” Mayweather ended his historic career in style on Saturday night with a convincing 10th-round technical knockout victory over UFC mega-star Conor McGregor in the main event of a four-fight SHOWTIME PPV event from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
(Photo credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME)
The 40-year-old Mayweather, fighting for the first time in 714 days, announced after the fight that he will never fight again, ending his 21-year career in style by controlling an all-action fight that thrilled the 14,623 fans in attendance and watching around the world. With Mayweather coming forward just like he promised, referee Robert Byrd stopped the super welterweight fight at 1:05 of the 10th round as Mayweather punished McGregor with a series of blows that staggered his weary opponent.
With the win, the five-division world champion from Las Vegas becomes the first boxer to finish his career at 50-0, eclipsing the record he had previously shared with the legendary Rocky Marciano.
“I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see,” Mayweather told SHOWTIME ringside reporter Jim Gray after the fight. “I owed them for the Pacquiao fight. I had to come straight ahead and give the fans a show. That’s what I gave them.
“Conor was a lot better than I thought he’d be. He’s a tough competitor, but I was the better man tonight.”
All three judges – Dave Moretti (87-83), Burt Clements (89-82) and Guido Cavalleri (89-81) – had Mayweather ahead on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. SHOWTIME’s unofficial scorer Steve Farhood had Mayweather ahead by the score of 86-85.
The first two-division champion in UFC history, McGregor, from Dublin, Ireland, said he was fatigued as the fight got into the later stages. “He’s composed, he’s not that fast, he’s not that powerful, but boy is he composed in there,” the 29-year-old McGregor said. “I thought it was close though and I thought it was a bit of an early stoppage. He was just a lot more composed with his shots. I have to give it to him, that’s what 50 pro fights will do for you.”
Both fighters had their moments in the early rounds. In the fourth round, Mayweather forced McGregor to back-pedal and continued to force the action.
At the midway point of the fight, Farhood had given the first three rounds to the more aggressive McGregor, but then rounds four, five and six to the more accurate Mayweather.
“Our game plan was to take our time, go to him, let him shoot his shots early and then take him out down the stretch,” Mayweather said. “We know in MMA he fights for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, he started to slow down. I guaranteed to everybody that this wouldn’t go the distance.
“Our game plan was to go straight ahead. I said numerous times that I wouldn’t back down and that’s what I did.”
McGregor said he would consider boxing again, and would also return to fight in the UFC. “I’ve been strangled on live TV and came back,” he said. “When you’re in here in the squared circle, everything is different. Let the man put me down, that’s fatigue, that’s not damage.
“Where was the final two rounds? Let me walk back to my corner and compose myself.”
Mayweather was lethally accurate in the final round, landing 20 of 26 power punches before the referee stopped the fight. McGregor had a 51-40 advantage in punches landed over the first five rounds but was out-landed 130 to 60 in rounds six through 10 as Mayweather put an exclamation point on the final fight of his career.
“Rocky Marciano is a legend and I look forward to going into the Hall of Fame one day,” said Mayweather. “This was my last fight tonight. For sure. Tonight was my last fight. Tonight I chose the right dance partner to dance with. Conor, you are a hell of a champion.”