Floyd Mayweather outclasses Conor McGregor with 10th round TKO

Irishman struggles to lay a glove on 40-year-old in a Vegas boxing masterclass

Conor McGregor pays his respects to Floyd Mayweather after the American defeated the Irishman early in the 10th round of their fight in Las Vegas. Video: Reuters

 

It had all the trappings of an big-ticket prizefight: the glitzy Las Vegas backdrop, the arena-rock production values, the small fleet of celebrities and high rollers at ringside in well-cut suits and couture dresses.

But it was an illusion, one that evaporated before the eyes of the countless throngs who believed that Conor McGregor had any chance in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather, the undefeated five-division champion and finest boxer of his era.

Mayweather needed three rounds to take McGregor’s measure before spending the next seven walking him down and closing the show with a 10th-round knockout.

Vegas is a town built on suckers and dreamers and there were no shortage of either in the desert for a fight that’s expected to threaten the all-time revenue records set by Mayweather’s megafight with Manny Pacquiao two years ago.

McGregor stands in the ring before the fight. Photo: Steve Marcus/Reuters
McGregor stands in the ring before the fight. Photo: Steve Marcus/Reuters

McGregor shot from his corner and tried to swarm Mayweather in the opening round, landing a pair of body shots and a pawing left upstairs. But Mayweather calmly fought off the back foot and assessed the unknown before him, allowing McGregor to throw clumsy, lunging shots that missed wildly.

Early in the second McGregor was warned by referee Robert Byrd for hitting Mayweather behind the head early as the American continued to sit back and take the Irishman’s measure. McGregor even switched to an orthodox stance momentarily, which seemed to give the boxer pause. Yet the slow pace prevailed with Mayweather continuing to throw judiciously, mostly leading with jabs to the body.

McGregor’s disciplined if raw approach continued into the third as he continued to snap straight right-hand leads while Mayweather tried to set traps. The roughhousing continued as McGregor found the back of Mayweather’s head once more, this time avoiding a warning. Mayweather was struggling to let his hands go, but not for long.

Mayweather came alive in the fourth, stepping into the pocket and landing a right hand and a hook to the body. He continued to close the distance and suddenly it was McGregor in retreat, Mayweather walking him down. It took a bit longer than usual, perhaps owing to the 714-day layoff, but Mayweather had zeroed in on his strategy: he was going to fight McGregor inside.

Midway through the fifth round McGregor was showing signs of fatigue as Mayweather was speeding up, landing a hard body shot followed by a chopping left hand early in frame that dazed the Irishman, whose punches no longer had anything behind them. By the sixth McGregor was taking deep breaths and Mayweather continued to march inside, landing three straight rights that brought the crowd to their feet.

Mayweather lands a punch in the 10th round which led to the stoppage. Photo: Lionel Hahn/PA Wire
Mayweather lands a punch in the 10th round which led to the stoppage. Photo: Lionel Hahn/PA Wire

The bigger man was getting bullied and not even the chants of “Con-or! Con-or!” that cascaded down from the stands could breathe life into their man. Mayweather was in total control. He continued to press in the seventh with McGregor in survival mode, shredding the Irishman with a three-punch combination punctuated with a right cross. What punches McGregor could manage were completely devoid of snap. The punishment continued into the eight as Mayweather bounced punches one after another off McGregor, snapping the Irishman’s neck back with an uppercut near the end of the frame.

McGregor, in somewhat of a surprise, sprinted from corner in the ninth and for a third time on the night forced the referee to unwrap him from Mayweather’s back, prompting another stern warning. But Mayweather picked right up where he left off once proceedings resumed, cracking McGregor with a combination upstairs that left him spun round and handing onto the ropes to stay upright. One, two, three, four right hands bounced off McGregor’s head and McGregor looked ready to go, saved by the bell.

The end came early in the 10th when Mayweather landed a right hand that sent McGregor reeling before following up with a dozen unanswered punches, prompting Byrd to intervene at the 1:05 mark.

The enterprise is the pièce de résistance of the genius hatched by Mayweather and scaled to stupefying proportions by enigmatic advisor Al Haymon, the Harvard-educated former concert promoter who seldom appears in public and never speaks to the press. There will always be a bull market in America for the possibility of watching a mouthy fighter get what’s coming to him.

But for Mayweather, comeuppance never came.

Guardian service

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