You know that one person in your social circle, the one that all your friends swear is a good dude, but you just can’t see it? I have that same feeling with regard to the fight last Saturday between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather. The first text I received as soon as it was over simply stated, “Great fight.”
Huh? Competitive? OK, sure, McGregor fared well for the first three rounds and appeared to take all three, even if the judges didn’t see it that way. He was able to keep Mayweather off-balance, transitioning between orthodox and southpaw. But he never really appeared to inflict damage. After the opening rounds, Mayweather seemed to figure McGregor out, winning the next six rounds before the fight was stopped in the 10th.
I will acknowledge the fight was relatively close, more than most people expected. But that was more a reflection on Mayweather, who is 40 and was nearly two years removed from his most recent match. Mayweather in his prime would have finished this fight a lot sooner. So would any of the boxers ranked in the top 10 fighting at 154 pounds.
McGregor certainly appeared to be in great physical condition, and many want to give him credit for leaving the familiarity of the octagon and stepping into the ring. But McGregor had 30 million reasons to try his hand at boxing, and his stamina faltered as the fight progressed.
Some observers suggested the fight should not have been stopped. Had it been a UFC match, it probably would have continued, and McGregor would have absorbed more of a beating. But in boxing, once a fighter demonstrates he is not capable of defending himself, it has to be stopped.
I suppose it was entertaining. Certainly, the promoters accomplished what they set out to do: make money, and steal HBO’s thunder for the upcoming Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin fight on Sept. 16. That long-discussed match was finally announced in May, and seemed destined to dominate the boxing discussion for the next four months. But Showtime was able to swoop in in June and put together Mayweather-McGregor just two months later, beating HBO to the punch, so to speak.
Promoters were also hoping to showcase the future of the sport by putting Mayweather protégé Gervonta Davis on the undercard, but Davis spent most of his fight with the overmatched Francisco Fonseca clowning around in the ring and drawing boos. When he did finish Fonseca in the eighth round, it was with a controversial punch that appeared to land on the back of Fonseca’s head.
In the immediate aftermath, the big question was: What is next for the two combatants? A rematch? Let’s hope not. There are much better fights to be made. Ideally, this will be the last time we see either of them in the ring. Mayweather needs to remain retired, and McGregor should return to the octagon where he belongs.Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney