The biggest fight of the year is over, and as everyone expected, Floyd Mayweather, possibly the finest boxer of his generation, put a stop to two time MMA world champion Conor McGregor’s boxing ambitions with a 10th round technical knockout.

In truth the result was never in doubt, but it’s hard to deny that McGregor, who hadn’t had a professional boxing matching in his life until that point, did a lot better than everybody expected, and even forced Mayweather to change his usual gameplan to beat him.

Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor

Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor
Picture Credit: Mayweather Promotions - McGregor Sports and Entertainment - Showtime

Everybody expected the inexperienced McGregor to come in swinging looking for a quick knockout, but that didn’t happen. Rather than charge forward (which would have played perfectly into Mayweather’s usual gameplan) Conor McGregor stayed composed and kept his distance, looking to pick his shots on the boxing champion.

Floyd Mayweather is a master of evasion, his head movement and footwork keeping him just out of range of the opponent so that they can never string together more than one decisive hit on him. When he gets in trouble he simply takes advantage of the rules of boxing and ties his opponents up in his clinch, waiting for the referee to separate them so he can start again.

Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor

But after a few rounds of being picked off from a distance by a surprisingly composed Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather started to get the measure of his man and changed tactics. He adopted exactly the same strategy that McGregor’s previous opponent, Nate Diaz used so effectively in their last encounter- he simply put his gloves up and walked his man down.

McGregor is a master of the art of counter punching, but his success in that area relies on less experienced opponent’s overreaching as they try to come at him. Mayweather never needed to reach too far in any of his shots because he was simply walking through the distance that McGregor likes to operate in with his gloves protecting his head.

By the 10th round McGregor was wilting under the constant forward pressure and more and more of Mayweather’s shots were finding their target. Wth McGregor facing a tirade of unanswered blows and wobbling unsteadily on his feet the referee stepped in and waved the fight off. There’s some controversy about the fight being stopped too early, but the reality is that McGregor was receiving far too much damage to continue.

Conor McGregor Did a Good Job

Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor

There has also been a lot of talk about Conor McGregor looking fatigued in the later rounds, but I don’t think his fitness was the issue, rather it was simply that his movement efficiency in a boxing match was nowhere near that of the more experienced Floyd Mayweather. As a mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor has to have the tools to compete in all ranges of a fight – from kicking to boxing to takedowns and groundwork, rather than specialise in a single discipline.

While McGregor was initially doing well against Mayweather, he simply couldn’t sustain the pace that Mayweather, the specialist boxer, could put on him over the course of a whole match.

But equally, McGregor has proved that an all-round approach to fighting is no barrier to competing competitively in a more specialised sport. McGregor gave a good account of himself and even took some rounds off Mayweather. If the situation had been reversed, and this was an MMA match, I wouldn’t have expected Mayweather to have done half as well as McGregor did. In fact, I’m pretty sure that as soon as the fight hit the ground it would have been all over for the boxing world champion.

Floyd Mayweather Retired

Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor

Following the fight Floyd Mayweather announced his retirement from boxing (again) and Conor McGregor looks to be headed back to the octagon to face either Khabib Nurmagomedov, the brilliant wrestling stylist who remains undefeated in his division, or head into a rematch against his old foe Nate Diaz to create a decisive victor in their long-running battle, which is currenty one victory each.

Conor McGregor made so much money fighting Floyd Mayweather that he really could retire right now, but he’s showing no signs of slowing down or that he’s afraid to face whatever challenge life throws at him. It’s that attitude that has driven his rise to superstardom in the UFC, and will sustain him in his future career. And for that, the Irishman has something to be proud of.

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