Las Vegas, United States | AFP | Floyd Mayweather outclassed Conor McGregor to win their money-spinning superfight by technical knockout here Saturday, securing his place in boxing history to head into retirement with a record 50th straight victory.
Former welterweight boxing champion Mayweather, who had come out of a two-year retirement to take on the Irish mixed martial arts star, bided his time before exerting his superiority from the middle rounds onwards at the T-Mobile Arena.
The end came in the 10th round with a tired McGregor doubled over on the ropes as Mayweather landed two hard left hooks, prompting referee Robert Byrd to intervene as a 14,623 crowd with A-list celebrities roared their approval.
“He’s a lot better than I thought he’d be,” a jubilant Mayweather said of McGregor. “He’s a tough competitor, but I was the better man tonight.”
Mayweather led comfortably on all three judges’ cards when the fight was stopped.
The American said he had deliberately taken his time early on in order to take advantage of a fatigued McGregor.
“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,” he said. “I guaranteed to everybody that this wouldn’t go the distance.”
– Clinical display –
McGregor meanwhile suggested the fight could have been allowed to go on, but praised Mayweather’s clinical tactical display.
“He’s composed, he’s not that fast, he’s not that powerful, but boy is he composed,” McGregor said.
“I thought it was a bit of an early stoppage. I was just a little fatigued. 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.”
It was an explosive finale to their much-hyped contest which proved surprisingly competitive in the early rounds as McGregor managed to land a string of scoring punches.
But once Mayweather began to find his range and McGregor wearied rapidly, there was only going to be one winner.
The 40-year-old American scored at will after the early rounds, snapping back McGregor’s head with a series of stinging blows.
McGregor, 29, somehow survived an onslaught in the seventh round when a right counter from Mayweather staggered him badly.
Finally McGregor’s resistance broke in the 10th when a Mayweather right sent him lurching across the ring.
A hard left put him on the ropes and another hook saw him bent over and helpless, prompting the stoppage.
The fight had followed a largely expected script but McGregor, in his first ever boxing appearance, by no means embarrassed himself.