Floyd Mayweather defeats Conor McGregor by TKO in Round 10

August 27, 2017

Despite showing significant signs of age and ring rust, future Boxing Hall of Famer Floyd Mayweather ended his historic career in style at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night, delivering on his promise to come forward and brawl for the fans, as he earned a convincing 10th-round technical knockout victory over UFC star Conor McGregor in the unusual main event between two of the biggest names in combat sports.

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.

“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."

Mayweather, 40, was fighting for the first time in 714 days, and announced after the fight that he will never fight again, effectively ending his 21-year career.

After a slow start, he controlled the second half of the action-filled bout for the 14,623 fans in attendance -- a significant number because the high-priced mega-fight did not sell out every seat in the house.

With Mayweather walking down his man, 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.  Mayweather was lethally accurate in the final round, landing 20 of 26 power punches before the referee stopped the fight.

The rare fight between opponents from different sports was expected to be a dull blowout by most experts, but was surprisingly entertaining and reasonably competitive at certain moments.  Still, one could not help but be left with a few clear impressions from the bout:

  • Floyd has aged significantly since his last bout with Andre Berto.  His defensive reactions were slower, he was hit more often (partly due to his more risk-laden approach in this fight), and he had to pace himself more than ever before, essentially giving away the first two rounds by coasting and not letting his hands go. He probably will retire for good this time because the deterioration was obvious.

  • McGregor had more skill than expected, as he proved to be an athletic fighter capable of throwing some innovative combinations, using angles, and landing his jab.  One example of such skill was a clever counter uppercut that he landed on Mayweather in the first round.

  • McGregor also was woefully raw in other areas and could have used the assistance of an experienced boxing trainer in his camp.  McGregor surprisingly had no clue how to properly tie up an opponent to ward off an attack, or how to successfully fight on the interior.  Once Mayweather made it more of a phone booth fight and took away McGregor's reach, the UFC star had no answer.

  • McGregor did not know how to sit down on his shots, as too many of his punches were arm punches and mere touches.  As such, Mayweather did not respect his power and no fear of walking him down.  Against a one-armed Manny Pacquiao, Floyd tasted the power of a Pacquiao combination in the fourth round, and continued to stay away and box the smaller man for the remainder of the bout.  McGregor produced no such caution with Floyd.

  • Despite being an elite striker in mixed martial arts, McGregor had difficulty transitioning his skills to boxing.  He was repeatedly warned against throwing hammer punches, a staple of his MMA arsenal.  He also lacked the stamina required to compete in a 12-round fight, as the 25-minute bouts in the UFC left him ill-prepared and exhausted in the later rounds of this bout.  McGregor could not find his second wind, allowing Floyd to easily batter him in the ninth and tenth rounds.

Both fighters had their moments in the early rounds. In the fourth round, Mayweather forced McGregor to back-pedal as he pressured his Irish foe.

"Conor was a lot better than I thought he'd be," said Mayweather.  "He's a tough competitor, but I was the better man tonight.”

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."

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.

McGregor did not hit the canvas, but also was taking shots at the time of the stoppage without throwing anything back in return.  Perhaps he was not accustomed to fights being stopped in such a manner in MMA, or perhaps he was legitimately hurt.  McGregor claimed he was simply fatigued and could have recovered at the end of the round.

"Where was the final two rounds? Let me walk back to my corner and compose myself," said McGregor. “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."

McGregor observed however, that it was Mayweather's mental approach that earned him the win more than anything.

“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.”

Although McGregor thought Byrd stopped things a bit early, he also received a few breaks from the referee as well, since Byrd never took a single point away from McGregor for repeated hammer punches, choosing instead to simply issue a warning.

With the win, Mayweather becomes the first boxer to finish his career at 50-0, eclipsing the record he had previously shared with the legendary Rocky Marciano.  He got win number 50 against an opponent fighting his first professional boxing match, so apply an asterisk, if you wish.

“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."

The Undercard

In the co-main event, undefeated rising star Gervonta Davis defeated unbeaten challenger Francisco Fonseca via a controversial eighth-round knockout 39 seconds into the round.

The 22-year-old Davis (19-0, 18 KOs) landed a series of clean blows before an apparent shot to the back of the head sent Fonseca down.  Referee Russell Mora, who has had his own issues with failing to recognize fouls in the other fights, apparently missed the illegal blow as well, and gave the 10-count allowing Davis to earn his 18th stoppage win in 19 professional fights.

“Everybody saw that when I was going down, he hit me twice behind,” Fonseca said. “It’s a blow that’s not legal. It was here in Las Vegas, so he had the crowd going for him, and I just want a rematch. He never hurt me with that exchange. Even though he came in at 160 pounds today, he doesn’t hit as hard as they say he hits.”

The fight was originally scheduled to be Davis’ second defense of his IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship, but Davis failed to make weight on Friday, coming two pounds over the 130-pound limit that Fonseca (19-1-1, 13 KOs) weighed-in at.

“I threw the shot as he put his head down,” said Davis. “I was definitely going to stop him eventually. He was in trouble before the last shot.  I’m going to stay at 130 pounds and try to get my title back. I still want to unify the junior lightweight division.”

In another bout, former super middleweight champion Badou Jack became a two-division world champion with a TKO win over Nathan Cleverly to capture the WBA Light Heavyweight World Championship.

"Jack was very strong,” said Cleverly. “He caught me and broke my nose in the third round. It was a downward spiral from there. I was wounded and protecting myself. It's horrible but part of the sport.”

The Las Vegas-based, Swedish-born Jack (21-1-3, 13 KOs) outclassed Cleverly (30-4, 16 KOs) in a one-sided bout that was stopped by referee Tony Weeks with 12 seconds remaining in the fifth round. It was the first fight for Jack since moving up from 168 pounds to 175 pounds.

Jack had recorded majority draws in each of his past two fights against James DeGale of England and Canada’s Lucian Bute.

“It’s a dream come true,” said the 33-year-old Jack. “I’ve learned that you can’t leave it in the hands of the judges.”

Jim Gray asked Jack who he would like to fight next, Andre Ward or Adonis Stevenson? “I think Adonis Stevenson, let’s get it on. I’ll go to Canada. I’ll go anywhere.”

The PPV telecast began with unbeaten Andrew Tabiti and former world champion Steve Cunningham meeting in a 10-round cruiserweight battle. Tabiti (16-0, 13 KOs) controlled the action against the 41-year-old Cunningham (29-9-1, 13 KOs) on his way to a unanimous decision scored 97-93 twice and 100-90.

"I was just jabbing him and making sure I stayed smart,” Tabiti said. “He's a veteran so I had to stay composed. I wanted to show that I could box. This was a step up for me and I felt comfortable in there.”

With Floyd Mayweather Sr. working in his corner, the 27-year-old Tabiti set the tempo early and set the pace for the entire fight.

"He had a decent jab but he wasn't busy enough,” Tabiti added. “I just didn't want to make mistakes. If you start too fast against a veteran you're liable to get caught by him.”

A Chicago native who lives and trains in Las Vegas, Tabiti landed 31 percent of his jabs (70 of 229) and 49 percent of his power punches compared to just 27 percent for Cunningham. With the win, Tabiti retains the NABF cruiserweight title and won the USBA cruiserweight championship.

Cunningham wasn’t impressed with Tabiti. "I don't think Andrew Tabiti is a championship level fighter,” he said. “I thought I won the fight. I didn't think I saw anything special from him.”

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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