“The Money Fight.” That’s the nickname given to the Floyd Mayweather Jr. verse Conor McGregor fight on August 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. How else do you explain a 40 year-old fighter who is 49-0, fighting a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter? McGregor had NEVER fought in a boxing match before. Even though he was 29-years old, he wasn’t even an amateur boxer. He was brand new to the sport, but had a big following in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). McGregor was a champion fighting in featherweight and lightweight divisions. Mayweather fought in featherweight, lightweight, super-lightweight, and welterweight. This fight with McGregor was fought in super-welterweight. So why would Mayweather come out of retirement for this fight? Money! He was guaranteed to make $100 million if nobody watched the fight at all. If people did tune in, he would make over $300 million. That would put him in the billionaire sports club. Only Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan are in that group. That’s a pretty exclusive club.
The other reason he wanted this fight was for historical purposes. The Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctioned the fight so that if Mayweather won he would be alone on hallowed ground. No other fighter would be 50-0. Rocky Marciano who fought in the heavyweight division and recorded 43 knockouts was 49-0. Marciano Jr. felt some type of way about the fight. He said, “No matter what happens, I don’t think it should go towards Mayweather’s professional career (record), win or lose. This fight to me isn’t a true boxing match. Heavyweights, most of them, hold the highest knockout percentage for a reason. They’re bigger, they’re stronger and one punch can take a heavyweight out.” He did mention that he had great respect for Mayweather’s “incredible, wonderful and exciting career” but made it very clear that he would not be watching the fight to see Mayweather break his old man’s record.
After all the rumbling and talk, it was finally time for the fight. At approximately midnight on the east coast, the fight began. McGregor came out with a flurry of punches. He even caught Mayweather with a solid upper cut that had him shook. McGregor easily won the first three rounds. He was able to switch boxing stances that kept Mayweather off-guard. Mayweather seemed to be employing an old Muhammad Ali move, rope-a-dope. He was taking punches and being the defensive boxing guru that he is. Mayweather knew he needed to make it to the 5th round and just wear down McGregor. McGregor’s stamina was something that everyone knew would be an issue. Fatigue would eventually play a role because UFC fights are much shorter, no more than five rounds. It was precisely at that point when Mayweather’s strategy was effective. He started landing more and more punches. McGregor was now on the defensive side of the match. He was just trying to last all twelve rounds. In the seventh round, McGregor actually showed 30 seconds of energy. Unfortunately for him, that burst was all he had. He managed to survive the round and the next. In the ninth round, McGregor was visibly spent, but again he made it through. Mayweather was in control of the fight and winning according to the judges. McGregor’s last hope was to muster enough energy to connect one good punch. In the tenth round, McGregor landed his final and 111th punch of the match. For the next minute he try to avoid the flurry of punches that Mayweather was throwing. He couldn’t avoid it anymore and began to wobble. That’s when referee Robert Byrd halted the fight. What?! They can’t be stopping the fight. Yes, they did. According to boxing rules, if a boxer doesn’t throw a punch for a minute he is considered defenseless. He has in affect “thrown in the towel” and the match is called. The winner is awarded a Technical Knockout (TKO). TKO is when the referee determines that one of the fighters can’t continue the fight, even if that fighter wants to continue. McGregor said after the fight, “That’s exactly what it is; it’s fatigue. That’s why I thought the ref could’ve just let it keep going. Let me go down; let the man put me down. Wobbly and fatigued, that’s energy, that’s not damage. I’m clear-headed.”
There were so many questions going into the fight. Most of them had to do with how badly McGregor would lose. Many questioned whether or not the fight, would hurt MMA. Others wondered if boxing, already losing viewers to MMA, would take a big hit due to the “exhibition match” feeling. It’s clear that MMA gained respect and boxing is now on life support. It isn’t completely dead but there aren’t any upcoming matches worth watching and spending $99. However, Mayweather has now won his 50th career-boxing match, sitting alone at the top. He is at the top only in record. Many will not consider him the greatest because he picked his opponents carefully. He waited till they were new to the big stage or on the latter half of their career. His latter fights were all long overdue after his opponents were out of their prime. That will always be the one of the knocks on his boxing career. One thing you have to give him credit for, being the wealthiest boxer ever! That’s why his brand is known as “The Money Team” (TMT).