Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor was not a close fight
It’s over. Floyd Mayweather and UFC superstar Conor McGregor met in a boxing ring and it was the egregious mismatch we all expected it to be. That being said, the Irishman deserves enormous credit. Although he was handsomely rewarded, McGregor left most of his weapons at home and took Mayweather on in drastically unfamiliar territory. He didn’t quit and, bar some unchecked dirty moves, he didn’t badly cheat. He stuck to his game plan as best he could and took serious punishment before eventually wilting, and he was pretty classy in defeat, despite some grumblings about the stoppage.
But he was not competitive.
In the first round, he landed a lovely counter left uppercut that made many sit up and wonder, ever so briefly, if they called this one completely wrong. McGregor won the first two rounds – not officially, according to the scoring judges, but they were rendered redundant anyway. However, that was down to Floyd. As he always does, Mayweather barely did anything in the early stages. Instead, he let McGregor reveal his hand and rapidly studied what Conor had brought to the table. After the third, it was one-way traffic.
Mayweather – 40 years old, inactive for two years and significantly smaller than McGregor – walked Conor down and beat him from pillar to post. McGregor’s body is conditioned to the UFC’s five five-minute rounds and, despite a gruelling training camp, he was nowhere near ready to compete over twelve threes against a master like Mayweather. It’s like throwing a tiger in the ocean to fight a shark and expecting it to grow gills.
Some punch stats from the fight have done the rounds online and the MMA fraternity are using them as evidence that McGregor pushed Mayweather hard. Apparently, he landed more punches on Mayweather than Pacquiao did. Let’s debunk this nonsense.
First off, those punch stats are collated by two human operators sat at ringside counting punches – it is not a machine or a faultless system. Secondly, it doesn’t take into account the effect of punches. Yes, McGregor’s gloves hit Mayweather over 100 times, but the vast majority of them were arm punches. McGregor was not twisting with his shots, he was not using his legs or hips to generate power and so his vaunted left hand became useless.
It didn’t take long for Mayweather to realise this, and so instead of potshot and evade like he did against Pacquiao, Floyd met McGregor head on and took risks he would usually avoid like the plague. In all honesty, there was never a point where McGregor looked like winning, and Mayweather barely came out of second gear. Mayweather got the stoppage he had promised everyone, they can now both cash in their enormous cheques and we can all get on with our lives.
Mayweather looked old
Another reason McGregor lasted longer than many thought he would – beside his solid chin and fighting heart – was that Mayweather looked just like a 40-year-old who had not fought in two years.
His feet were a little slow and his reflexes were nowhere near what they were in 2015. His timing was also way off and he missed with plenty of punches, something we’re not used to seeing from someone as gifted as Mayweather.
He later claimed that he hadn’t sparred for an entire month before their fight because of his ‘brittle hands’, which would explain why is timing and reflexes were awry.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. He showed no signs of tiring, given that he was able to easily dictate the pace of the fight, and he got the job done, but if he had come back against a world-class boxer, it could have been a very different story.
This was not boxing vs MMA
Another of the pre-fight storylines was that this fight pitted two sports against one another; boxing against MMA. It makes for suitable melodrama, but it’s completely false.
It was one man grossly unprepared to fight another with tens of millions of people watching. Mayweather is a master boxer who will go down as the best of his generation; that legacy was confirmed way before he faced McGregor, and this fight will have no bearing on that.
McGregor is a once-in-a-lifetime showman who can fight like hell – in the octagon. His UFC accomplishments are staggering and, again, his loss to Mayweather does not change his MMA career in the slightest, except by increasing his profile even further.
As countless people have pointed out, McGregor would devour Mayweather in a MMA fight. Much like Saturday’s contest, it would be pointless.
Boxing and MMA are both combat sports, but they are different worlds. They require separate skills and attributes – Mayweather’s win over McGregor does not prove that one sport is ‘better’ than the other.
Badou Jack looks like an excellent light-heavyweight
On the Mayweather-McGregor undercard, former WBC super-middleweight champion Badou Jack made his light-heavyweight debut by bludgeoning Nathan Cleverly in five rounds and sending him into retirement.
After a competitive first round, Jack unleashed a measured but punishing onslaught to both head and body, breaking Cleverly’s nose and dismantling the former WBO world champion. By the fifth, it had turned into a massacre and the referee had no choice but to save the impossibly brave Cleverly.
Jack has always been underestimated – he was the underdog against George Groves, who he beat, and James DeGale, who he battled to a draw. He does the basics very, very well and he is frustratingly difficult to beat. What’s more, he looks better at light-heavyweight than he ever did at super-middle – he could be in some seriously fun fights.
Miguel Cotto is BACK
Another future Hall of Famer returned from a two-year layoff over the weekend; Puerto Rican warlord Miguel Cotto. Instead of fighting a debutant, he took on Japanese warrior Yoshihiro Kamegai for the vacant WBO super-welterweight title in California.
Cotto, boxing excellently, landed everything including the kitchen sink at Kamegai who, somehow, kept his feet for 12 rounds and was soundly beaten on points. It was one-sided but hugely entertaining.
Cotto is now a six-time world champion and intends to fight once more before calling time on his glittering career. There will be many who would like to see him bow out after this win over Kamegai, but he seems to have his heart set on one more big night. Regardless, he looked great against Kamegai – who, admittedly, was tailor-made for Cotto – and it’s nice to have him back in the mix.