Floyd Mayweather Jr. left the ring for the final time Saturday a winner once more, but this farewell party was unlike the previous one.
The former five-time division world champion and one of the best pound-for-pound boxers of the past two decades walked off into the sunset with another one-sided and dominating victory over UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor before 14,623 fans Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I think we gave the world a heck of a fight,” Mayweather stated in the ring following the bout. “I wanted to stay going straight ahead. I thought if I stayed going straight ahead, I would be able to get him. I really wanted to get him.”
The bout was stopped by referee Robert Byrd 1:05 into the 10th round. Had the fight been allowed to continue, it seemed inevitable that McGregor, who displayed a tremendous amount of heart throughout the clash, would have been knocked out, seriously injured, or a combination of both.
FightNights.com predicted a fourth-round stoppage victory for Mayweather, and we didn’t expect McGregor to put up much of a fight. However, the exact opposite took place, and unlike the previous super mega fight, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, in 2015, the fight lived up to the billing. Albeit the press conference tour was plagued with profanities throughout, ultimately, it was not words or weight that dictated the outcome; it was fighting.
Mayweather, who connected on 170 of 320 of his punches (53 percent), did what he did best. He landed his signature right hand and brought back “Pretty Boy” into the ring. He came forward, tasted McGregor’s power, and lived up to his pre-fight smack.
“I owed the fans for that [Manny] Pacquiao fight, and so I had to go straight at him,” Mayweather said.
Mayweather also addressed the criticism he and the event received over the course of the past few months.
“I’m not a damn fool. When I see an opportunity to make $300 to $350 million in 36 minutes, why not?” he added.
Mayweather, who surpassed the iconic late-heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano by winning his 50th bout consecutively, announced his retirement from the ring. “This was my last one. You guys have my word,” he said. “I’ve had a great career.”
McGregor was his usual witty self after the bout but was gracious in defeat.
Mayweather said what was going to happen at Friday’s weigh-in. It was going to be an exciting fight, and it wasn’t going to go the distance.
“I could have just boxed him and counterpunched him; I didn’t want to do that,” Mayweather stated. “I felt like I owed the fans a last hurrah.”
Indeed it was. Perfection. Mayweather did it again.