The unlikely persona of Floyd Money Mayweather claims the legacy of the immortal Rocky Marciano who would have been 94 in less than one weeks-time with his “historic” win over the brash Irishman, UFC multi-division champion Conor McGregor with a 10th round stoppage win.
Conor as advertised was very much a live dog for five rounds, however the Old Master took over in an uncharacteristically offense minded and at times sloppy fashion taking the bigger, stronger fighter in to deep water.
Much like the fight against Canelo Alvarez nearly four years ago to the day the, Mayweather – the cagey veteran allowed the more powerful man to exhaust himself after six rounds had elapsed and took over.
Mayweather ironically adopted one of the central tenants of the martial arts – the theory that superior technique and body mechanics can defeat a larger, stronger more aggressive adversary.
Or put another way…
Precision Beats Power & Timing Beats Speed.
Mayweather stalked to the ring second, reminiscent of another well-known boxing heel – Bernard Hopkins, dressed in all black wearing a balaclava. How appropriate I thought, because if Floyd cannot stop Conor he would likely steal a decision with the help of two well placed Nevada Judges (more on the final scores later).
However, Floyd Mayweather has never oozed menace and once he’d disrobed and stood toe to toe with a rehydrated Conor McGregor who looked massive in contrast Floyd looked like what he was – a well-conditioned man nearing middle age. And for the first 3-4 rounds that’s what he looked like in the ring at times. Floyd lunged and pushed his shots out, he looked far less compact and brilliant then he had even against Berto, not that one should be surprised considering Father Time is truly the undefeated pound for pound king.
After a lengthy speech from referee Robert Byrd that seemed largely aimed at Conor, the first bell sounded and Conor pounced on Floyd as expected.
Floyd laid on the ropes and though he was tagged slightly in moments rode nearly everything that Conor threw. Floyd rode Conor’s jab backward and capitalizing on Conor’s inexperience remained largely safe since Conor not able to make the veteran pay for some of his defensive missteps. Conor did land a nice upper cut on the inside countering Floyd’s jab – Conor demonstrated some rare technique early on.
Floyd landed a couple body jabs in round two but continued to absorb the Irishman’s attack. For the first three rounds, Floyd’s output of punches was barely cracking the double digits.
One of the amusing if frustrating myths is that detractors will say Floyd is a runner.
Meaning that he doesn’t engage, that he avoids the fight and therefore implying that he’s a coward. The locus of Floyd’s defense is first his foot work to manage distance and second the Philly Shell defense requires the user to be well inside punching range.
Yet after round 3-4 Floyd hopefully silenced those critics as he came forward almost exclusively to pressure Conor and could not use the Philly Shell as it is less effective against southpaw fighters from the orthodox stance that Floyd fights out of.
I suspect this was on purpose.
As Conor was already starting to visibly tire, Floyd having taken the heaviest shots Conor had to throw, which were not that many by the way, he could chase Conor to make him use his legs without much fear or respect for what was coming back.
Floyd looked sloppy here in moments as he’s no pressure fighters, he failed to cut the ring on Conor. However, maybe he didn’t want to because he didn’t have to. Floyd only needed to make Conor move, use his legs when he wanted to rest and fight when he needed respite.
Brilliant if you consider it.
From round six on I gave every round to Floyd. An argument could be made for a 10-8 round in the 9th in Floyd’s favor however the tide had clearly turned.
Conor’s hands were dropping, his mouth was gaped open and the critiques of Conor’s stamina seemed legitimate.
Conor came out into the 10th round looking very beatable.
Floyd had landed one of his best punches in his arsenal – the lead straight right several times in the fight, even landed the famous pull counter in the previous round. And in the 10th round Floyd walked Conor down landing nearly everything he threw, jabs, straight right hands and a couple looping hooks.
Conor was getting battered along the ropes, too exhausted to even hold his hands up.
Conor had not thrown a single punch in over a minute and was tagged with another hard-straight right that had the Irishman stumbling back, the ropes held Conor up for a moment.
As Mayweather moved in for the kill Robert Byrd had seen enough and stopped the fight.
Conor never had a chance. He was never going to beat Floyd Mayweather. Knock him out or beat him up.
For those shocked by the outcome I will once again borrow a quote from Conor himself and take the opportunity to apologize To Absolutely Nobody!
Kidding aside Conor was never going to win a decision either.
Nevada long ago carved a primrose path for her most bankable star. Sure, Conor has the UFC in the palm of his hand and its owner’s nuts in a vice, that’s part of the reason this fight even got made.
However, Floyd Mayweather has an entire state and commission at his back and the legitimate and illegitimate monied interests contained therein.
Through nine rounds, I had the fight 86-85 for Mayweather. Conor easily won the first three rounds. I had 10-10 in round four and as I said the rest for Floyd and it seemed clear a stoppage was imminent due to Conor’s fatigue.
Steve Farhood the unofficial arbiter for Showtime had a similar score.
Yet, the all three judges had the bout for Mayweather by an absurd margin.
Clements had 89-82; Moretti scored it 87-83; Cavalleri had the widest most stupefying score of them all with 89-81. Not even a pretense of impartiality.
From a technical perspective, there were some interesting points. Conor was far better than many thought, particularly his jab and distance management, however it’s his physiology that failed him in the boxing ring as in the octagon. Get Conor passed the 15-20-minute mark in any venue of fighting and he’s extremely vulnerable.
At the time of the stoppage Floyd landed 20/25 power shots and was 58% overall for power shots landed, as good numerically as he’s ever been!
In the post-fight interview after the two warriors embraced in a classy display of sportsmanship that was needed after the vulgar and belligerent buildup Floyd commented – with his voice cracking – almost like he was fighting back tears that he wanted to give the fans a show and pay them back for the disappointment of the Pacquiao fight.
For his part Conor was slightly frustrated by what he felt was an early stoppage however the final sequence looks worse and worse for him with repeated viewing.
I suspected he’d quit on his stool but I must throw my hands up and apologize – he wanted to be stopped he said he wanted to go out on his back to go out on his shield! Money aside and there is a truck load to be sure Conor is an honorable combatant and should be applauded for it.
Had Conor won it would not have been an upset, it would have been a Moon Shot!
Yes, Floyd is aging, never a big puncher, cursed with fragile hands (early reports are that Floyd broke his hand again in the fight), much smaller than Conor, he’s a runner they say, he cherry picks… there are many criticisms of Floyd as a boxer. Some warranted some completely unfounded and ridiculous.
In the end, some things remain certain – like it or not – water is wet, the sky is blue and Floyd Money Mayweather is TBE, 50-0 … The Best Ever.