Published Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 | 7 p.m.
Updated Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017 | 12:06 a.m.
Floyd Mayweather more than maintained his reputation as boxing’s most masterful tactician in what he said was the final fight of his career Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
The 40-year-old Mayweather improved to 50-0 after coming out of a two-year retirement by executing a game plan he implemented in training camp flawlessly to beat UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor via 10th round TKO. Mayweather wanted to allow McGregor to attack early before turning up his own aggression in the middle rounds to set up a late finish.
McGregor won each of the opening three rounds on most media scorecards, as well one judges’, but he didn’t stand a chance once Mayweather figured out his timing. Mayweather worked combinations that focused on landing body shots starting in the fourth round, and the punches exhausted McGregor.
“We know in MMA he fights for 25 minutes,” Mayweather said immediately afterwards in the ring. “After 25 minutes, he started to slow down. I guaranteed everybody this wouldn’t go the distance.”
It wasn’t a clean knockout, as McGregor never hit the canvas but he looked unable to defend himself as Mayweather connected with numerous unanswered combinations. Referee Robert Byrd stepped in at 1:05 of the 10th round to end the bout.
McGregor praised Mayweather’s composure, but protested the stoppage.
“There was a lot on the line there,” McGregor said. “He should have let me keep going. I was just a little fatigued.”
Although Mayweather plotted to let McGregor use aggression early, he said that the first-time boxer excelled more than he expected. McGregor came from unique angles, landing jabs to go with a pair of uppercuts that momentarily affected Mayweather.
But Mayweather stayed the course, and it wasn’t long before he was the one applying the pressure. The fight went just as he planned.
“I said I wouldn’t back up,” Mayweather said, “and that’s what I did.”
Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com later for more coverage of Mayweather vs. McGregor.
A fight that once felt like a far-fetched fantasy is only a short time away from becoming reality.
The world’s most popular boxer takes on the world’s most popular mixed martial artist. Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor should enter the ring at T-Mobile Arena at approximately 8:15, with the first bell expected shortly afterwards.
Mayweather returns in an attempt to improve to 50-0, which would break Rocky Marciano’s heralded record, after just short of a two-year layoff. Few believed Mayweather’s retirement would last — this was the second time he said he was done with boxing — but in 2015, even fewer people believed it would be a UFC champion to lure him back into activity.
That’s a testament to the meteoric rise of McGregor over the last two years, as he’s won three UFC titles and became the first in promotional history to simultaneously hold two belts in different weight classes. A war of words with Mayweather once felt cheeky, an amusing aside in combat sports that would never develop into anything more.
But McGregor then showed his power at the box office, leading a string of the best selling pay-per-views in UFC history that Mayweather couldn’t ignore. He couldn’t pass up another payday in excess of $200 million.
McGregor should make at least $100 million off of tonight’s bout, which promoters are still hopeful will beat out Mayweather vs. Pacquiao for the richest of all-time.
Las Vegas Sun will be ringside for the fight. Follow along with our round-by-round live blog here, and check back throughout the night for more coverage.