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Most onlookers – myself included – gave former UFC featherweight and current lightweight champion Conor McGregor almost no hope of defeating the most accomplished boxer of the past 30 years.
Floyd Mayweather, who is guaranteed to become boxing’s first billionaire after today’s bout, had too many tools at his disposal against McGregor, the UFC’s most famous knockout puncher who was making his pro boxing debut.
That doesn’t mean the Irishman didn’t have his moments, though. The bigger, more powerful fighter, who had inflated up to 170-pounds after weigh-ins, was able to land several impactful blows on Mayweather, who barely threw a punch during the opening rounds.
In the fourth it became apparent that it was all strategy when he broke the fourth wall, stopping mid-fight to wink at ringside commentator ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard.
“That was our gameplan,” Mayweather explained after the fight. “We wanted him to shoot with heavy shots in the beginning.”
McGregor, who had never fought more than 25 minutes in his mixed martial arts career, was simply unprepared to fight at Mayweather’s pace, throwing less and less with every round that passed by.
By the tenth, Mayweather’s constant pressure proved to be too much, with the referee calling a halt to the fight while ‘Money May’ pounded on the still-standing Irishman.
In what he claims is his farewell fight, Mayweather delivered with his most entertaining fight in at least a half-decade, putting an end to his reign of terror on pay-per-view, selling the age-old story of good-versus-evil $100 at a time.
The arrogant multi-millionaire has cultivated a pro wrestling-esque persona as “The Ted DiBiase of boxing”, who lives in a 22,000 square-foot mansion and flaunts his wealth at every turn.
Behind the fake bad guy gimmick, is an even worse human. A true ghoul, an unrepentant serial woman beater with a record that includes physical assaults of at least five different women in the not-so-distant past.
And, as sadistic as it sounds, his out-of-the-ring episodes have all helped to line his already fat pockets.
Fans pay a small fortune for a ridiculously overpriced ticket or whip out their credit card to witness a Mayweather fight in hopes that the serial abuser will end his night looking up at the ceiling lights.
But he never does.
This time, the story was a little different. To make Mayweather-McGregor the most lucrative fight in the history of combat sports, the cerebral villain needed to convince the public that he might actually lose this time.
The public already believed that Ricky Hatton was the blue-collar underdog capable of cleaning Mayweather’s clock. They believed baby-faced ‘Canelo’ was up to the task. And they believed Manny Pacquiao could win ‘The Fight of The Century.’
It was harder to convince ticket and pay-per-view buyers that a relative novice could even lay a glove on the most accomplished boxer of the past three decades.
Mayweather planted seeds of doubt in the back of your mind to make you ask the question “what if?”.
“What if McGregor lands that left hand?”
“What if Mayweather comes in underprepared?”
Mayweather hyped up McGregor’s chances, told the press that he was over-the-hill, campaigned to fight in smaller gloves, ate greasy fast food days before the fight, and spent the week leading up to the fight “partying” at his Las Vegas strip club which he misogynistically named Girl Collection.
But when the bell sounded, the result was never really in doubt.