How Mayweather Validated His Sport by Beating McGregor

The American boxer is now 50-0, yet his opponent can stand tall

As mixed martial arts and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) have grown in popularity in recent years, boxing has fallen to the side in the culture. It’s been seen as too rigid, too old-school, too slow for a fast-paced world of fighting within the octagon.

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The two sports came head-to-head Saturday night when Floyd Mayweather, 40, fought Conor McGregor, 29, in Las Vegas. The fight was one of the most watched in history, earning massive amounts of publicity ahead of time as well as speculation from fans and sports critics alike.

In the end, the American boxer walked away victorious. It wasn’t a surprise to many, as the Irishman went into the boxing ring with only amateur experience. Mayweather, meanwhile, now has a perfect record of 50 wins and 0 losses. And he confirmed after the bout that this fight was his last.

Few are likely looking down on McGregor, however, as the fighter managed to last 10 rounds with the person many consider to be the greatest living boxer. During the first four rounds, it seemed as though McGregor had an advantage as he scored numerous impressive jabs, while Mayweather appeared mostly on the defense.

Mayweather later told the media the low-key start was all part of his strategy. He knew McGregor would wear himself out, as the mixed martial artist was not used to longer fights in which he needed to rely on only a few body parts the majority of the time.

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After the fight was called, McGregor applauded his opponent but said the referee should have let him fight until he hit the ground. The referee called the match when McGregor had taken numerous face shots and began wavering and not fighting back. McGregor said his opponent was more “composed” than he expected.

Related: Mayweather vs. McGregor: Who’s Your Money on in the ‘Money Fight’?

Many wanted McGregor to win. He’s younger and part of a rising sport. Mayweather is a seasoned vet in a sport that’s been largely forgotten. His victory Saturday night was not just a win for him, but a much-needed validation for boxing. For those who thought it was a lesser form of MMA, they needed only to see how quickly McGregor tired out during the match. Despite his big talk about knocking out the boxer in the first four rounds, McGregor was outgunned.

Still, both men walked away winners. Aside from the major paydays both will be enjoying (Mayweather is said to have earned in excess of $100 million), McGregor lasted a long time with an undefeated boxer — though this was his first professional match. And Mayweather, with his perfect record, can just ride into the sunset.

(photo credit, homepage images: Andrius Petrucenia / DEWALT POWER TOOLS FIGHT NIGHT CLUB 2010, Flickr; photo credit, article image: Showtime)

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