It was all a dream—or so we thought. In fact, it may have begun here in New York City at the world’s most-famous arena, Madison Square Garden. It was during the news conference for the historic Ultimate Fight Championship 205 card, making its debut venture into the New York tristate area. The headliner of the show was fielding questions when he uttered aloud, “When I take this guy’s belt, I’m looking around and don’t see what anyone around here has for me. Maybe I need to jump up and take Floyd Mayweather out back,” said the then UFC featherweight, future lightweight champion Conor McGregor. Though it was meant to be trash talk, the idea began to take hold. What if they did fight?
The mixing of the two styles had been done before, most famously in the fight between championship boxer James “Lights Out” Toney and mixed-martial-artist Randy Couture, but neither was in their prime, and more importantly only purist fans in either sport were interested. The Mayweather versus McGregor bout had a different kind of intrigue, and would have to be fought in the boxing ring. There were many burning questions. Can an MMA fighter adapt? Having the physical advantages of youth, height, reach and weight would Connor overwhelm Mayweather who is now a 40-year-old man? Will he age in the ring right before our eyes?
What we knew going in was if these two fighters weren’t the best in their fields, which is arguable, they were head and shoulders above the pack in terms of fame, guaranteeing that the world would know about the fight. Unfortunately, an elephant in the room reared its ugly head. In some circles the issue of race became the focus, and on Aug. 26 after much ado “The Money Fight” was fought.
The outcome was what any sound observer of the two sports would expect. Mayweather scored a technical knockout in the 10th round. The journey, however, was surprising. Mayweather was expected to dominate but what we witnessed instead was a very competitive tussle, especially during the first three rounds.
McGregor's movements were unorthodox, his footwork was awkward and the punching angles were wild, yet his style worked. He actually landed a few punches, although they had no leverage or snap. He also began to see his words come back to haunt him. He promised to set a blistering pace that would wear out Mayweather, who he called the old man. Instead McGregor's strategy played into the hands of the wily veteran. “Our game plan was to take our time, go to him, let him shoot his shots early, and then take him out down the stretch. We know in MMA he fights for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, he started to slow down. I guaranteed to everybody that this wouldn't go the distance,” said Mayweather.
By the ninth round McGregor again became somewhat of a prophet. During the press tour for the fight he mockingly stated that Mayweather should dance for him. Yet it McGregor who was the dancing machine. After Mayweather landed a stiff, left jab McGregor's movements became the “Nay Nay” and a few missed combinations gave way to the “Running Man,” but it was only a matter of time before the bell tolled in round 10, after Mayweather threw a flurry of “stanky leg”-inducing right hands, causing the referee to call the fight.
Over and out, y’all. Holla next week.