Floyd Mayweather Jr. will sail into his third retirement with his perfect boxing record intact. The former five-division world champion earned his 50th win in as many professional bouts with a technical knockout of Conor McGregor in the 10th round.
McGregor was the aggressor from the outset during his debut in the squared circle. The UFC superstar faced only a few real punches from Mayweather early on, including just six in Round 1. That left McGregor, ever the showman, enough time and space to taunt his opponent by briefly tying his hands behind his back.
According to CompuBox, Mayweather threw just 59 punches through the first four rounds combined—six fewer than McGregor attempted in the fourth round alone.
From that point on, Mayweather took more and more control of the fight. While McGregor looked gassed, Mayweather appeared to barely break a sweat. By Round 6, the latter's punches were coming harder and faster. Over the final five rounds, Mayweather landed 130 punches to McGregor's 60, after Conor had outlanded him 51-40 across Rounds 1-5.
McGregor, though, wouldn't quit. He connected on some strong left hands and combos in the eighth round, and came out swinging in the ninth before Mayweather made him eat shot after shot. The gap between the two widened in Round 10, when Mayweather hit McGregor with a hailstorm of punches and Conor could hardly respond. With 1:05 left in the round, and Mayweather ready to finish off his latest (and last) foe, referee Robert Byrd stepped in to stop the fight in a TKO.
At that point, Mayweather was already well ahead of McGregor on the judges' scorecards. Guido Cavalleri scored it 89-81, Burt Clements 89-82 and Dave Moretti 87-83—all in favor of Mayweather. Here's how the judges' scorecards looked, courtesy of ESPN's Arash Markazi:
McGregor, then, was well on his way to losing by unanimous decision had the fight gone the distance. But that didn't stop the 29-year-old Irishman from questioning Byrd's decision to call the fight without McGregor hitting the mat. As he told Showtime's Jim Gray during his post-fight interview:
"I've been here before. I've been strangled on live TV and come back, so I really wish he had let it go. I thought it was close. I get a little wobbly when I'm fatigued, similar to the Diaz 2 fight. That's exactly what it was—fatigue. That's why I thought the ref could have let it go a little longer. Let me go down. Let the man put me down. Wobbly or fatigued, that's energy, that's not damage. I'm clear headed."
The punch counts pointed to a wide divide between the two combatants. While McGregor swung 110 more times than Mayweather, Floyd landed 59 more blows and more than doubled up Conor in percentage.
Still, it was a valiant effort from McGregor—one that Mayweather was quick to acknowledge in victory.
"He's a lot better than I thought he'd be," he said during his post-fight interview. "He's a tough competitor, but I was the better man tonight."
According to ESPN's Micah Adams, McGregor not only out-punched Las Vegas' expectations, but he landed more blows than Manny Pacquiao did during his 2015 megafight against Mayweather.
After the bout, Mayweather made it clear that he was done boxing, that his 50th fight would be his last and his third retirement final—following a late night of celebratory festivities, of course.
"Tonight was my last fight," Mayweather said. "Tonight I chose the right dance partner to dance with."
But will McGregor trade blows and twinkle toes again after taking home what could be a nine-figure payday from this foray into the ring?
"I don't know," McGregor said. "I'm having a ball."
Might McGregor make his way back to the Octagon?
"Yeah, of course," he replied. "The game changes every time we grow and we see what's what."
While Mayweather's time in the limelight may be over, the next phase of McGregor's fascinating fighting career has only just begun.