Floyd Mayweather Jr. has admitted he was "shocked" by Conor McGregor's skill in the boxing ring after the star of UFC lasted nearly 10 rounds before losing by technical knockout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday.
Mayweather forced a stoppage in the 10th, but he saluted how McGregor surprised him, per MMAFighting.com:
Mayweather may have been shocked by what he saw, but McGregor typically wasn't. Instead, the latter criticised the Mayweather camp for consistently doubting his versatility and ability to successfully navigate a different fight discipline:
Despite McGregor's words, Mayweather was right to be surprised by what McGregor threw at him. The Irishman was the aggressor early on, landing some heavy shots in the opening rounds.
McGregor's fast adaptation to the rigours of boxing didn't just leave Mayweather surprised. ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto was also left reeling by the way the star of UFC got up to speed between the ropes:
In addition to landing his own share of telling punches, McGregor also showed laudable stamina and toughness. He never left his feet, despite absorbing gruelling punishment as the fight progressed, particularly during the ninth round, a round belonging almost exclusively to Mayweather.
The latter may have been giving up 11 years in age, along with some size, but Mayweather still entered this bout as an undefeated great of the modern boxing world. Being pushed as far as he was is a credit to McGregor, a novice in the professional ranks.
Ultimately, the Irishman surprising Mayweather created an entertaining and credible fight. Credibility was something many felt this crossover bout lacked in the build-up.
However, McGregor's surprising skills ensured it lived up to the billing.