Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather look back on their 10-round battle.
USA TODAY Sports
Floyd Mayweather started slowly Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and let Conor McGregor dominate the action in the first several rounds.
But that was Mayweather’s plan all along. And he came on strong in the last six rounds of the fight before referee Robert Byrd stopped it in the 10th as McGregor was so tired he could barely stand up, and was unable to defend himself.
Here are three keys to the victory by the heavily favored Mayweather:
1. Follow the game plan: Mayweather said it was his trainer father’s game plan to let McGregor tire himself out early. Mayweather had to deal with some awkward and often illegal (hammerfist punches are not allowed in boxing) punches from McGregor through the first several rounds, and defend himself from the early relentlessness of McGregor’s attack and awkward angles. It was like nothing Mayweather had ever seen before, but his game plan worked to perfection, as McGregor began to tire in the middle rounds, and by the 10th was completely gassed.
Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis tweeted: “Boxers are conditioned to go 12 rounds. All FM had to do was take him to deep water & drown him … any good boxer would have done the same!”
2. Mental toughness: After getting smacked around early, Mayweather never panicked, even knowing that one solid punch from the bigger McGregor could have dropped him. He remained calm and stayed within the game plan, not letting the awkwardness of McGregor’s attack and some illegal punches throw him off of his game. Nobody gets to 50-0 in his career without being mentally tough during times of duress. The 40-year-old Mayweather passed with flying colors, even after being out of the sport for two years.
3. Winning for his sport: Mayweather knew his sport’s reputation was at risk, and that a loss to a boxing novice by the greatest fighter of his generation would have been devastating for the sweet science. Mayweather was not going to be denied, even though he might have thrown a little scare into the boxing fans watching. “I guaranteed everybody this fight wouldn’t go the distance,” he said. “Boxing’s reputation was on the line.”
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