This past Saturday's fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was supposed to a mismatch, but it ended up lasting for ten rounds with the Irish UFC superstar besting the boxing legend at certain moments.
Going into the highly anticipated match, which took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Mayweather, 40, was a perfect 49-0 while McGregor, 29, was competing in his first-ever professional boxing match.
It was supposed to be a one-sided beating from Mayweather on McGregor, but it didn't turn out this way as the millions of fans around the world witnessed.
Even though Mayweather emerged as the victor, the question remains: Why did it take so long for Mayweather to finish McGregor off in the fight?
Floyd Mayweather's Plan
Mayweather essentially gave away the first three rounds of the fight, but he never seemed to be in any real trouble. Part of the reason behind his slow start was that Mayweather was learning his opponent, who used techniques far different than that of a typical boxer.
Before going into a fight, Mayweather forgoes watching film of his opposition. Therefore, he had a lot of catching up to do in the first few rounds. While Mayweather has faced almost every type of boxer, he never faced anyone quite like McGregor before, as he comes from a much different background.
For the casual fan, McGregor's unorthodox striking tactics might not have seemed that bizarre. However, for someone who had never boxed in a professional match in his life, McGregor presented an all new type of challenge for Mayweather that required some adjusting on the champ's side.
At the beginning rounds of the fight when McGregor was fresh and strong, he was throwing forceful punches at Mayweather. However, most of them were blocked and slipped off Mayweather just enough as to avoid a serious blow.
When the bell sounded to end Round 3, Mayweather was smiling at McGregor. Mayweather had formulated his plan to win at that point.prevnext
Mayweather Implements His Strategy
At the start of Round 4, Mayweather began executing his plan of dismantling McGregor.
Mayweather was playing more defensive in the first few rounds, but he came out swinging in the fourth, establishing a lead right hand and creating effective punching angles.
For those who don't know, Bleacher Report describes the idea behind creating a punching angle as: "A fighter wants to have his feet and body positioned so that it is easy for him to land punches while his opponent cannot. Call it Advance Boxing Geometry, and Mayweather is as good at it as any fighter in history."
The tables started to turn in the fight when Mayweather landed a devastating right to McGregor's face. Up to this point, Mayweather had been focusing on throwing body shots at McGregor. While the payoff to targeting the body doesn't necessarily play out in that particular round, often times it will pay dividends later.
As a boxing vet, Mayweather also continued to constantly move his head, refraining from keeping it in one place for too long. McGregor was winded and had a consistently more stationary frame that made him more vulnerable to being hit.
At the end of Round 5, Mayweather shoved McGregor as the two departed to go back to their corners. "Show me that power!" Mayweather said, taunting McGregor as he knew that the MMA superstar didn't have the energy left to do so.
Floyd Mayweather was done playing games with y'all. pic.twitter.com/4B1vILIAoF— Adel ?? (@__adel11) August 27, 2017
Mayweather Finally Overhwhelms McGregor
Throughout his career, Mayweather has shown that he doesn't rely on being a knockout puncher. However, he hits hard enough for his punches to take a toll on his opponent that eventually wears them down.
Mayweather refraining from delivering the full force knockout blow is a strategic move. He avoided foolhardily rushing forward to strike McGregor throughout the fight so that he could take him down with the accumulation of punches over the course of the bout.
McGregor even pointed out how Mayweather managed to keep himself "composed" throughout the match.
"He's composed, he's not that fast, he's not that powerful, but boy is he composed in there," McGregor said. "I thought it was close though, and I thought it was a bit of an early stoppage. I was just a little fatigued. He was just a lot more composed with his shots."
One could argue that Mayweather's composure is what sets him apart from the rest of the pack, and has made him one of the greatest boxers of all time.
The last two rounds of the fight were simply Mayweather's strategy at play. The referee, Robert Byrd, reasonably could have called the match in either round as Mayweather was landing head shot after head shot.
McGregor was eventually saved by the referee to end the fight in the tenth round, and it was clear that the bout needed to be called.0comments
After the match, Mayweather said: "This is my last fight, ladies and gentlemen. For sure. This is my last fight. Tonight, I chose the right dance partner to dance."
In conclusion, the reason that Mayweather took so long to finish off McGregor was because that's what he wanted. The champ chose to give the fans a match that was the most fun to watch and would leave a strong lasting impression for his legacy.
The final CompuBox stats for Mayweather-McGregor. pic.twitter.com/ZKiAHLyODa— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) August 27, 2017