5 Truths in the Aftermath of Mayweather vs. McGregor
Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather HIGHLIGHTS | MAYWEATHER VS. McGREGOR
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By David Berry: Saturday night brought us the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor 154-pound showdown that was as anticipated as it was unexpected. And in many ways, the bout defied expectations in a way that should've left most viewers satisfied, outside of the atrocious Demi Lovato national anthem.
Expectedly, Mayweather took some time to warm up, then marched through the middle rounds of the fight in full control. But he did so with an unexpected style, walking McGregor down and firing straight right hands and left hooks until referee Robert Byrd stepped in to call off the action in the 10th round. So what did we learn in the aftermath of the mega event?
5. Floyd Mayweather is no longer a top fighter. And that's not an insult. At the age of 40, and after two years of no ring activity, you had to sense that Mayweather may have finally slipped a bit. He has. Arguments can be made that we saw signs of him starting to deteriorate back in the Miguel Cotto fight, and against Marcos Maidana as well. But even against a converted MMA fighter making his pro debut, Mayweather had some surprisingly difficult moments, even getting caught with a counter uppercut in round one, the type of punch that an A-level fighter typically does not get caught with. That's not to say that Mayweather ever appeared in trouble, but it took him longer to find his groove than some might have expected. Nevertheless, Mayweather moves to 50-0 (27KO). And it made for a fight that was fun to watch.
4. Floyd Mayweather is gritty. It's perhaps the most underrated quality of his entire career. Critics would have you believe that Floyd's career was predicated on being the type of fighter who "ran" from exchanges in the ring, but in reality, he was mostly too good for his opponents to ever catch him cleanly. Their fault; not his. (And lest we forget, in his run in the lower weight classes up to 135 pounds, Floyd was a defensive master and an offensive monster). Nevertheless, in a fight where Mayweather theoretically could've boxed his way to a wide decision, he instead stalked down an opponent 11 years his junior, with a functional 20-plus pound weight advantage. Sure, you can argue that he did it against an uninitiated boxer. But after 50 pro fights, just ask guys like Shane Mosley or Zab Judah what Mayweather is made of. "Grit" is an adjective that Money has earned, and he proved it again on Saturday by fighting aggressively against a bigger opponent.
3. Conor McGregor is a legitimate badass. For the brash talker that Mayweather has been since turning heel before the Oscar De la Hoya fight in 2007, Conor McGregor stole the show in the ongoing build-up to this fight, and he made himself appear a legitimate threat from the time it was announced. When the PPV numbers are finally tallied, it will largely be to his credit that the event was such a massive success. But when the bell rang, his advantages were all supposed to go out the window. Conventional wisdom said that McGregor lacked the experience and in-ring nuance to make things competitive. But when the first bell did ring, McGregor came out balanced and boxing, light on his feet and using every inch of his reach advantage. He jabbed and kept Mayweather at distance. He pivoted to create angles. And he legitimately created a puzzle that took Mayweather the better part of two rounds to figure out. McGregor didn't come to collect a paycheck, he came to win. In another lifetime, had McGregor spent his life training as a boxer instead of an MMA fighter, he may very well have become a star in this sport instead.
2. Gervonta Davis is the next Adrien Broner. Davis' star was on a meteoric rise after his vicious beatdown of undefeated Jose Pedraza to win the IBF super featherweight title two fights ago. When he blitzed through Liam Walsh in the U.K. in his subsequent first defense, Davis looked like the real deal, though admittedly against the type of opponents he should be blitzing through. Nevertheless, as boxing's then-youngest world champion, he seemed worthy of some of the hype that had come his way. That went out the window on the scales at the weigh-in on Friday, the day before he was set to fight on the biggest stage of his career. Davis missed the 130 pound weight limit by two pounds and was stripped of his title. Then, even with an in-ring weight advantage over Francisco Fonseca - who two fights ago was in against a guy with a 6-16 record - Davis looked disinterested or befuddled at times, sometimes both. Fonseca tested Davis prior to a controversial and questionable stoppage victory in the 8th round, but the damage was done. Davis looked ordinary against a fighter who was there as a showcase opponent. One fight ago, Davis was the next big thing. Now, he's without a world title and seemingly unable to make the 130 pound weight limit, as he's rumored to be moving to 135 pounds in his next fight. Remind you of someone? (Hint: It's Adrien Broner). Davis is a small, stocky guy. His power is impressive at 130 pounds, but he'll be undersized with less-impressive power at lightweight. Against the creme de la creme of that weight class - Jorge Linares, Mikey Garcia, Robert Easter - can you really see Davis being a threat? This scribe thinks the answer is a firm "no."
1. Both combatants should retire. Floyd Mayweather should retire because he's among the richest athletes alive and he's 40. Conor McGregor should retire because he is must-see TV and he doesn't have to get in fights for that to be true. Before writing this statement off on its face, think about it. Who out there can McGregor fight that will earn him remotely close to the $100 million or so that he'll likely take home for the Mayweather fight? No one, at least anytime soon. If he invests well - unlike the guy he was in the ring with - McGregor and generations of his lineage can live very comfortably for years to come. In combat sports, there are few late-life success stories - health and wealth intact - but McGregor could be one of them. On the flip side, McGregor loves the camera and, much to his advantage, the camera loves him back. He's as beloved as he is hated, and there are few athletes or entertainers alive who can convincingly be both. You mean to tell me McGregor couldn't have his own TV show like the Kardashians do? That he couldn't do a fine job as a foul-mouthed panelist on Shark Tank sitting next to Mark Cuban? Or hell, maybe he could run for office...
What's your take?
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