So far, I have written more than four columns on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight. And this may be my last on the matter. But before proceeding, let me give credit to the protagonists: McGregor lasted 10 rounds that few expected and he refused to go down; and Mayweather, even at 40 years old, stuck to his prediction the fight won’t go the distance.
In a mixed martial arts fight, Mayweather would not have lasted a minute. This is the same as saying an elite Formula One driver will likely crash out in the off-road segment of a rally even if he took a crash course on rally driving. But then, it was McGregor who challenged Mayweather to boxing match, which I find very courageous. Now, go ask yourself – will top F1 driver Lewis Hamilton try his luck in the World Rally Championships just to show he is better than Sebastian Ogier? No way! If that happened, Hamilton will likely spin out in the first two kilometers in the off-tarmac portions of the WRC races, which would be very embarrassing.
Now that the dust has settled, some lessons can be learned from the fight:
1. Stare downs are immaterial—the stare downs during the pre-fight events clearly showed McGregor winning. So a number of bloggers and vloggers hypothesized Mayweather would lose. I even saw a video post stating that Mike Tyson started destruction of his opponents from the stare down, and the same applied to the Mayweather-McGregor fight. But then, we have seen many times how Manny Pacquiao would let his opponents get the better of him during stare downs. And how many times has Pacquiao deposited his opponents to the canvass or beat them to a pulp?
2. Never expect a fighter to stick to his template—from the fifth round, it was Mayweather who actively did the stalking and was backing up McGregor. Suddenly Mayweather looked like Evander Holyfield! I believe McGregors’ camp did not expect Mayweather to do the stalking in the latter rounds, because the American never fought that way in the past years. That reminded me of the only fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman where Foreman’s camp expected Ali to dance around and rely much on his jabs. Instead, Ali elected to stay in front of the much bigger Foreman, trade punches until his lead right found its range. Ali knocked out Foreman in the 8th round.
3. Skip listening to fools for analysis—There’s this episode of “Undisputed” where Floyd Mayweather Sr. was grilled by one of the hosts Skip Bayless, who told the elder Mayweather “There’s no way your son can hurt him [McGregor]”, “You’re son is too old,” and that the younger Mayweather would simply dance or avoid getting hit so the judges would hand him the victory to protect boxing. Crazy! So next time when so-called “analysts” sound unreal, skip listening to them. So I skipped listening to Skip Bayless from the time I heard his ridiculous views on the fight over YouTube.
4. Thankfully, boxing has been “sanitized”—the referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight after McGregor took unanswered shots. There was no point in making the Irish take more punches till he dropped, because he was already tired and could not see Mayweather’s punches coming. If this fight was held at least two decades back, the referee would have allowed Mayweather to pummel McGregor more, which would likely send the Irish fighter to the hospital for possible brain injuries. Remember there were fears McGregor could get badly hurt from the fight, as echoed by boxer Amir Khan.
5. Losers are not losers all the time—Okay, so Mcgregor lost by stoppage, but he earned more fans for his gallant stand and his showmanship prior to the fight. This is the first time I witnessed such in recent fight history! He literally stole the hearts of fight fans worldwide, and was never unsettled even if many quarters doubted he would win. So next time a gallant fighter loses, let us not label him or her a loser.
So will there be another boxing bout like Mayweather-McGregor?
That’s a good question.