For some, it was Floyd Mayweather’s most impressive bout. To others, it was an impressive rookie debut for Conor McGregor’s professional boxing career. For a match that started out as a spectacle when it was first announced earlier this year, it actually finished as a quality bout between two hyped fighters. Mayweather put his undefeated record on the line and McGregor took his first boxing match against perhaps the best fighter of all time. Who benefitted the most? Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley, of the AFRO Sports Desk debate this question.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Conor McGregor pose during a news conference after a super welterweight boxing match Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Green: I was blown away by the storyline surrounding Mayweather, who arrived out of retirement at age 40 to square off against an unpredictable fighter, 11 years younger, with zero boxing tape on him to study. Yet, towards the end of the fight you would’ve thought that it was Mayweather who was the younger, fresher fighter. I forgot to mention Mayweather ran his record to 50-0 on his way back to being officially retired. Floyd once again earned his nickname “Money” one last final time on Saturday night.
Riley: Mayweather was awesome down the stretch but I know I can’t be the only one who sensed some concern in the early rounds when McGregor was surprisingly calm, cool and effective. Sure, the octagon fighter tired out in the later rounds but that should’ve been expected. Despite being new to the boxing ring, his unorthodox style and the faulty mechanics, there may be a future in boxing for McGregor if he chooses to pursue it. Mayweather clearly showed why he’s an all time great but it wasn’t a cakewalk as originally presumed. Mayweather was the biggest draw in boxing for a number of years but his fight against McGregor gave evidence that there may be a new big ticket in town.
Green: There will never be another ticket like Mayweather. You could almost automatically pencil him in for a win and an impressive showing anytime he took the ring. McGregor may disagree but I’m of the belief that you can’t just take a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, dress him up and call him a boxer. McGregor was effective early against Mayweather because there wasn’t any film on him to research. The more fights McGregor is exposed to the more game plans and blueprints that will come out for opposing fighters to use. You have polished boxers who have been training their whole career and then you have a street fighter trying to adjust on the fly to keeping his feet planted while trying to make up the difference in experience and skills. McGregor was surprising early on but I’m not so sure any skilled boxer would’ve been able to wear him down over the course of 12 rounds like Mayweather did.
Riley: The potential is definitely there for McGregor but it’s up to him. For everything that went wrong for the Irishman, it was to be expected for a boxer fighting professionally for the first time. You can nitpick at his game but the only glaring thing wrong with his performance was his conditioning. There was no fear and he looked strong early on against the top boxer in the country. Congrats to Mayweather on a storybook career, but there’s some new juice floating around boxing and I’m hoping that McGregor can stick with it. Hopefully, we’ll see him again soon.