McGregor vs Mayweather, the show of shows

On Saturday, August 26, 2017, it was Boxing vs MMA, and Boxing won.

Some people claimed it was just going to be a repeat of the Holly Holm destruction of Rhonda Rousey even though that fight, won by Holm, ended with a leg kick. Saturday’s highly anticipated meeting between MMA fighter, Conor McGregor and Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. was further proof that the two sports are as different as Ping Pong and Tennis. That’s why you don’t see Swiss tennis star Roger Federer, who has won 19 Grand Slam singles titles, challenging any of the top Chinese Ping Pong Champions. 

So, what made this Mayweather versus McGregor match so enticing and had people visiting their local theater, sports bar or purchasing the PPV event to host a party at home? You had a 40-year-old semi-retired, welterweight boxer from Las Vegas, Nevada by way of Grand Rapids, Michigan with a professional boxing record of 49-0, 26 KOs (26-0 with 10 KOs in world title fights), taking on the much younger, 29-year-old, super welterweight Mixed Martial Artist Conor McGregor from Dublin, Ireland who was making his Pro boxing debut in a 12 round junior middleweight bout wearing 8-ounce gloves at the catch weight of 154 pounds. It must have been their charisma. Or was it their swagger, ostentatious, brash display of arrogance and conceit? That’s more like it.

As a Mixed Martial Artist, McGregor had a record of 21-3 with 18 KOs/TKOs, a submission win, plus 2 decision wins. His only losses: a rear naked choke submission to Nate Diaz on March 5, 2016, an Arm-Triangle Choke submission to Joseph Duffy on November 27, 2010, and a knee bar submission to the 5’6″ tall Artemij Sitenkov from Vale Tudo MMA Academy, Lithuania, on June 28, 2008, in Dublin, Ireland. Over an 11 year MMA career, the formidable Mr. Sitenkov now has a record of 15 wins with 16 losses, 0 KOs, 0 TKOs. That info tends to poke holes into how invincible Mr. McGregor really is. 

Ready for the Smithsonian Museum near you. The 34-year-old mixed martial artist Artemij Sitenkov, shown here holding up the red trunks he wore on the night he defeated Conor McGregor is planning to auction them off to benefit a local charity. The first man to defeat McGregor recounts: “On that night, Conor ‘cried’ and I got 500 euros.” Photo courtesy of Artem Sitenkov

So how did this mega-fight turn out? After a two year retirement, there didn’t appear to be much rust in the performance of the former boxing champion as he methodically outlasted the chest beating, impertinent, spunky, two division, UFC champion scoring a TKO stoppage in the 10th round of their scheduled 12 round bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Initially, the taller, heavier, bigger framed man, Conor McGregor, looked to be in charge and had his moments of appearing to the be the flashier of the two.

Then, in the heat of battle, the more experienced, more accurate puncher, better-conditioned fighter, and definitely more composed boxer took control.

As they say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. The most humorous “Meme” from this event has McGregor grabbing Mayweather from behind which if you recall is quite similar to that famous scene in the movie Titanic where Leonardo De Caprio is standing behind Kate Winslet at the bow of the ship.

Early on, McGregor was the aggressor while the more careful and patient Mayweather kept looking for flaws in the Mixed Martial Artist’s aggressive style. By the fourth round, the tide started to turn and the champion began to assert himself with the sharper, more telling blows to both the midsection and face. By the end of the fifth round, Mayweather’s punches were landing from every conceivable angle and gone was the cocky look on McGregor’s face as he began to tire.

One thing that McGregor continued to do was foul his opponent with these punches to the back of the neck. Twice, McGregor was warned to stop this tactic and yet he continued unabated for another nine to 10 times. In MMA these destructive punches are called “Hammerfists.” As mentioned, multiple times, McGregor was warned by the referee to stop this dangerous tactic. But no, McGregor continued over and over to pound Mayweather on the back of his neck, obviously hoping that one of these punches would render Mayweather unconscious, the same way you or I would be affected by a karate chop, a karate chop that could restrict your air flow to your brain or injure your spinal column. The spinal cord functions primarily in the transmission of nerve signals from the motor cortex to the body, and from the afferent fibers of the sensory neurons to the sensory cortex. It is also a center for coordinating many reflexes and contains reflex arcs that can independently control reflexes and the central pattern generators. Anyone who fights MMA is fully aware of how these hammer-fists can limit an opponent’s ability to fight. By ignoring the veteran referee’s command to stop, McGregor was demonstrating that he had absolutely no respect for the referee or the rules of boxing. Not once did McGregor hesitate from thumping Mayweather on the back of his head whenever the opportunity presented itself. All told there were 11 separate incidents of rabbit punching or hammer fisting which should have drawn at least a point penalty leading to a disqualification. And yet, repeatedly, there was referee Robert Byrd cowering, demonstrating that he didn’t have the courage to act in accordance with what he knew to be wrong, and especially in front of such a large audience.

Why would he neglect his responsibility? You might think it was because everyone would later say, that referee was in on the fix. And with that kind of talk, there is always some kind of repercussions.

Addendum added: In a conversation between Joe Rogan and Brendan Schaube on Rogan’s podcast, it was disclosed that when Conor McGregor signed on the dotted line to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. in this boxing match, there was some concern that the mixed martial artist’s instincts would kick in at some point and he would start fouling Mayweather almost nonstop. That’s why the Mayweather people had a clause written into their contract that would fine McGregor $10 million dollars for each of these discretions that lead to a one point or more penalty. Referee Dennis Byrd would have been advised about this and therefore under some pressure to hold back on declaring any foul that would lead to McGregor’s disqualification and could possibly eat up his entire purse. So, if McGregor were to have his wires crossed and suddenly pull all sorts of Martial Arts moves/dirty tactics, then he could have seen his purse, his $30 million dollar purse disappear. That responsibility or burden would have weighed heavily on Mr. Byrd.

By the 10th round, it was clear McGregor had slowed considerably and his offense was almost nil. This was when Mayweather went all out and started chasing McGregor who kept backing up as each of Mayweather’s punches landed square on his face. A sharp, right cross to the head followed and this staggered McGregor who then had to hold on to Mayweather’s waist to avoid dropping to his knees. Soon after, the formerly apathetic referee ruled that McGregor could no longer defend himself and moved in to halt the contest. The time of this TKO stoppage came at one minute and five seconds of the 10th round with Mayweather comfortably ahead on all three scorecards. Judge Burt Clemens had scored it 89-82, Dave Moretti 87-83 and Guido Cavalleri had it 89-81, all for Mayweather. Giving credit where credit is due, most boxing fans felt McGregor had done much better than expected. With the win, number 50 without a loss, Floyd Mayweather Jr. had passed Rocky Marciano’s formidable mark of 49 wins without a loss. 

With so many eyes watching this fight and so much money exchanging hands, it goes without saying that everyone, right or wrong, had an opinion about this contest and here is a sampling compiled by the great one, former MMA promoter Roy Nickerson:

“So, here is my summary from the boxing/MMA Facebook experts:
1) He should have been bobbing when he was weaving.
2) He should have hit him more, I would have hit him more and way harder.
3) Conor was never in trouble.
4) Conor was always in trouble.
5) Conor clearly won 5 rounds, Floyd clearly won 8 rounds (in a 10 round fight?)
6) Conor needs to work on his technique. He should have had his right hand down at all times so he has it loaded and ready for his famous knock out punch. Because that’s where the power of a punch is generated from.
7) Floyd is only a counter puncher that fights defensively and runs in ALL of his fights including this one. That’s why Conor was gassing out because he had to chase Floyd all night.

Open your minds fellow facebookers, there is a lot to learn from the plethora of experts now available to us on Facebook, and as you can see from the above, I learned a lot about boxing and MMA last night because I have learned to listen.”

One last thing, if you ever plan on going to one of these mega-fights in Las Vegas, might we suggest you take this gent (a gate crasher from the U. K.) with you. He even got himself a selfy with the recluse, Mike Tyson. 

Addendum added on Tuesday morning August 29: The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the pay amounts for every fight on the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing card, and all we have to say is it’s good to be Floyd and Conor. According to the NSAC documents, the two pocketed purses of $100 million and $30 million respectively, and those numbers don’t include their pay-per-view cuts that are likely to triple the amount made by each man.

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