McGregor eyes more money fights as Mayweather retires

Reuters
Floyd Mayweather outclasses Conor McGregor by technical knockout, securing his place in boxing history to head into retirement with a record 50th straight victory.
Reuters
AFP

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. heads to a neutral corner as referee Richard Byrd stops the fight against MMA figher Connor McGregor in the 10th round at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 26, 2017. Undefeated welterweight world champion Mayweather overcame a spirited start from a brave but outclassed McGregor, dominating from the fourth round onwards.

Described as the fight the fans asked for by the executives who made it happen, Saturday's clash between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor was only ever about one thing — money.

Having beaten the Irish pretender with a 10th-round technical knockout, Mayweather can retire with a perfect 50-0 record and a payday said to be worth up to US$300 million, and the American has promised never to return to the ring.

McGregor, however, is a different story.

His US$30-million purse for the fight is 10 times his previous best disclosed purse from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where, as he says, he endures "shinbones to the head" as he makes his living.

In the altogether more genteel surroundings of the boxing ring, he made a lot more money with a lot less damage, and his appetite has surely been whetted by the enormous riches on offer.

McGregor has made no secret of his desire for more.

Asked what he liked most about his boxing experience, "Money" Mayweather prompted UFC lightweight champion McGregor to say the cash.

"The check is alright. The check is not bad," the Irishman laughed as he sipped his own "Notorius"-brand whisky on the podium of the post-fight media conference.

"I've already been raising the MMA (mixed martial arts) checks. I'm still going to be raising the MMA checks when I go back there," he added.

The 29-year-old has started his own website, a clothing line and a number of other businesses, and he was clearly delighted to see the logo of his latest venture, McGregor Sports and Entertainment, in the ring at Saturday's fight in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The value of his brand, however, stems from what he does in the ring or the octagon and the brash personality he displays as he goes about his sporting business.

UFC president Dana White is keen for McGregor's boxing experiment to end sooner rather than later, and said that he was in a position to offer McGregor similar riches for MMA bouts.

"If our fights do what the (pay-per-view) buys did here tonight, and the gate, we'll all be good, trust me. Nobody will be bitching about anything," White told reporters.

"It takes two very special people in the right place at the right time to do the freakish kind of numbers and the watercooler talk that these guys had. You've got to have the right people in the right place at the right time."

Biggest pay-per-view sales

With Mayweather, holder of a handful of the biggest pay-per-view sales of all time, vacating the stage at the age of 40, there is an opening for McGregor to move in and take over as the biggest draw in combat sports.

The problem is that there are few prospective opponents for him in either boxing or MMA who can generate that kind of interest.

A bitter training-camp row between McGregor and boxer Paulie Malignaggi might provide the kind of intrigue that would get fans to part with their money to see them face each other in the ring, but McGregor is most likely to return to the octagon to fight Nate Diaz.

Diaz gave McGregor his first UFC defeat in a 170-pound matchup in 2016, which McGregor avenged months later with an epic five-round decision victory at the same T-Mobile Arena, before going on to win the organization's lightweight title.

With the teak-tough Californian more than a match for McGregor in terms of trash talk, a trilogy fight to bring that rivalry to a close is about the only thing that would make sense — and the required amount of dollars — for McGregor at this point.

In the ring on Saturday, former welterweight champion Mayweather, who had come out of a two-year retirement to take on the Irish MMA star, bided his time before exerting his superiority from the middle rounds onwards at the T-Mobile Arena, AFP reports.

The end came in the 10th round with a tired McGregor doubled over on the ropes as Mayweather landed two hard left hooks, prompting referee Robert Byrd to intervene as a 14,623 crowd with A-list celebrities roared their approval.

"He's a lot better than I thought he'd be," a jubilant Mayweather said of McGregor. "He's a tough competitor, but ?I? was the better man tonight."

Mayweather's perfect 50-0 record, as he heads into what he says is a permanent retirement, is one better than heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano.

The American rejected suggestions that his 50th win, against a novice boxer, would be destined to have an asterisk against it.

"A win is a win, no matter how you get it," Mayweather said. "Rocky Marciano is a legend and I look forward to going into the Hall of Fame one day.

"This was my last fight tonight. For sure. Tonight I chose the right dance partner to dance with."

Special Reports
Top