One of the most over-hyped spectacles in the history of sports is finally over. On Saturday, Aug. 26th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather Jr won his 50th straight without a defeat, turning away Conor McGregor with a 10th round stoppage.
The outcome came as no surprise to loyal TSS readers. All of the pre-fight articles we published had a common thread, namely that the Irish MMA superstar, a former plumber’s apprentice, would discover that he had bitten off more than he could chew, notwithstanding the fact that his opponent was approaching his 41st birthday.
Conor McGregor won the first three rounds on one of the scorecards and in the minds of many ringside observers. He was simply busier. But entering the second half of the fight, he looked more fatigued than Mayweather. Conor’s punches, which never carried much steam, now carried even less. The end came with Mayweather Jr teeing off on a weary McGregor until referee Robert Byrd stepped in to stop it. Through the nine completed rounds, Mayweather was ahead by margins of four, seven, and eight points.
Worldwide, the betting on this fight may have surpassed the record for a single event. Irish bookmaking behemoth Paddy Power reported that the handle was at least three times as large as Mayweather-Pacquiao. The company actually paid out several large bets on Mayweather several days before the fight. Although this was designed as a publicity gimmick, the company would not have taken this action if their odds consultants hadn’t rated Mayweather a shoo-in.
In Las Vegas, there was a predictably late surge of large bets on Mayweather. The host property, the MGM Grand, reportedly accepted two $1 million bets on MoneyMay, the second coming on the afternoon of the fight. Those wagers were placed at odds of 11/2 (minus-550) and 6/1. It’s fair guess that some of the more aggressive properties in Nevada lost a little money on the fight. But the heavy action in their casino pits undoubtedly made up the shortfall.
ODDS AND ENDS
It was a typically late-arriving Las Vegas crowd. When the bell rang for the Cunningham-Tabiti match, the first of the three undercard fights on the pay-per-view portion of the show, the arena could not have been more than 15 percent full. The percentage was even lower in the priciest sections. But if history was any guide, the arena would eventually swell to capacity.
It never happened. There were still plenty of empty seats when the main event kicked off. One entire section was empty. The announced attendance was 14,623 but that seemed high. It will be interesting to see if pay-per-view sales also fall below expectations.
Gervonta Davis lost his IBF world super featherweight belt on the scales as he came in two pounds overweight and then he proceeded to struggle with unsung Francisco Fonseca of Costa Rica. Fonseca was workmanlike and he took the best punches that Davis threw in the early going. As the fight entered the middle rounds, Fonseca was gaining confidence and starting to work his game. But his gutsy performance was ultimately spoiled by a controversial ending.
In round eight, Fonseca went down from a punch that landed on the back of his head and took the 10-count on his knees. Referee Russell Mora ruled it a legal punch, advancing Gervonta’s record to 19-0 (18). The crowd booed the stoppage, but it was uncertain if they were booing Davis for his underwhelming effort or booing Fonseca who didn’t appear to be so discombobulated that he couldn’t beat the count.
Former super middleweight world champion Badou Jack made a seamless transition to the light heavyweight division by taking out Nathan Cleverly in round five to grab the WBC world title. Jack upped his punch output every round and by round four he had Cleverly bloodied. In round five, he caught Cleverly against the ropes and he would not let him off the hook. The ref stepped in to stop it at the 2:47 mark of the fifth with Cleverly covering up and not retaliating.
Cruiserweights Steve Cunningham and Andrew Tabiti went the full ten rounds in a methodical fight that saw Tabiti outbox the more experienced Cunningham throughout. The 41 year old Cunningham served as a test for Tabiti, who had never faced anyone as experienced, and Tabiti passed the test with a disciplined performance that the judges saw for Tabiti by scores of 97-93 twice and 100-90.
Late replacement Yordenis Ugas and Thomas Dulorme went to war in their 10 round bout. Ugas came out fast, scoring a pair of knockdowns in the second round. Dulorme stayed in the fight and persevered, though he was penalized 2 points for low blows. Dulorme scored a late knock down but Ugas fought until the end. In the end the judges had it 94-91 and 93-92 twice for Ugas who escaped with a razor-thin win.
Ringside reporter Arne K. Lang contributed to this story. Below are the complete results.
Saturday, August 26th, 2017 – T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
154 LBS 12 RDS: Floyd Mayweather Jr def Conor McGregor via TKO in RD 10.
168 LBS 12 RDS: Badou Jack def Nathan Cleverly via TKO in RD 5 @2:47.
130 LBS 12 RDS: Gervonta Davis def Francisco Fonseca via TKO in RD 7.
147 LBS 10 RDS: Yordenis Ugas def Thomas Dulorme via UD (94-91,93-92,93-92)
200 LBS 10 RDS: Andrew Tabiti def Steve Cunningham via UD (100-90,97-93,97-93)
140 LBS 10 RDS: Juan Heraldez def Jose Miguel Borrego via UD (96-93,97-92,97-92)
168 LBS 4×2 RDS: Savannah Marshall def Sydney Leblanc via UD (40-36,40-36,40-36)
168 LBS 6 RDS: Mark Anthony Hernandez def Kevin Newman II via UD (57-56,59-54,59-54)
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