Immediately after his tenth-round stoppage victory over Conor McGregor on Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather Jr. admitted that the Irishman’s boxing skills had surprised him somewhat.
“He is a lot better than I thought he was, he used different angles and was a tough competitor,” Mayweather told Showtime’s Jim Gray in the ring at the T-Mobile Arena.
Mayweather wasn’t the only one who was surprised by the professional debutant’s exploits.
McGregor started the contest with purpose and managed to win the first round on all three judges’ scorecards. He also won the following two sessions on one judge’s scorecard, as well as on many unofficial cards. Mayweather began to take over in the fourth, but McGregor still had spots of success until midway through the ninth, when the wheels really came off. By that point, however, he had already surpassed the expectations of all but his most deliriously optimistic supporters and secured something of a moral victory.
However, despite admitting that McGregor acquitted himself admirably, Mayweather told ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna shortly after the fight that he believes the 29-year-old Dubliner should now veer back into his own lane.
“Conor McGregor is a hell of a fighter and I want to see him continue to stay in the UFC and do what he do best,” said the former pound for pound king of boxing. “Because you must realize, that I’m 40 years old, I’ve been off almost 800 days. And he’s active, actively training in a boxing gym and in the UFC gym.”
“He’s active, he’s training, he’s competing. Whereas these other fighters, these young lions, they’re throwing a lot more combinations than I’m throwing. I was just in the pocket, shooting one shot here and there, breaking him down slowly. Whereas you got these young active guys that’s throwing a lot of combinations, [they] would get him out of there a lot earlier.”
In all likelihood, McGregor’s next fight will take place inside the octagon and under the rule-set with which he is most familiar. If he does return to boxing, however, the smart money is on the Dubliner facing off against recent physical and verbal sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi, a fighter who a 36 could not be considered a ‘young lion.’ Mayweather then, shouldn’t worry too much about McGregor being feasted upon by the current and true king’s of the unforgiving boxing jungle.