Floyd Mayweather extended his perfect career record to 50 fights unbeaten by stopping Conor McGregor in the 10th round of one of the richest fights in boxing history.
At a packed-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the former five-weight world champion faced flurries of early punches from UFC’s most iconic figure, who was making his debut in professional boxing.
McGregor delivered a crisp uppercut in round one and, though he edged close to breaking rules with several punches to the back of the head, he imposed himself admirably without ever looking as though he would knock out Mayweather.
The American, who came out of retirement for a potential $300m (£230m) pay day, executed a gameplan which pounced on McGregor’s lack of conditioning for the late rounds which prove so key on big fight nights.
As the Irishman tired, Mayweather upped his ferocity and by round nine the 40-year-old began to stalk his opponent, whose legs were weakening under more successful shots.
And in the 10th, with McGregor again near the ropes and offering little, the fight – which followed weeks of manic build-up, spiteful words and chaos – was over.
Referee Robert Byrd’s stoppage may have arrived too early for some, as McGregor’s early effort meant he was in the contest on the scorecards.
But the 29-year-old was wilting. His effort and display should be commended, but Mayweather’s poise and invincibility remains constant into retirement.