It’s only been a few weeks since the massive boxing showdown between UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. The most newsworthy thing to come out of this bout was the unexpected success McGregor had early while competing against an all-time great boxer.
As seen in the fight, McGregor held his own in the early rounds and actually won some of them. By doing this, it impressed boxing aficionados and former foes alike. By looking at the stats, the UFC champion landed more punches against Mayweather than some of the biggest names the boxing champion has faced, including Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, and Miguel Cotto.
To say that is impressive would be a major understatement. However, Mayweather has come out and stated in footage from FightHype.com that McGregor shouldn’t let that stat get to his head though. The boxing legend believes that McGregor’s success had everything to do with giving the fans a show and wasn’t a result of anything McGregor was doing.
“That’s because I wasn’t counter-punching and boxing,” said Mayweather when asked about McGregor outlanding Pacquiao, Cotto, and Mosley (transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting). “The reason why he probably landed a higher percentage or landed more shots than those guys was because I was coming straight ahead, I was barely moving, knocking his shots down a little bit and just breaking him down. That was the game plan, let him shoot everything. I know he was gonna shoot shots from awkward positions, but the game plan was to dig into the body with good shots, hit him with left hooks, hit him with straight right hands and keep walking towards him, keep pressing him and pushing him back.
“I could have just stayed on the outside, out-boxed him and counter-punched him, and probably still stop him down the stretch but that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to press and push him.”
McGregor had a clear cut strategy in this fight, which was to pressure Mayweather and it worked out to perfection. There was a downside to this game plan, which was him getting tired and eventually being stopped in the tenth round after seriously being hurt. Mayweather’s strategy of walking him down was something they were not prepared for and ended up costing them the fight.
“My thing is this, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. He can come out fast hands, use his range, using different angles, and after the first four or five rounds, he wasn’t the same fighter anymore.
“I told you guys I was going to go straight ahead and I know going straight ahead I was gonna take some contact, I was gonna get hit with some shots, but I wanted to give the fans, and everybody around the world an exciting fight and I feel that’s what we did.”