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Mayweather vs McGregor: Floyd's cryptic effort will remain a mystery

Lee Cleveland Updated
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The uber high-profile boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, which took place last August, left many asking several questions which are likely to be hot topics for years.

First: Was Mayweather vs McGregor the most watched live boxing match in history? If it wasn't, it's a close second to Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao in May 2015.

Second: Did Mayweather carry McGregor? And if so, why?

Don't be surprised if the latter remains one of the biggest mysteries in modern-day sports. And while it'll never be as hot as 'Who killed JFK?,' debates and conspiracy theories will rage on about what transpired in the ring that evening.

Mayweather vs McGregor: Performance questions

1. Did Floyd carry McGregor and purposely fight to Conor's level in order to give the fans a good show?

A lot of people paid good money to see that fight which was exteremly high-profile. There was presubably a lot riding on the success of the event and had Floyd startched him in less than a round, rest-assured people would have vociferously complained.

2. Did Floyd carry McGregor and purposely fight to Conor's level with the hopes of setting up an equally or more lucrative rematch?
Floyd has made it no secret he loves money. "If it makes dollars, it makes sense."

3. Was Conor McGregor so good that he, in his first boxing match (amateur or pro), could fight competitively with a retired all-time great who was less than two years removed from being boxing's top fighter?

Rumors still abound about Conor pummeling former champ Paul Malignaggi during two sparring sessions although the latter insists he was being gentle with Conor and would easily KO him in a real boxing match. If Conor was, in fact, too strong for Paulie, what ever became of his other sparring partners who were lesser skilled and accomplished than Malignaggi? 

4. Had Floyd Mayweather, 40, aged SO MUCH since his previous outing, a year and 11 months prior, that a novice, albeit a strong, athletic MMA champion with a size advantage, could hold his own with the boxing legend for nearly 9 rounds?

Here's what we know:
Anyone accustomed to watching Floyd over the years saw a vastly different fighter in the ring with Conor McGregor on August 26, 2017.

Was it Conor's ring savvy, speed and punching power that forced Floyd to fight differently?

Answer: Highly, highly unlikely.

So, what gives? What happened that evening in Las Vegas?

Jim Lampley, HBO's famous lead commentator and the unofficial 'voice of boxing' since the late 1980s

A heated Lampley told TMZ last week:

"He [Floyd] allowed Conor to quote 'win' 3 rounds so that the whole global MMA wish community could have something to latch on to. I think there's a decent chance there's enough suckers out there Floyd could maybe make another $150 million, why not?" 

"It's all a set up."

"Why should he retire," Lampley added? He created a marvelous scam with this whole thing.

To Lampley's point, some insist Conor’s performance is some sort of victory for him and MMA given his limited boxing pedigree. And while some will dispute Lampley's theory for why Floyd might have intentionally underperformed, many boxing experts are in accordance about Floyd carrying Conor.

Oscar De La Hoya, fight legend and former Mayweather opponent
"The fight this past Saturday with Mayweather and McGregor was a scam and a fraud," stated Oscar De la Hoya on the August 28 episode of "The Dan Patrick Show".

"What did you expect? Mayweather for the first four rounds didn't do anything...when has Mayweather not done anything within the first four rounds?"

"And ironically the fight gets stopped in the tenth round, when reports are that he bet on himself to win in the tenth round. People were suckered in, and I want to tell everyone that this is exactly what Mayweather is...and I'm tired of it."

Oscar is correct. Floyd insists he did, in fact, bet the under (10 rounds).

Did Mayweather stretch the fight as long as he could without jeopardizing his bet?

No concern whatsoever
Against McGregor, the usually-tenatative, sometimes overly-defensive Mayweather seemed to have had absolutely no concern for Conor's offense.


And after Floyd arguably gave away the first three rounds, he went back to his corner smiling and offering high-fives... Not exactly the concern he had early in his first bout with Marcos Maidana - a legitimate, threatening opponent who opened an early lead on Floyd a few years back.

Usually ultra quick, elusive and on the balls of his feet, Mayweather's style against Conor more resembled a ploddy 263 pound George Foreman; And a lazy and disinterested, ploddy Foreman at that, until the middle rounds.

Has Floyd gone that far downhill in two years?

Likely fact: Floyd Mayweather could have taken out Conor McGregor whenever he wanted. Once he put his foot on the gas in Round 9, Conor was destined not to see Round 11.

So, why the (presumed) fake performance?
Credit to Conor. He was, perhaps, very good for someone who had never boxed professionally. But he clearly is not on the elite or contender level. He didn't look particularly fast or powerful against Floyd, his punches looked more like amateurish slaps and his defense was nonexistent. From what I saw, McGregor wouldn't last two rounds with Canelo Alvarez or Errol Spence.

Did Floyd toy with McGregor to set up another $300 Million pay day, as Lampley suggests? 

... Or did Floyd Mayweather simply want to give the fans a good show while he proving his dominance over McGregor and earning some extra coin on the side?

In the end, Floyd seemed to do it his way, whatever it was.

Perhaps we'll never know why he fought that way. Regardless, it was an entertaining bout and fans seemed to have gotten their money's worth.

Video: Compare Floyd's performance (especially in the early rounds) against MCgregor to the former's effort against Canelo Alvarez in 2013.

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