Floyd Mayweather improved his unbeaten boxing record to 50-0 with a TKO (technical knockout) win over Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star Conor McGregor on Saturday night, as the most anticipated boxing match in years delivered the result that most expected, but also delivered on entertainment.
Referee Robert Byrd called an end to the fight in the 10th round after McGregor ate several precise blows from Mayweather, having been saved by the bell in the ninth round.
McGregor, a mixed martial arts superstar making his professional boxing debut, started strongly, landing more strikes in the early going, using his reach advantage and unorthodox movement to good effect.
The 28-year-old also attempted to unsettle Mayweather by way of roughhousing tactics and illegal hammer-fist strikes to the back of the head.
But, as has been the case for most of Mayweather’s fights in recent years, those early rounds were but an opportunity for him to size up his opponent.
As the bout progressed, the American, widely regarded as the finest defensive boxer in the history of the sport, began to let his class shine through, his famously evasive defensive movements and precise attacks beginning to wear on McGregor, who resorted to clinching Mayweather to catch the occasional breather.
WATCH: Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor with final weigh-in before superfight
Rounds seven to nine were utterly dominated by Mayweather, who began to walk down McGregor and land punches at will.
McGregor began to visibly fatigue in the ninth round, stumbling at times and barely managing to survive the round.
Round 10 turned out to be the last of the much-hyped superfight, with the referee halting the bout after Mayweather landed a flurry of unanswered punches on his beleaguered rival.
After the fight, McGregor paid tribute to Mayweather, but insisted that the referee stopped the contest prematurely.
For his part, Mayweather, 40, praised McGregor for providing a stiffer challenge than he — and most boxing purists — expected.
“He’s a lot better than I thought he was, he used different angles, but I was the better man. It was our game plan to take our time and take him out down the stretch,” said Mayweather, who now surpasses heavyweight great Rocky Marciano’s longstanding 49-0 record.
Mayweather also confirmed that the fight heralded his retirement from the sport he has dominated for a generation.
“I chose the right dance partner for my last dance, this was my final fight.”