'McGregor, you're a hell of a champion and to the country of Ireland, we love you' - Mayweather
CONOR McGregor was defiant after his 10-round loss to the undefeated Floyd Mayweather, questioning whether the fight at the T-Mobile Arena should have been stopped at all.
Mixed martial arts champion McGregor opened strongly in the first four rounds of his professional boxing debut before visibly tiring.
Mayweather then came into his own and by the time the fight was stopped, he was landing heavy blows almost at will.
"I thought it was close, though, and I thought it was a bit of an early stoppage," McGregor said.
"I was just a little fatigued. He was just a lot more composed with his shots."
McGregor became the best-paid debutant of all time, netting a $30 million dollar purse plus a share of ticket sales, pay-per-view and merchandising revenues, along with one-off sponsorhsip deals.
With his cornermen decked out in natty grey suits and white shoes, and his two UFC belts held aloft in the ring, McGregor dwarfed Mayweather in height when they met in the middle.
Mayweather only threw a handful of punches in the first two rounds, yet still grinned for the cameras in the breaks.
McGregor covered his boxing deficiencies well, jabbing with his right and scoring despite his limited footwork.
He occasionally strayed into mixed martial arts territory by rounding his opponent and landing strikes to the back of Mayweather's head.
Ultimately, Mayweather's skills proved too much.
"He's composed, he's not that fast, he's not that powerful, but boy is he composed in there," McGregor said.
Despite being full of energy at the start of each round, the Irishman quickly withered after the first four rounds, dropping his guard lower and lower as the fight wore on.
Mayweather chased him down, landing heavy blows as McGregor fell for his feints and walked into punches a more experienced boxer might have avoided.
The Irishman claimed he could have kept going if he had been given a chance to get back to his corner.
"Where was the final two rounds? Let me walk back to my corner and compose myself."
Mayweather confirmed he will retire with his unbeaten record intact, after the fight.
"To Conor McGregor, you are a hell of a champion and to the country of Ireland, we love you guys," said Mayweather afterwards.
"[Conor]’s a tough competitor - we gave the fans what they wanted to see.
"He’s a lot better than I thought he was, he used different angles. But I was the better man. It was our gameplan to take our time and take him out down the stretch.
"That was my last fight. Tonight I chose the right dance partner. Conor you were a great dance partner tonight."
Whether the fight will be the richest of all-time as promoters had predicted will be decided later when pay-per-view numbers come in, but it certainly will not be included on any list of the great bouts in boxing.
On paper it would be hard to find a bigger mismatch, but it did not prevent millions around the globe from reaching for their wallets to purchase a pay-per-view package or the 14,623 spectators at T-Mobile Arena to part with big money for tickets.
In the end, the fight proved to be the one-sided contest many had predicted as Mayweather shook off the rust of two years of inactivity against an outclassed double UFC champion making his professional boxing debut.
For months, the charismatic McGregor had boasted he would knock out Mayweather and his legions of loyal fans believed every word of a man capable of backing his supreme self-confidence with devastating power inside the octagon.
However, McGregor's lack of ring savvy quickly exposed him as Mayweather clinically dissected the 29-year-old, who was soon reverting to his mixed martial arts roots -- clutching, grabbing and hitting his opponent repeatedly on the back of the head.
McGregor did come out full of fury and menace but Mayweather, long regarded as one of the finest defensive fighters in history, left few openings as he used the first three rounds to feel out his opponent.
Once he had studied McGregor's technique, Mayweather took complete control of the contest by the fourth round and started to land blow after blow on his easy target as the Irishman bravely battled on.
The American's domination was complete by the 10th round as he moved in for the kill to record his first early finish since he stopped Victor Ortiz in controversial fashion almost six years ago.