Sunday 18 March 2018

Watch: Imelda May belts out haunting rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann before bout

There may have been some empty seats at the T Mobile Arena due to the extortionate ticket prices, but Ireland's Imelda May stirred up the atmosphere with a haunting rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann ahead of Conor McGregor's boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.

Dubliner May answered a last-minute call to sing the Irish National Anthem when it emerged that the McGregor camp were supposed to arrange a singer for the glitzy Las Vegas showdown.

UFC president Dana White revealed that he had attempted to draft in Bono to do the honours at the last minute after he discovered it was up to the McGregor team to arrange their own singer.

However the U2 frontman was already set to attend a wedding.

"It's a crazy story," said White. "Showtime basically popped it on us two days ago saying 'you guys have to go'.

"I was trying to call Ireland at all the wrong times."

May cancelled an appearance in the UK to take up the arguably bigger offer in Vegas - and to introduce herself to a huge global audience.

Whether the fight itself 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.

"I thought it was close," a defiant McGregor argued. "I thought I had him in the early rounds. I thought he was getting me in the middle toward the end.

"But where was the final two rounds? Let me wobble back to me corner. Let me try and recompose myself. You've got to put me out.

"I thought it was a little early of a stoppage. I get like that when I am tired. I get a little wobbly and flowy. But you got to give it to him, that's what 50 pro fights will give you."

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