By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather Jr. typically refrained from physically doing anything to opponents during his career that could’ve drawn a warning or point deduction from a referee.
After the fifth round Saturday night, however, Mayweather reached past referee Robert Byrd to shove Conor McGregor as both boxers began making their way to their respective corners. Mayweather explained during the post-fight press conference that he was taunting McGregor, who had predicted he would knock out the boxing legend within two rounds.
The 40-year-old Mayweather overcame a slow start to beat up and eventually stop McGregor in the 10th round of their 12-round junior middleweight fight at T-Mobile Arena.
“You know, give the fans what they wanna see,” Mayweather recalled regarding what he said to McGregor as he shoved him after the fifth round. “I pushed him and told him, ‘You still ain’t knock me out yet. I thought you said it wasn’t going past four [rounds]. Show me your real power.’ That’s all. That was it. You know, just trash-talking that fighters do. Whether it’s MMA or boxing, you know, we talk trash. That’s what we do. When the best compete against the best, we wanna be pushed. And that’s how boxing and MMA goes.”
McGregor connected cleanly several times against one of the most effective defensive fighters in boxing history, most memorably with a left uppercut in the first round. Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) took McGregor’s power well and never seemed bothered by the probable 15-pound size advantage McGregor owned by the time their fight started.
“He was solid,” Mayweather said. “You know, I’ve been off for a couple years and I’m a lot older now. Remember I told you guys, I’m not the same Floyd Mayweather I was 21 years ago. I told you guys I’m not the same Floyd Mayweather I was two years ago. But remember, I still have a hell of an IQ. I’m still a thinker. … And as far as his puncher power, he was solid. I felt it before, so that’s why I kept coming straight ahead. Obviously, it wasn’t the type of power to say I can’t come forward. Because if it was that type of power, I wouldn’t have came forward.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.