LAS VEGAS — 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.
MMA 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 sponsorship 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." (Editing by Ian Ransom)
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