It was the “money fight” of the year, so the advertising went. The 40-year-old undefeated pro boxer matching up against the formidable mixed-martial artist from the UFC fighting in boxing rules sounded like a capital idea on paper. In practice, as the day of the match drew nearer, the only prevailing opinion of the supposed spectacle match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was that it was a stunt and a business arrangement. When the two finally clashed in Nevada this past weekend, the conclusion of the ensuing fight seems to justify the negative opinions flying around.

But while Mayweather did beat McGregor by TKO in 10 rounds, the Notorious did put up a heck of a fight at first.

Hope spot for the ‘Notorious’

When the match (at Super Welterweight class) started late evening of Saturday, August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena, both competitors closed in on each other to carry out their respective fighting strategies. What really surprised the audience, announcers, and experts in boxing, MMA, and general entertainment was the sheer tenacity of Conor McGregor. Initially predicted as being effectively hobbled combat-wise due to fighting as strictly a boxer, the Irish 2-division world champion displayed a remarkable talent for it.

For the first three rounds, McGregor slugged away at Floyd “Money” Mayweather with surprising skill, throwing punches from odd angles.

At several points, he even caught the undefeated 5-division boxing champion flat-footed by shifting styles from his default southpaw to orthodox and back. McGregor also dabbled in some heavy taunting, blowing his tongue, putting his hands behind his back, and generally keeping his guard loose and open. But soon the “Notorious’” Achilles’ heel became noticeable: being used to MMA matches with only a handful of rounds, his stamina began to dip starting from round 4, spurring “Money” to launch a counterattack that never let up.

Unbeatable ‘Money’

Once Floyd Mayweather started fighting back, whatever advantage Conor McGregor had in the first rounds evaporated. Following a relentless pummeling of the Irish fighter, the referee finally called a halt to the match at round 10, pronouncing the boxing hall of fame shoo-in as winner by TKO. “Money” Mayweather was guaranteed a $100 million fight purse while the “Notorious” walked off with $30 million.

Both fighters, who were slinging mud and mock-fighting before the match, were now expressing great respect for one another following the match. Mayweather praised McGregor’s multi-angle punching acumen (while affirming that he was always the better man). The big-name UFC fighter, in turn, said he would not have minded at all if he had been fully KO’d by “Money,” who retires (for the last time, he insists) with an image of invincibility at 50W-0L, beating Rocky Marciano’s record by one.

Certain sports writers may have remained unconvinced of the match, but many pro athletes thought the boxing-MMA dream fight was all that and more.

This includes Mayweather’s rival Manny Pacquiao from the Philippines. Other commenters are Michael Phelps and Lebron James.