It was the result most boxing experts predicted. On Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather Jr. faced UFC Lightweight champion Conor McGregor at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and Mayweather scored a 10th-round knockout to remain undefeated at 50-0. But the knockout was one of the few things that went according to plan.

That includes the betting action. McGregor received heavy support from his fanbase, driving his boxing odds down from +950 at the open to +300 during fight week. Mayweather bettors were supposed to weigh in closer to bell time, and they did, pouncing on the former champion at –400. When Mayweather’s odds moved to –450, it looked like the tide was turning, but instead, even more money started pouring in on the underdog. Mayweather was available at –350 on fight night.

 

Horn Section

It wasn’t easy money, either. McGregor used all his martial arts savvy to win the first three rounds in the eyes of most observers – if not all three judges ringside – then Mayweather started to catch up. The next three rounds could have gone either way, but McGregor was tiring, and Mayweather began finding the openings he was waiting for in Round 7. Victory seemed inevitable.

Then McGregor caught his second wind and appeared to win Round 8. And all of a sudden, Mayweather vs. McGregor was looking very much like the July fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn, where Horn (+400) won the first three rounds, absorbed Pacquiao’s comeback, then did enough in the late rounds to earn a decision over the fading veteran. But it wasn’t to be; McGregor ran out of gas, and referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight (maybe a bit early, but not unreasonably so) at 1:05 of the 10th round.

 

Murphy’s Law

The PPV numbers for Saturday’s fight are still being tabulated at press time, but calling it the Super Bowl of boxing was a fair comparison – especially when you look at the props market. You could even bet on how long it would take Demi Lovato to sing the National Anthem. She did her best Bleeding Gums Murphy impression, blowing out her 1:54 total by over 15 seconds.

The featured bet on the props market was Method of Victory, and again, late money on McGregor was enough to drive Mayweather’s KO/TKO/DQ fight odds down from –150 to –135. Mayweather gave a “100% guarantee” that Saturday’s bout wouldn’t go the distance; he delivered on his promise, even changing his style somewhat and getting more aggressive in the middle rounds after keeping it defensive early on.

No doubt this controversial fight will continue to be hotly debated around the water cooler. Boxing purists are begrudgingly giving McGregor a few backhanded compliments here and there for his performance, but the charismatic Irishman definitely gave Mayweather more of a challenge than Pacquiao did two years ago. The people got their money’s worth on Saturday – including those who bet a few dollars on McGregor for fun.

 

*Odds as of August 29, 2017