On Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather defeated UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor in the so-called “fight of the century.” McGregor came into the fight without a professional boxing bout on his resume, and while he had a few moments, Mayweather dominated the later rounds and finished the fight in the 10th. The following is a by-the-numbers recap that highlights the stats and milestones that stood out, with stats courtesy of CompuBox.
Mayweather was looking for the finish
Mayweather started slow
Any veteran boxing viewer could notice that Mayweather was purposely starting slow. In the first three rounds, McGregor outlanded Mayweather 36 to 12. However, after the third round, Mayweather turned it on and outlanded the UFC champion 158 to 85. In rounds nine and 10 leading to the stoppage, Mayweather landed 62 punches while absorbing only 14.
Of the 170 punches that Mayweather landed against McGregor, only 18 were jabs. That means that roughly 89 percent of Mayweather’s landed strikes were power punches. In his previous 10 fights, he never had a percentage that high. Interesting enough, during the stretch, Mayweather had only one knockout, against Victor Ortiz. In that bout, 84 percent of his strikes were power punches. So, it would not be a stretch to say that in these fights, Mayweather was seemingly making a stronger effort than normal to score the knockout. This also implies that he may not have been worried about power counters from McGregor. Against respected knockout artists Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez, only 55 percent and 40 percent of Mayweather’s landed punches were power shots, respectively.
Striking Differential vs. Punches Landed
There are clickbait headlines all over the Internet that basically say some variation of “McGregor landed more punches than Pacquiao against Mayweather” with anywhere from one to five exclamation marks. While that is factually accurate statement, it is not really a meaningful comparison. Striking differential, which is strikes landed per minute minus strikes absorbed per minute, is much more useful. McGregor landed 111 punches against Mayweather, but he also absorbed 170, which leaves him with a -2.10 striking differential. Pacquiao only landed 81 punches against Mayweather, but he did much better only the defensive end and finished with a -1.86 differential. However, striking differential does not diminish McGregor’s performance. Per the stat, he outperformed the likes of Alvarez, Andre Berto and Shane Mosley.
How did McGregor’s skill set transfer?
In his UFC career, McGregor has landed 5.82 significant strikes per minute. Against Mayweather, he finished with only 3.95 punches per minute. Obviously, this is an apples and oranges comparison. The UFC allows a variety of strikes that are outlawed under the Marquess of Queensberry rules. However, considering kicks are a large part of his offense in MMA, it is pretty impressive that he still managed to land at 68 percent of his UFC career number. On the other hand, striking defense has never been a strong part of McGregor’s game, and it this was amplified in the boxing ring. In the UFC, he has allowed his opponents to land 4.55 significant strikes per minute. Last Saturday night, Mayweather landed 6.05 punches per minute.