McGregor strong early but Mayweather's skill wins out for 10th-round KO

Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Boxing

LAS VEGAS -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. said he set out a game plan to let Conor McGregor attempt his best shots, and then tire himself out.

The strategy was timed perfectly by Mayweather, who set aside the ills of age and hammered McGregor with a series of late punches to set up a 10th-round technical-knockout victory Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in the much-hyped boxing match between the 40-year-old unbeaten boxing champion and the 29-year-old mixed martial arts fighter.

Earlier in the evening, referee Russell Mora controversially awarded Gervonta Davis an eighth-round knockout victory on a left-handed punch that struck opponent Francisco Fonseca in the back of the head.

Davis lost his belt by missing weight even before fighting Saturday and his inattention in the ring also led to a more difficult bout than he expected.

Davis (19-0, 18 knockouts) said he hurt Fonseca with a body blow before the punch, and explained that the disputed shot "capped" the damage, although fans who watched replays in the arena voiced disapproval of that notion.

"Everyone saw I was going down from a blow that was not legal," Fonseca said. "I want a rematch. ... He didn't hit as hard as he says he does."

The bout served as the co-main event to the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor boxing match pitting the now 50-0, five-division boxing champion Mayweather against the charismatic UFC champion McGregor, which ended just before this edition of The Los Angeles Times went to press.

The start of Mayweather-McGregor match was delayed briefly, according to Showtime, due to a rash of last-minute pay-per-view orders and system outages.

"We have reports of scattered outages from various cable and satellite providers and the online offering," Showtime said in a statement. "We will delay the start of the main event slightly to allow for systems to get on track."

Davis lost his belt by weighing 132 pounds, two over the junior-lightweight limit, on Friday, putting the International Boxing Federation title on the line only for 40-1 underdog Fonseca, who sought to pull off a stunning upset.

Fonseca (19-1-1) rocked Davis so hard with a punch in the seventh, the former champion had to grab the ropes to remain standing.

Davis came out swinging with aggressive uppercuts to open the bout, trying to end the fight impressively, but he was locked in a tougher test than he anticipated.

Davis, after working out under Mayweather's guidance and training feverishly in a rubber suit Thursday night, revealed again the difficulty some boxers have in making weight.

He apologized on Twitter after Saturday's bout, posting, "I'm young. I'm growing. I had a chance to make the weight. I knew I couldn't make it and that's that. I will have a belt again.

"I lost the belt, not a fight ... . I will make it up."

That left Davis' stablemate at Mayweather Boxing Club, former super-middleweight champion Badou Jack, to fight for a belt. He succeeded, stopping Nathan Cleverly by fifth-round technical knockout for the World Boxing Association light-heavyweight title.

Jack out-landed Cleverly in punches, 172-82, rocking the Welshman with blows in the fourth round, then unloading a barrage of punches in the second half of the fifth and looking to referee Tony Weeks to stop the abuse.

Weeks stopped the punishment 2:47 into the fifth.

"It's a dream come true," said Jack, who is from Sweden. "You can't leave it in the hands of the judges. You've got to go for the kill."

Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) said he'd like to fight World Boxing Council champion Adonis Stevenson next, and criticized him for taking a string of unimpressive opponents.

"Let's get real," Jack said.

Earlier, unbeaten cruiserweight Andrew Tabiti improved to 16-0 with a unanimous-decision triumph over veteran former champion Steve Cunningham by scores of 97-93, 97-93, 100-90.

Replacement opponent Yordenis Ugas (20-3) twice knocked down welterweight Thomas Dulorme and proceeded to an upset victory by decision on scores of 93-92, 93-92, 94-91. The loss was clinched because Dulorme (24-3) had two points deducted for low blows in the sixth and 10th rounds.

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