How the Mayweather-McGregor fight gave life to boxing and then left it dead

Floyd Mayweather Jr. jabs Conor McGregor in a super welterweight boxing match Saturday.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. jabs Conor McGregor in a super welterweight boxing match Saturday. AP

Going into the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight Saturday night, boxing was already on life support.

However, as the sport seemed to stagger into what many – including myself – expected to be an utter disappointment, for a couple hours it came back to life.

A fight that pitted one of the all-time great boxers – and his 49-0 record – against a UFC megastar making his boxing debut could have easily disappointed.

Instead, the bout proved exciting, with Mayweather winning via a technical knockout in the 10th round.

The match included some surprise elements few saw coming.

McGregor did in fact put up a fight. Mayweather actually did engage his opponent offensively instead of mostly relying on the defensive prowess he has been known for throughout his career.

In the end, however, it was yet another win for Mayweather and another loss for boxing.

As big of a spectacle as it was Saturday night, the bout was the last hurrah for the sport.

50Career wins without a loss for Mayweather

Boxing is dead.

I originally thought the fight would harm the sport by way of how it played out. But I stand corrected.

As strange as it was to see Mayweather (50-0) – who said he’s really retiring this time – go out as a fighting champion, it’s equally as peculiar to consider exactly what that represents.

As much as many may hate him, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was boxing.

He’s the machine that kept a dying sport alive in recent years. He was the sport’s life support.

This is my last fight, ladies and gentleman. For sure, this is my last fight.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Now, the plug has been pulled.

Despite anticipating that I would write about the disappointment that the fight was, I instead find myself looking at the bigger picture.

Without Mayweather, who – aside from the hardcore boxing fans – will care about the sport from here on out?

I thought it was crazy that most bars in Myrtle Beach that had purchased the fight were charging a $25-30 entry fee. I also thought it was insane the amount of money both Mayweather and McGregor were in line to make from the fight.

1Career boxing matches for McGregor

So much for that. I don’t see anything remotely like this happening again.

I’ve heard some say that the fight proved a victory for boxing. Some have said it was a win for the UFC.

I strongly disagree.

UFC fans will go back to watching their beloved MMA, in which the purses and spectacle are nowhere near what a Mayweather bout can produce. Boxing fans, meanwhile, will hope that another iconic villain will come along and once again bring life to the sport.

It’s back to status quo for these sports. However, gone is the intrigue that comes with the possibility of another mega fight like this coming to fruition.

The hope for another Super Bowl-esque event is gone.

From the lead-up to the aftermath, this one had it all. From McGregor’s antics leading up to the fight – including a weigh-in for the ages – to his whiskey-drinking press conference afterward, you couldn’t have asked for much more. On the other side was Mayweather, who – I can’t believe I’m saying this – for once was portrayed as the calm, composed personality, perhaps even the good guy.

The fact that the fight itself proved entertaining was an added bonus.

As boxing enters a phase in which it will struggle mightily to get back up off the mat, it can at least take pride that it went down swinging.

On tap

After an off day Monday, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans finish the regular season on a road trip, with games at Buies Creek on Tuesday (7 p.m.), Wednesday (7 p.m.) and Thursday (11 a.m.) and Carolina on Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (5 p.m.), Sunday (6 p.m.) and Monday, Sept. 4 (noon). … High school football enters its third week of action with the following matchups: Green Sea Floyds at Aynor, St. James at Carolina Forest, Waccamaw at Carvers Bay, Conway at Wilson, Georgetown at Andrews, South Columbus (N.C.) at Loris, West Florence at Myrtle Beach (Thursday) and North Myrtle Beach at West Brunswick (N.C.). … The Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team plays at Georgetown at 1 p.m. Monday and hosts UNC Greensboro at 7:30 p.m. Friday. … The CCU women’s soccer team hosts Winthrop at 5 p.m. Friday before welcoming in Davidson for a 1 p.m. Sunday match. … The Coastal cross country squads compete in the Gamecock Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday. … The Coastal Carolina volleyball team has three matches in the Iowa Tournament over the weekend as it plays Indiana State (11 a.m. Friday) and Iowa (8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday). … The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at 6 p.m. Sunday. … The PGA Tour heads to Norton, Massachusetts for the Dell Technologies Championship from Friday through Monday. … In tennis, the U.S. Open begins Monday in Flushing Meadows, New York.

David Wetzel: 843-626-0295, @MYBSports