WHEN Conor McGregor was asked what he preferred about the boxing business, as opposed to his regular work in UFC, Floyd Mayweather intervened from stage right.
“The cheque,” said the filthy-rich Money Man with decent comic timing.
McGregor laughed and added: “I’m going to change the size of the MMA cheques when I go back there too…”
And so the most lucrative fight in the history of combat sports ended with everybody involved grinning.
Like those long-suffering ring girls, who’d spent the entire week statuesque, advertising beer beneath their cleavage and risking lockjaw from their forced smiles.
Mayweather vs McGregor wasn’t a fix, it wasn’t a farce and it was actually a damned sight more entertaining and competitive than many high-profile fights.
But if they had all got together and planned a perfect conclusion this would have been just about it.
This was business — first and foremost.
Man United resurface Carrington road to protects stars’ multi-million pound fleet of luxury cars
Over and Cout
Liverpool cave in to Philippe Coutinho’s demands and will now negotiate his £148m move to Barcelona
DRINK IT IN
Chelsea ‘agree deal to sign Danny Drinkwater’ as Leicester eye PSG’s Gregorz Krychowiak as his replacement
Cout in the act
Philippe Coutinho trains with Brazil after being cleared to play as it emerges wantaway Liverpool star’s back injury was caused by stress
Jose likes a Shaw thing
Manchester United to hand out-of-favour Luke Shaw shock 12-month contract extension
Ian Wright begs Arsene Wenger to quit Arsenal in the wake of 4-0 humiliation against Liverpool
Chelsea agree £40m fee with Arsenal to sign wantaway midfielder and Liverpool target Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Monaco set to demand massive £92m for Thomas Lemar after Liverpool submit £55m bid for superstar
The five Belgium players who could find new clubs this summer as it emerges national team will allow stars to leave squad to secure futures
SECONDS OUT, ROUND PHWOAR!
Meet the gorgeous ring girls ready to help viewers stay up all night for McGregor v Mayweather
Mayweather, 40, got to end his career with an eye-catching stoppage rather than years of forgettable chess matches — and he trousered something in the region of £300million too.
McGregor had the satisfaction of showcasing boxing skills which were far sharper than the cynics suggested.
While this entire promotion earned the Irishman, 29, around £100m and moved him and his UFC stable closer to the sporting mainstream.
The US pay-per-view TV bean counters were heading towards all-time record territory of five million buys at $100 a throw.
And the punters will have been far happier than they were after Mayweather’s previous ‘superfight’ against Manny Pacquiao in 2015 — even if the actual result never looked in serious doubt.
The boxing purists can continue to look down their noses at this whole spectacle, quite forgetting we all spent years watching Audley Harrison’s pro career so we know what a genuine stink smells like.
If this was a circus act, well circuses tend to be entertaining.
Yet when the dust has settled it probably will be remembered as a freakish one-off.
McGregor sounded genuinely intrigued about the prospect of boxing again but it is difficult to imagine where he’d go from here.
While the king of mixed martial arts acquitted himself well under Queensberry Rules, he did not do enough to suggest he is capable of beating any big-named boxer, even those a rung or two down from the masterful Mayweather.
This fight had the novelty factor but would people really pay to watch McGregor knock out a bum in the boxing ring?
UFC supremo Dana White made it clear he does not want his star turn to box again.
And it is far more likely the Dubliner will stick with the organisation which will have been boosted financially by this whole experience.
At the press conference an hour after his tenth-round stoppage, McGregor was knocking back Irish whiskey and planning his own brand of the stuff.
He also spoke of launching his own fashion label, while being decked out in a floral suit which appeared to have been tailored out of nan’s old curtains.
Asked within minutes of his defeat how he would bounce back, McGregor said: “I’ve been strangled live on TV before and come back, so don’t worry about that.”
He later admitted that he’d been ‘taken aback by the disrespect and disregard that was shown for my skill sets’ in the build-up.
But he confessed that he was ‘b*****ksed’ in the middle rounds of the fight as the relentless of prize-fighting took its toll, despite having ‘worked my f****** a**e off for this’.
Mayweather allowed McGregor to out-point him in the opening three rounds while he got to grips with the rookie’s unorthodox spaghetti arms.
But as soon the American began to get serious in round four, the gulf in class was as wide as the nearby Grand Canyon.
Mayweather almost polished off his man in the sixth and came very close in the ninth, before a mighty right hand early in the tenth proved decisive.
Only one of the three judges had awarded more than a single round to McGregor, which was harsh.
“I’m shocked, I thought I won the first three rounds clearly and was maybe 5-4 down going into the tenth,” added McGregor, through what were literally rose-tinted sunglasses.
“I think I deserved to hear the final bell.”
As for Mayweather, he is adamant he will call time on his imperious career after surpassing Rocky Marciano’s all-time unbeaten record.
The Money Man had entered the ring in a balaclava and headed off with an almighty swag bag.
It had not been The Muppet Show many of us expected.
But all in all, it had about as much value and meaning as any other reality TV show.
Keep up to date with ALL the latest Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather news, gossip and rumours.