Hall of fame boxing commentator, Steve Farhood, has been ringside for some of the biggest events in the history of the sport. Most recently, Steve was the unofficial scorer for Mayweather vs. McGregor, having the bout scored 86-85 for Mayweather after nine rounds. The event became the second highest grossing PPV of all time and was a commercial success that earned Mayweather another $100 million dollar payday.
In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Steve Farhood, I get him to reflect on the Mayweather vs. McGregor event. Steve talks about the event promotion and shares his thoughts on the actual fight. Farhood also speaks on Mayweather’s performance and Conor McGregor’s boxing ability. Additionally, Steve gives his thoughts on Mayweather coming back and talks about how Floyd would do with today’s elite. Here is what Steve Farhood had to say.
Jenna J: Steve, it’s been a few months since Mayweather vs. McGregor took place. What did you think of that whole event?
Steve Farhood: As an event it was different, it was unique. As a fight, when expectations are low in terms of competitiveness and then you get something mildly competitive, we all rate the fight a little higher than we would have otherwise. Going in, I felt that McGregor having no boxing background, it would be an insult to boxing if he did well, it would give the impression that any world clas athlete can box, which of course is not true.
I think Mayweather’s strategy and style in the fight — especially in the first three round — lent an impression that McGregor was in the fight more than he was. Mayweather was smart, he let McGregor work and poop himself out, he was dead after four rounds. Mayweather as a result just covered up and let McGregor punch and sure enough after four rounds it was all Mayweather.
It was a strategy that was a little unusual for Floyd, and that was compounded by the fact that we saw Floyd attacking so aggressively, which is also very unusual of him. Floyd did fight a really smart fight and because of the style and strategy that he had, it made McGregor a little bit more competitive than he really was.
Jenna J: Do you believe like most people that Mayweather intentionally gave away those first three rounds, or do you think he was a little bit rusty to start?
Steve Farhood: It was a combination. Floyd got hit flush and his head got snapped back, and to have that happen against McGregor was a little startling. I do think it was a strategy to give away the rounds and let McGregor tire himself out, and it worked to perfection. Not only is Floyd brilliant in terms of his technique and everything else, but he’s always been a very smart fighter as well, and that was evident on August 26th.
Jenna J: Do you think McGregor was better than most people thought he was?
Steve Farhood: In some way better. In one way I was very disappointed in McGregor, he was a guy whose reputation was that he was this big left handed puncher with all these knockouts in MMA standing up, and I saw almost no power in his punches, I was really surprised by that. Was it because he was wearing heavier gloves than he’s used to? I don’t know, but the one aspect of McGregors game that I was surprised at was his lack of power.
Conor did hit Floyd flush a few times and nothing happened, and remember that he had a 15-20lb advantage in the ring as well, so I was surprised by that. Otherwise, he’s a high energy tough guy with a championship mentality, and none of that surprised me, some of that manifested itself in some ways early in the fight to McGregor’s favor, but ultimately he couldn’t do it for twelve rounds.
Jenna J: People wonder if Floyd Mayweather will return for another pay day or if this was the last one. What do you think?
Steve Farhood: It’s a tug of war. There are going to be parts of Floyd’s head that say, “I need this,” and it’s not the money so much, it’s the attention. Very often when Floyd isn’t fighting, we hear something come out on the internet about him and it’s as if he needs the attention — which of course he does, that’s been his life for more than twenty years.
I think he’s in an unusual position and I say that because the average fighter would kill for a $30 million dollar pay day, that’s money that Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter or Terence Crawford could very well never see, but for Floyd, a $30 million dollar pay day just doesn’t turn him on. The McGregor fight was perfect for him because he was basically against a guy who had never fought before and he was handed somewhere between $100 and $200 million dollars. That’s not going to happen against any boxer we know.
Floyd is not going to fight Golovkin, nor do I think he should, Golovkin is way too big. I don’t see Floyd coming back again, but if he does it will only be because he needs the attention and I just can’t see a run of the mill $30 million dollar pay day turning him on.
Jenna J: If you take the money aspect out, from an athletic standpoint, do you still think he can beat the top guys at welterweight or do you think he struggles?
Steve Farhood: I think he probably struggles against the very best, against Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford or Errol Spence. I don’t think it’s as easy as it used to be. Floyd is a fighter who relies a lot on reflexes and on his athletic ability, and just a very small diminishment in his skills could really affect him. We saw with Oscar De La Hoya and Roy Jones, when these fighters who are superior athletes lose that half second of timing, it can bode very badly for them.
I think we may be at that point with Mayweather — it’s a little difficult to tell strictly from the McGregor fight, but he is forty and there’s nothing to say that he couldn’t lose that half second in reflex time, and I think there’s a good chance that that’s happened.