Conor McGregor was drinking Irish whiskey and acting like he had won. Floyd Mayweather was reminiscing about his early days as a fighter and looking forward to a different kind of business at his strip club.

There were smiles all around, and with good reason. They pulled off an audacious gamble on Sunday (NZ time), and all that was left to do was to count the money rolling in.

Mayweather estimated his take at US$300-US$350 million (NZ$414.4m). McGregor said he likely would clear US$100m, and said he had his accountants on speed dial to make sure it was all collected.

Fans of both boxing and mixed martial arts had to be happy, too. They got a reasonably entertaining fight that settled nothing about the two sports but embarrassed neither fighter.

Advertisement

"I enjoyed it very, very much," McGregor said. "It was an honour for me to showcase my skills."

He was reasonably competent as a boxer in his first pro fight. He actually controlled the first few rounds, and was never off his feet despite taking a beating in the late rounds.

Mayweather eventually figured him out, and exposed him for the boxing novice he was. McGregor didn't become king of boxing as he predicted before the fight, but won millions of new fans and will now likely return to the UFC as its unquestioned star.

And Mayweather?

Well, 50-0 has a nice ring to it, passing the 49-0 record of Rocky Marciano that served as a benchmark in the sport. He got a knockout that helped erase the stain from his fight with Manny Pacquiao two years earlier. And, after earning nearly US$1 billion in his 21-year career, he can get on with his varied businesses and maybe even train a few fighters.

"You won't see me in the ring any more," Mayweather said. "Any guy calling me out, forget it. I'm OK. I had a great career."

No boxer has ever marketed himself like the man who calls himself Money, and he can now relax and enjoy his private jets, mansions and courtside seats to NBA games around the nation.

The fight itself played out much like many in boxing expected. McGregor got off to a good start, Mayweather figured him out after a few rounds, and after that the only question was whether Mayweather would stop a fighter legitimately for the first time in nearly a decade.

He did, battering McGregor around the ring in the 10th round until the referee moved in to stop it. McGregor didn't protest, though afterward he said he wished he would have been allowed to continue.

But that was a minor quibble. McGregor may have lost but in just a few short months he did what few could have anticipated and made himself into a decent boxer who carried one of the best ever into the later rounds while remaining upright the whole time.

At 29, McGregor is a rare superstar with a quick wit and mouth to go along with his combat skills. The price for his UFC fights will cause UFC chief Dana White some sleepless nights because in a way he is almost bigger now than the organisation.

And, who knows. He may venture back into the boxing ring some day if the price is right.

"I'm young, I'm fresh and I'm ready," McGregor said. "Right now I'm a free agent. I love a good fight and tonight was a good fight. I can't tell you exactly what's next but something will be next."