MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif.- It was a packed house at the Hap Arnold Club as crowds gathered to witness one of most anticipated fights in combat sports history: Mayweather vs. McGregor.
The crowd was mixed in their rooting sections, some cheering for the favorite Mayweather while others were hoping for an upset by the underdog McGregor.
“I am pulling for McGregor,” said one retiree in attendance, “but Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers in history. I just hope it doesn’t end too soon.”
Fans were not disappointed as McGregor, a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter with no professional boxing experience, held his ground and landed punches that backed Mayweather up. While the two fighters went toe-to-toe for the first 10 rounds, signs of fatigue in McGregor soon became apparent.
One minute into the 10th round, Mayweather landed a huge right hand that nearly knocked McGregor down, then followed up his assault with a barrage of punches. Five seconds later, referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight, declaring Floyd Mayweather the winner by TKO.
In the post-fight interview Mayweather revealed his strategy was to wear him down early, then go in for the kill in the later rounds.
"Our game plan was to take our time, go to him, let him shoot his shots early and then take him out down the stretch," Mayweather said. "We know in MMA he fights for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, he started to slow down. I guaranteed to everybody that this wouldn't go the distance.
The fight was an exciting warrior-on-warrior match and the overflow crowd at the Hap Arnold Club was not disappointed.
“It was an amazing fight and the [Hap Arnold] club was a great place to watch it,” said retiree Alex Burton. “I think of all the great fights of the 1970’s and 80’s that must have been televised in here when the base was active duty. It was cool to so many people chose to come here.”
The $10 cover charge got patrons admitted, a table next to one of five big screen projectors and allowed them to choose from a variety of appetizers from the included buffet line.