There was to be no seismic sporting shock in Las Vegas on Saturday night (26 August) as Floyd Mayweather Jr stopped MMA kingpin and boxing novice Conor McGregor in the 10th round of their highly-anticipated lucrative crossover bout at T-Mobile Arena.
The five-division, 15-time world champion, stepping back into the ring for what he claims will be the final time following a two-year retirement, remains undefeated and moved clear of legendary heavyweight Rocky Marciano by improving his glittering professional record to 50-0.
However, there was certainly no disgrace experienced by a man who has conquered two weight divisions in the brutal world of the UFC and forged an impressive career as one of biggest and most charismatic stars in combat sports.
McGregor, tipped by many to have no realistic chance of hurting arguably the best and most elusive boxer of his generation, began the fight well following a delay caused by pay-per-view outages in the United States and engineered plenty of discomfort by virtue of his unorthodox style.
The brash 'Notorious' landed a jolting left uppercut and unsurprisingly pushed the boundaries early on, inviting warnings from referee Robert Byrd for repeated rabbit punching.
He appeared to claim each of the opening three rounds as a calculated but inactive Mayweather quietly assessed the unique challenge in front of him, even showboating at one stage with his hands behind his back.
However, McGregor, who has only fought past three rounds once in the octagon, visibly began to tire soon after as the pace of a 12-round contest quickly caught up with him. An absolute master of timing, Mayweather went to work with precision after a highly cautious opening and started to pick several nice shots including a heavy right hand.
'Money' then began to relentlessly walk down the Irishman and easily absorbed a flurry of weak punches, landing his own powerful strikes in what looked to be an ominous sign for his tired opponent.
The resilient McGregor dug deep as he attempted to recover his stamina on his boxing debut, remaining in the contest but failing to produce anything that would unduly trouble Mayweather. He barely clung on in the latter stages of the ninth as a knockout seemed inevitable.
The end finally came in round 10, when Mayweather unleashed several punishing right hands and Byrd stepped in to end the fight and protect a proud but well beaten challenger who clearly had nothing left to give as he was sent staggering around the ring.
"We talked about - he's a tough competitor. I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see," Mayweather, comfortably ahead on all three judges' scorecards at the time of the TKO, was quoted as saying by Sky Sports afterwards. "He's a lot better than I thought he was. He used different angles. He was a tough competitor.
"Our gameplan was to take out time, let him shoot his heavy shots early. I guaranteed everybody that this wouldn't go the distance. Boxing is a hell of sport, MMA is a hell of a sport. Rocky Marciano is a legend and I look forward to going down in the hall of fame one day. This was my last fight ladies and gentlemen."
McGregor, meanwhile, was evidently proud of that fast start and admitted his fatigue while complaining that the referee may have called a halt to proceedings too soon.
He said: "I thought I took the early rounds, but he had to change his style. He's composed, not that fast or powerful, but patient, fair play, it's a great career he's had. Hopefully I entertained the fans, I thought it was close, I thought the stoppage was a bit early, I get like that.
"I would have liked the ref to let me keep going. I was a little fatigued, early on I thought it was handy, I have to give it to him. I've been strangled on live TV before and came back, it was some buzz, it was very different in here, its fatigue, but just let me go down, let's see what happens. Where was the final two rounds, let me wobble back to the corner. I'm happy I'm draped in the flag and my country are behind me."
In the co-main event, Mayweather protege Gervonta Davis secured a somewhat controversial eighth-round victory over Costa Rican Francisco Fonseca. 'Tank', who was stripped of his IBF super-featherweight belt on Friday after weighing in at two pounds over the 130 limit, was subjected to boos after an underwhelming display featuring no shortage of unnecessary taunting that ended with a questionable left hand to the back of the head.
Elsewhere, Nathan Cleverly lost his WBA light-heavyweight strap after being comprehensively dismantled in five rounds by another prominent member of the Mayweather Promotions stable, Badou 'The Ripper' Jack. It was an impressive stoppage for the former WBC super-middleweight title-holder, who now stands as a two-weight world champion.
There were also wins for Andrew Tabiti, Yordenis Ugas, Juan Heraldez and Antonio Hernandez. Britain's ex-amateur champion and Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Savannah Marshall, making her professional debut under the Mayweather banner, earned a comfortable decision triumph over Sydney LeBlanc.