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Leonard Ellerbe says Conor McGregor ‘definitely has a future in boxing, if he chooses to’

Conor McGregor was defeated by Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.
Esther Lin, Showtime Sports

Conor McGregor may not have defeated Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night in Las Vegas, but by stealing rounds from the unbeaten great and generally blowing away the expectations placed on him ahead of the historic mega-fight, he still left a lasting impression on Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions.

“I was actually very surprised with his ability to do certain things,” Ellerbe said of McGregor at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “He definitely has, if he chooses to — he definitely has a future in boxing, if he chooses to. To be able to last as long as he did, he’s a very tough competitor. He has a big heart, and again, he showed a lot, especially with this being his professional debut. I think that he did the UFC proud, he did his country proud, and he should definitely keep his head up high.

“He’s tough as nails,” Ellerbe added. “He wasn’t going to lay down. He has a big heart and I understand why he’s the biggest star in the UFC, and one of the biggest stars in all of sports.”

McGregor did well in the early rounds, attacking Mayweather with aggression and unusual angles before fading late and losing via standing TKO in the tenth round. In total, according to CompuBox statistics, McGregor landed 111 punches on Mayweather — 30 more than Manny Pacquiao landed on Mayweather in their infamous 2014 bout, and only six less than Saul “Canelo” Alvarez landed over 12 rounds against Mayweather in 2013.

McGregor will now return to mixed martial arts as an even bigger star, potentially to defend the UFC lightweight title he captured last year against Eddie Alvarez. And while the Boxing vs. MMA experiment ended up being a lucrative win-win endeavor for all involved, Ellerbe made it clear that Mayweather Promotions isn’t looking to make the crossover spectacle a regular occurrence.

“We’re not looking to fight any other UFC fighters,” Ellerbe said. “It was a great promotion, I really enjoyed working with Dana and his team, very professional group. They’ve had a tremendous amount of success and I truly understand why. He’s got a great team and they have a great, well-oiled machine, and again it was a great joy to be able to work with them on this promotion.”

As for Mayweather, who improved his undefeated record to 50-0 on Saturday night, the 40-year-old all-time great is finally hanging his gloves up for good, according to Ellerbe.

“Floyd’s not looking to box anymore. This was it,” Ellerbe said. “He’s had a phenomenal career. I can’t say enough about that. There’s nothing else to accomplish. He’s broken all the records, done everything. We can leave that up to the young guys now. He’s passing the torch on, he’s looking to move on to the next phase of his life, and I’m very happy for him.”

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