Conor McGregor

Rob's Rants: Rhys Hoskins, Eric Lindros, Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor

Rob's Rants: Rhys Hoskins, Eric Lindros, Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor

Here's the latest edition of Rob's Rants in which CSNPhilly's Rob Ellis does just that about the hottest topics in Philly sports.

Rhys is the word
What Rhys Hoskins has done in less than a full month in the majors has been unprecedented. It’s been staggering as a matter of fact. We’re not talking Phillies history. We’re talking history of baseball. Like 1876. He has 11 home runs this month after being called up Aug. 10. He’s a must-watch, whether at the park or on TV. But here’s the thing, we all know he can’t keep this pace up. We get it. Teams and pitchers will make adjustments, there will invariably be struggles, blah, blah, blah.

Can we enjoy it a little before the reality police pull us over for having too much fun? The cries from the “slow the roll” crowd have begun. Domonic Brown's six weeks of glory have been invoked in the conversation. This needs to stop. As dreadful as the last few years have been with this team, when Pat Neshek is your All-Star rep, you deserve to be able to savor a little and live in the here and now. As I’ve mentioned before, Hoskins is a hitter first. He works counts, he can hit from behind in counts. That will make him much less prone to long slumps or fading away like Brown. Here's what Cubs manager Joe Maddon said after Hoskins hurt his club over the weekend:

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a young guy look that profound at home plate. That’s the part that tells me he can sustain, not necessarily this pace, but he can sustain because he doesn’t strike out. He will accept his walks. He doesn’t expand the strike zone. He uses the whole field. He’s a big guy with short movements to the ball. Pretty impressive.”

Yes it is.      

No. 88 in the rafters
Eric Lindros will become the sixth Flyers player to have his number retired. The ceremony will take place in January (see story)

Lindros was a phenomenal Flyer. He racked up 659 points in 486 games played with the orange and black. Yes, things got ugly the last couple of years with him and his parents and the Flyers' brass, namely then-general manager Bob Clarke. They gave up a ton for him and it didn’t result in a Cup. But when he was on the ice, he was a great player. The 6-4, 240-pound combo platter of size and speed was rare back in 1992 when Lindros broke into the league. The Flyers were perennial Cup contenders during his prime and through no fault of his own, they never had a good enough goalie.

Much like his Hockey Hall of Fame induction, Lindros' No. 88 being raised to the roof of the Wells Fargo Center is much deserved. 

Cha-ching
The Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight was about one thing: money. Not Mayweather's keeping his perfect 49-0 record intact and surpassing Rocky Marciano. It was not about Conor McGregor's showing he could box or bringing MMA to a larger audience.

They were just the by-products.

There’s a reason why Mayweather’s nickname is “Money.” Conservative estimates have Mayweather earning in excess of $200 million when all is said and done with this fight. That will put him north of $1 billion made in his career. McGregor was a plumber less than a decade ago — he could take home $100 million for his work Saturday.

What about the Vegas bookmakers you ask? It was the most-bet fight ever — $85 million was wagered on the bout.

Forget the trash talk, the racial implications, the misogyny. This was a well-orchestrated dance between the two the entire time leading up to the fight. Mayweather may have won the fight on a TKO in the 10th. But both guys were victorious.    

Help
Despite the often ugly times we exist in, we are still a country that rallies around one another and can show incredible depths of kindness and humanity, especially in times of need. The people of Southeast Texas and surrounding areas are in crisis mode. Hurricane Harvey’s devastation will be felt for years to come. Fifty-four counties have been impacted. The videos and still shots are shocking and unbelievable. It’s been dubbed an unprecedented natural disaster. Here’s how you can help.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. beats Conor McGregor by TKO in 10th round

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USA Today Images

Floyd Mayweather Jr. beats Conor McGregor by TKO in 10th round

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. put on a show in the last fight of his spectacular career.

Conor McGregor didn't do so badly, either.

Mayweather figured out a 50th opponent Saturday night, letting McGregor have the early rounds before stalking him late and leaving the mixed martial artist defenseless and exhausted on the ropes in the 10th round.

It was a smashing end to a career that earned Mayweather more money than any fighter before him -- including an estimated $200 million for his last bout.

"I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see," Mayweather said. "I owed them for the (Manny) Pacquiao fight."

Mayweather battered McGregor around the ring in the later rounds, finally stopping him at 1:05 of the 10th with a flurry of punches that forced referee Robert Byrd to stop the fight.

Before a pro-McGregor crowd that roared every time the UFC fighter landed a punch, Mayweather methodically broke him down after a slow start to score his first real stoppage in nearly a decade. He did it in what he said would be his final fight, against a man who had never been in a professional boxing match before.

McGregor boxed surprisingly well but after landing some shots in the early rounds, his punches seemed to lose their steam. Mayweather then went on the pursuit. McGregor backpedaled most of the way, stopping only to throw an occasional flurry as Mayweather wore him down.

"I turned him into a Mexican tonight," McGregor said. "He fought like a Mexican."

Though Byrd cautioned McGregor for hitting behind the head on two different occasions, there were no real fouls in the fight and McGregor never tried to revert to any MMA tactics

McGregor had vowed to knock Mayweather out within two rounds, and he won the early rounds with movement and punches to the head. But the tide of the fight turned in the fourth round as Mayweather seemed to figure out what he had to do and began aggressively stalking McGregor.

Mayweather was credited with landing more than half his punches, as he solved McGregor's defense after a few rounds. Ringside stats showed him landing 170 of 320 punches to 111 of 430 for McGregor.

In a fight so intriguing that it cost $10,000 for ringside seats, McGregor turned in a respectable performance for someone in his first fight. He switched from southpaw to conventional at times and used his jab well, but Mayweather's experience and his ring savvy paid off as he executed his game plan to perfection.

"Our game plan was to take our time, go to him and take him out in the end," Mayweather said. "I guaranteed everybody this fight wouldn't go the distance.

McGregor was trailing badly on all three ringside scorecards through the ninth round, with scores of 89-81, 89-81 and 87-83. The Associated Press had it 87-84.

Mayweather was widely criticized for not going after Pacquiao in their megafight, and he didn't make the same mistake this time. In a fight that could make him $200 million, he seemed to stagger McGregor with a series of punches in the ninth round, landing at will as McGregor desperately tried to clinch.

The end was near as the two fighters came out for the 10th round and Mayweather went right after McGregor again. He landed a punch that set McGregor reeling across the ring, then landed a combination that had McGregor defenseless as Byrd moved in to stop the bout. McGregor didn't complain when the fight was stopped and went over and hugged Mayweather.

"I was a little fatigued," he said. "He was composed in there, that's what 50 pro fights can give you."

He seemed almost happy in the ring afterward, secure that he had given a good performance even in losing.

"I thought it was close though and I thought it was a bit of an early stoppage. I was just a little fatigued."

McGregor's challenge of Mayweather was fueled by social media and turned into a spectacle as the two fighters promoted the bout. It figured to make him $100 million or so, and gave McGregor a name and brand outside of the UFC.

He also got some respect from a fighter who has been in the ring his entire life.

"He's a lot better than I thought he'd be," Mayweather said. "He's a tough competitor, but I was the better man tonight."

After all the talk and hype, the fight unfolded like most in boxing figured it would. Mayweather, a 5-1 favorite, took a few rounds to establish his dominance but once he did it was a one-sided fight.

Mayweather ran his record to 50-0, surpassing Rocky Marciano's 49-0 record and giving himself a great parting gift. He repeated afterward that he was not going to fight again.

"This is my last fight for sure. 50-0 sounds good, I'm looking forward to going into the Hall of Fame," Mayweather said. "I picked the best dance partner to do it with.

Irish fans arrived by the thousands in the days before the fight, filling the arena for the weigh-in and boisterously cheering for their man. They even went off in the middle of the night and spray painted an Irish flag and "49-1" on a billboard on Interstate 15 promoting Mayweather's businesses.

The capacity crowd of 14,623 cheered McGregor on, but they quieted as the fight progressed and Mayweather showed his dominance.

Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor prom tour gets off to frenzied start

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USA Today Images

Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor prom tour gets off to frenzied start

LOS ANGELES -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. reached into a backpack and held out a $100 million check for the crowd of 11,000 fight fans to see.

"Let me show you what a $100 million fighter looks like," he said.

Conor McGregor interrupted from his stool behind the podium: "That's to the tax man."

Mayweather replied: "You're right. I'm the IRS, and I'm going to tax your ass."

The undefeated boxer and the Irish UFC champion have thrown their first jabs in a summer of verbal sparring before the fighting spectacle of the year.

Mayweather and McGregor kicked off a four-city promotional tour Tuesday at Staples Center, facing off in front of a raucous crowd that thoroughly enjoyed this circus' first stop in Hollywood. Both fighters promised a knockout, and they had a prolonged shouting match during their second faceoff, with UFC President Dana White stepping between them.

"I am fighting, and he is boxing," McGregor said. "It's two men at the top of their game competing. It's two worlds colliding. That enough is reason why this is what it is."

All but the most naive fight fans realize the promotion for this bout could be much more entertaining than the historic 154-pound fight Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.

McGregor and Mayweather traded clever insults and profane boasts that quickly showed why this boxing match should be a rare spectacle -- before the opening bell, anyway.

"He looks good for a seven- or eight-figure fighter, but I'm a nine-figure fighter," Mayweather said. "This (guy) made 3 million dollars his last fight, but we know that's training camp money for me."

The 40-year-old Mayweather has been coaxed out of his latest retirement for the colossal payday coming from this unique matchup. The bout will cost $99.95 on high-definition pay-per-view, while tickets at T-Mobile Arena will range from $500 to $10,000 -- and there aren't many $500 seats.

In a tailor-made pinstripe suit that repeated a profane phrase in tiny letters as its stripe, McGregor didn't try to disguise his glee at the prospect of his mammoth financial reward for seeing how his heavy hands can fare against Mayweather's famed defensive skills in this cross-disciplinary experiment.

McGregor got more personal than Mayweather, going after everything from the boxer's apparent money troubles to his attire. McGregor also risked racial offensiveness when he yelled, "Dance for me, boy! Dance for me, son!" during an exchange with Mayweather.

"He's in a ... track suit," McGregor said, looking at Mayweather. "He can't even afford a suit anymore. The Rolls is a 2012 outside. He is (expletive). There's no other way about it. I'm going to knock him out inside of four rounds, mark my words."

Two years after his last fight and several years after his trash-talking heyday, Mayweather rose to the promotional challenge in an energetic, biting performance. The unbeaten star led his fans in a call-and-response cheer that derided McGregor as "easy work!"

"That's what the people want to see," Mayweather said. "To have a sold-out arena and just give these people something just real smooth and calm, they don't want that. That's not what they want. These fans want entertainment, and that's what we're here to give them."

And while the 40-year-old Mayweather acknowledged his skills have declined and claimed his comeback is for one fight only, he also said he has "more than enough" to beat a rookie boxer.

"We know Mr. Tapout likes to quit," Mayweather said, referring to McGregor's submission loss to Nate Diaz in UFC competition last year.

When McGregor spoke to the media after the public show, Floyd Mayweather Sr. relentlessly heckled him from the back of the room. The 64-year-old trainer's presence provoked genuine amusement from the two-division mixed martial arts champion, who suggested he might not abide by the contract that would punish him for MMA tactics with an enormous financial penalty.

"Tell him as long as he speaks my name with respect, I will abide by the boxing rules," McGregor said to Mayweather Sr. "I'll abide by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules only if he speaks my name. If he disrespects me during this buildup, then maybe I might just bounce an elbow off his eyebrow. So that's on him how he does it."