A 40 year-old semi-retired and wily Mayweather allowed McGregor to punch himself out for three rounds before completely taking over and recording an unheard of stoppage in the later rounds.
McGregor did worse than every opponent Mayweather had faced over the past six years, even with the massive age gap, and the MMA fighter is now largely considered to be damaged goods in the squared circle.
There’s no doubting McGregor is the biggest draw around in the octagon, and that’s arguably where he should remain, in order to meet his mandatory requirements and face the best around in their lightweight division.
Coming back to boxing without the Mayweather angle would be a considerable comedown for ‘The Notorious’ one as any purse for touted fights against Paulie Malignaggi or even welterweight world champion Jeff Horn would be in the seven-figure category rather than the nine McGregor pocketed against the ‘Money’ man.
Malignaggi is also coming off a bad loss to British also-ran Sam Eggington, someone who struggled to get past the domestic level in the UK, and which may give Showtime a headache in even making the contest a Pay-Per-View event.
On the other hand, McGregor v Horn would not be allowed to a WBO title fight without the Irishman firstly beating someone in the Top 15, meaning HBO would too struggle to sell the 28 year-old versus the Australian on the chosen paid format of Bob Arum who co-promotes the WBO ruler.
All in all, McGregor’s manner of defeat to Mayweather has left him in no man’s land in 8 or 10-ounce gloves, with another spectacular angle (in the Mayweather realm) needed to drum up PPV support on the other side of the tracks.
Selling the outspoken puncher is easy through his lofty perch as the UFC’s number one earner, which would potentially mean Dana White would have to add McGregor’s future boxing matches to his own Pay-Per-View events.
It’s hard to ever see that scenario coming to fruition, maybe with the exception of Malignaggi (possibly in mixed rules), but as far as crossing back over into boxing is concerned it seems to be a point of no return for the 0-1 McGregor right now.
Maybe if Manny Pacquiao got back in the win column, and McGregor did likewise, the pair could sell an event in a similar mould to ‘MayMac’ – although that notion does skate on the peripheral of fiction and has little chance of ever making it over the line.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay