Boxing survived the fight sent to destroy the sport.
Sugar Ray Leonard said he was “impressed and surprised” by Conor McGregor’s efforts and Shane Mosley thought the Irishman “did a great job”.
Many others, much less qualified, have declared last month’s contest in Las Vegas ineligible for inclusion on Floyd Mayweather’s professional fight log.
The record for a champion retiring unblemished, according to the gainsay brigade, must remain shared between Mayweather and the 1950s world heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano on 49 fights.
The argument rolls that McGregor’s limitations invalidate the status of the contest and therefore Mayweather cannot claim to be 50-0.
Yet an examination of Marciano’s career is enlightening.
In his ninth contest, the ‘Brockton Blockbuster’ faced an opponent described in a later biography as a “sad-faced Puerto Rican”.
Marciano had spoken to Gil Cardione before their brief dalliance in Washington DC in September 1948 and learned how Cardione was boxing only to support his family.
“He hasn’t got the heart for it,” Marciano said at the time. “I’m gonna ruin him.”
Cardione survived for 36 seconds. Marciano was paid $200 and fought again just four days later.
Cardione’s entire professional career spanned four contests, all ending in defeat and none of which went beyond two rounds.
The boxing statistics website Boxrec notes also how, in 1949, Marciano beat fellow American Pat Richards in two rounds and the New York Daily Mirror newspaper reported that Richards “had no business being in the ring” with the man who would win the world title three years later.