“You can’t just go by the numbers, that he’s 18-1, you have to look at who he’s fought,” said Bob Bennett, the executive director of the commission. “I have the utmost respect for any fighter that’s willing to get in the ring. But Andre’s skills were far superior to Murdock’s.”
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While McGregor, 28, compiled a 21-3 record in mixed martial arts, in which the rules allow him to use his feet and wrestle opponents to the ground, Bennett said the commission decided that he was simply a premier athlete who belonged in the ring with Mayweather.
“If you’re going to take the position that Conor has never had an amateur or professional fight, then I’m not going to change your mind,” Bennett said. “If you look at him today versus Floyd Mayweather, Conor is the taller, longer, stronger, more powerful opponent. He’s also a southpaw, which makes it a little more difficult for a conventional fighter. He’s 12 years younger than Floyd.”
Richard Steele, a retired Hall of Fame referee who officiated many of boxing’s biggest fights over a career that lasted nearly four decades, said he was not sure he would have sanctioned the bout.