McGregor the brawler was never going to win against a nuanced boxer in a boxing match, outside of landing an early-round blow that might've ended the fight early. Floyd Mayweather, whether you like him or not, had a 49-0 record at the highest level of boxing for a reason. If nothing else - he's always been a defensive fighter who won a majority of his fights in the latter part of the bouts... he's an intelligent fighter. He didn't need to change his strategy whatsoever. In fact - sticking with his usual strategy of wearing down his opponent actually increased the odds of him winning, especially given that McGregor wasn't accustomed to going more than 10-15 minutes in his MMA fights before he was awarded the decision.
McGregor came to fight, whereas Mayweather came to box. And despite all of the training beforehand, despite Mayweather agreeing to the lighter 8oz gloves - it was never going to change Mayweather's game plan.
But there is some truth to the argument that this fight was staged. Three weeks out, with the promoters knowing that ticket sales weren't strong... not knowing how strong the PPV sales might be at the last minute... they created the narrative that Mayweather was slow and vulnerable, and that McGregor stood at least a punter's chance. All of which, of course, was designed to increase publicity and interest. Mayweather's interviews the last couple of weeks leading up to the fight, regarding the legitimacy of his opponent, changed quite dramatically. Suddenly the 49-0 champion was giving McGregor a lot more credit than was obviously due.
I think both fighters were told beforehand - "this fight needs to go more than 2-3 rounds." Beyond that, I don't know that much else was staged. I think McGregor knew he was overmatched, but also knew that he needed to do his part in making sure that the PPV audience deserved more than a 2 or 3 round decision.
Once those first couple of rounds were in the books, I think both fighters felt that they'd fulfilled their obligations. I don't think it would've changed the outcome, as Mayweather was never going to lose this fight, whether it was ended early or he would decide to extend the bout to 10 rounds.
I think this was predetermined to go on longer than 25 minutes of action, and at that point may the best man win.
Glad I didn't spend the 100 bucks to watch it, although at the same time I'll admit that I enjoyed it. My neighbor invited me over to watch, so I brought some wings and pizza over to his place on what would've otherwise been a boring evening of Netflix reruns.
My summary is that McGregor acquitted himself fairly well, and Mayweather stuck to his usual script of being a seasoned fighter. But there was an enormous amount of hype and hoopla heading into the final days of the fight that can't be ignored, and that leads me to believe that the promoters knew what the outcome would be all along.
McGregor never stood a chance. Not in a boxing match, not in a bout that would take 30+ minutes.