PROMOTER Richard Schaefer has defended Floyd Mayweather’s upcoming fight with UFC star Conor McGregor and argues that the unbeaten American would be a huge favourite over any fighter he faces.
Mayweather has been criticised by many for choosing to come out of retirement and face a professional debutant in McGregor, though both are set to earn an extraordinary amount of money from their August 26 clash.
Schaefer, who has worked with Mayweather in the past, believes that Floyd is simply continuing his lucrative form of dividing opinion.
“I think it’s an event and I am positive about it. There’s a lot of people who talk bad about it, I think a lot of it has to do with jealousy,” he told Boxing News.
“I remember when I did Mayweather fights there were always those who loved Floyd and who followed him and there were those who wanted to see him lose. Usually the negative people were louder than the ones who support him, so you’d always hear these ‘haters’ as they’re called. That’s normal, that’s Mayweather, that’s what happens when he fights.
“He has become the world’s highest paid athlete because he evokes emotions in people. Just being a good fighter and always smiling will only take you so far, but if you can evoke emotion, you can become a superstar and that’s what Floyd has done. That’s what he’s doing here, he is evoking emotion.”
The size of the fight itself is undeniable, with both men and their respective teams currently taking part in an international whistle-stop press tour that has made headlines across the world.
McGregor, a two-weight UFC champion, boxed at novice level as an amateur but has never had a competitive boxing bout since moving to MMA. Schaefer feels that the Irishman could have a chance at springing a monumental upset if he can cope with Floyd’s power.
“I cannot go anywhere without somebody asking me about this fight. The world is talking and that is promoting. It evokes emotion. In this case, a lot of people hate it, a lot of people love it and a lot of people are going to buy it,” he continued.
“Some call it a circus act, it’s not a circus act. You never know in a boxing ring. Is Mayweather favourite? Of course he is. Can you totally count McGregor out? No. Do we really know what McGregor will bring? I don’t know. Is Mayweather a big puncher? No. If Mayweather cannot hurt McGregor, it becomes very interesting.”
More hardcore boxing fans would rather have seen Mayweather return to action against a more legitimate threat – such as unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
However Schaefer points to Mayweather’s dominant decision win over Canelo Alvarez in 2013 as evidence that Floyd is good enough to handily win fights, even when the betting odds are much closer.
“Do I think Mayweather will win by a wide margin? Yes, but it doesn’t matter who you put in with Mayweather, I’d give you the same answer,” he said.
“If he goes and fights Golovkin, he wins by a wide margin – he did it with Canelo. Mayweather has a talent not just to win but to make other great fighters look very ordinary.”