July 20, 2017
July 20, 2017

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WITH his excellent striking abilities making him one of the most dynamic UFC fighters in the roster, Conor McGregor will finally do that which many believed he would before turning professional in MMA: enter a professional boxing bout for the very first time. Of course, being Conor McGregor, he would have to opt for a clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr, who is an equally fierce character regardless of which side of the ropes he occupies. After a win over Andre Berto in September 2015, Mayweather drew level with Rocky Marciano at 49-0.

It seems as though a victory over McGregor, which would take him to an astounding 50-0, is a foregone conclusion for Mayweather. Indeed, people who get all boxing betting odds at William Hill can see that McGregor is a rank outsider at 9/2, but not an unrealistic prospect to win. With two fiery personalities, and much professional pride at stake, the media has been naturally quick to make much of utterances from either party at press conferences. The descent, from dignified fighting talk to open hostility, is paramount to tradition for special events such as this, but the world of sports entertainment is richer for it. This encounter on July 12 was the latest in a litany of pre-fight clashes between the two:

Decision loss: the best result for McGregor?

At times, this appears to be nothing more than a comedy roast, and there is also a distinct pantomime quality to it – especially with the bag of money as little more than a discourse-aiding prop. Indeed, with such a heavy emphasis on money, not combat abilities, as the glorifying element, there is the feeling that this is little more than a hugely celebrated exhibition, even though both fighters will see their professional records change.

The odds of a knockout or stoppage before time remain surprisingly long, given Mayweather’s perceived (and, apparently, soon-to-be unrivalled) invincibility in the squared circle. As such, it would seem as though both fighters have a brief to entertain and keep a paying audience in suspense for as long as possible. In going the distance, and losing by a split or majority decision as an underdog – not unlike Rocky Balboa in the eponymous film – McGregor would have a good incentive to challenge Mayweather to a rematch. It would be a ‘win-win’ scenario if ever there was one, with a rematch – possibly in the Octagon – ensuring a further swelling of corporate coffers, while also giving a global audience exactly what they want: more McGregor.

After boxing must come WWE debut

McGregor’s marketability as a temperamental personality has already been aided by his extension of hostilities to other fighters, even though he is not even scheduled to fight them:

This type of uncontrolled aggression is consistent with the development of a ‘heel’ persona, an antihero who breaks the rules and shuns authority at every turn. The climate of sports entertainment ensures that the ability to do this is presently consigned to professional wrestling, which is often seen as a ‘fake’ counterpart to boxing and MMA in any case. Yet, there is much more to McGregor than meets the eye. He too, arguably, has the right personality to be a successful WWE antihero, and after he is done with his feud against Mayweather, a transition to the WWE would come as little surprise.