IN his curious professional debut Conor McGregor could do nothing to stop Floyd Mayweather going 50-0. But the Irish mixed martial artist did feature in one of the biggest spectacles in boxing in recent years. Does McGregor have a future in boxing and should he stay in the sport? We asked two leading promoters for their view.
Kalle Sauerland would welcome McGregor into boxing with glee. “We’re not in a sport of choirboys. Boxing has always had its villains, has always had its heros, its sinners and winners. It’s what we are. We’re a rough breed. I’d welcome him in,” Sauerland said. “If Conor has my number call me.”
“I’ve got to say I’m addicted to watching,” he explained. “One of the funniest guys, one of the truest entertainers and I hope he continues to box because I think he’s great. He’s not a boxer in the ring. It’s a very strange way of boxing. I think Floyd took a few rounds to work him out. I think he also worked off a little ring rust. I think he needs to start at a real level. To say I’m going to fight Floyd Mayweather in my first fight, that’s insane. Paulie Malignaggi, that’s already for me a very high level but when you’re coming from Floyd Mayweather that’s maybe a good fight to watch, I don’t know. He’s a character, he’s an absolute character.
“It’s simply pure entertainment and you know what, he can back it up a little bit as well. That helps. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed watching his style too much.”
Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn was more circumspect. “The problem is that boxing promoters are boxing people. Would I be interested in putting Conor McGregor against one of our guys? I guess so money-wise. But it’s not going to happen because he’s not going to go back into boxing. I don’t think there’s a fight that appeals to him, that could make him the money versus UFC,” he said.
“What it has done is brought UFC and boxing a little bit closer together. I think now certainly boxing fans are more interested in Conor McGregor now and probably UFC because they’re more educated about it,” he continued. “So I think that’s good for UFC. Whether that can work the other way in boxing and UFC fans and mixed martial arts fans will now have a greater interest in boxing, I think probably so. I don’t think there’s that much crossover normally, I think they’re separate audiences. So that’ll be quite interesting. Overall I think it was quite good for boxing and MMA and I didn’t think that before the fight. I was very worried and also it was on Sky Box Office, which is our platform and I didn’t want the customers to feel shortchanged and that was my big worry. It automatically affects the next pay-per-view. I don’t think they did. They got 10 rounds, they got the build up, they got the card and it was okay. There wasn’t a backlash. I was afraid of a backlash.”
Conor McGregor speaks after the Floyd Mayweather fight below:
Video: MMA Junkie