IT won’t be long before world titles and rankings are a forgotten thing of the past and all that matters is the amount of money a fight is able to generate. We’re heading that way, certainly, and, scarier still, this thirst for a pay-per-view super-fight, regardless of its meaning or purpose, is moving us towards the prospect of matches between boxers and mixed martial artists being commonplace rather than unwanted anomalies.
It’s all talk for now – thankfully. There’s talk, for instance, of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather repeating their grim spectacle from 2015 at some point in 2019. But first Pacquiao must get past Adrien Broner, another man whose appeal has more to do with money than achievement, and Mayweather, also, might have a fight in the interim, perhaps against Khabib Nurmagomedov, the Russian UFC star recently seen choking out Conor McGregor.
Wouldn’t that be fun? Better yet, should Mayweather fancy earning even more money, there’s the possibility he might have a mess around with McGregor again at some point next year. And who could say no to that?
“McGregor was talking that s**t so it ain’t over,” Mayweather told TMZ. “After me and Khabib lock-up, me and McGregor going to lock-up again.”
In all seriousness, fights like the ones mentioned are no longer empty threats or private jokes between friends. There is, in fact, a real possibility they will come to fruition. After all, with Mayweather vs. McGregor, that abomination of a ‘hybrid fight’ from summer 2017, opening the floodgates, who’s going to put a stop to it?
“Floyd is going to fight on December 31 and I’m going to fight January 12,” Pacquiao has been quoted as saying. “After that, we’ll know. He’s coming back. We’ll discuss it after Broner.
“If that fight happens, I want Cinco de Mayo (May 5) or July.”
There are at least three worrying strands to Pacquiao’s statement. The first is that he seems set on fighting Adrien Broner. This, while not a bad fight, is hardly one Broner deserves, nor one that gets the pulse racing. Of greater concern, however, is the revelation that Mayweather has his sights set on fighting December 31 – presumably a New Year’s Eve extravaganza against a man with two arms but no chance of winning – and that Pacquiao and Mayweather are already spit-balling dates to put us through the ringer again next year.
Not one of the fights rumoured is deserving of the money it will generate, nor the publicity it will receive. But those things, money and publicity, are the very reasons why no rules apply and why public opinion is moot. Mayweather vs. Nurmagomedov, for example, is surely a fight no sane combat sports fan wants to see, yet, with ungodly pay-per-view revenue all but guaranteed, why the hell wouldn’t you chuck a grappler in with a boxer and hope for the best?
“Oh, we fighting,” Mayweather said to TMZ. “He called me out. So, he gotta come to my world.
“I’m my own boss. So, I can’t say what’s going on on Khabib’s end. But, on my end, we can make it happen.
“When I face Khabib, I’m getting a nine-figure payday. It’s more than the McGregor fight. Probably $100million or more, guaranteed.
“I’m going to say somewhere between $110m and $200m, guaranteed.”
There was a time when fighters called out other fighters because they wanted something they possessed – a title, for example, or perhaps their world ranking. The money was nice, considered a bonus in the grand scheme of things, but never boasted about the way it is today, much less the sole reason a fight is deemed to make sense. It’s easy to forget, and miss, those times.