FLOYD MAYWEATHER’S clash with Conor McGregor on August 26 has got the whole world talking. There has been support and anger in equal measure, with some referring to it as a circus, freak show or simply a joke. Whatever your personal thoughts on the fight, it could well be the most lucrative in combat sports history.
We know all about Mayweather. His skills in the ring have been unmatched for years, whilst his outside issues and antics keep him well and truly at the forefront of the sport he retired from back in 2015. But, what about McGregor?
The Irishman has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top and wants to add boxing to the sports he has taken over along with the UFC. For many, he has no chance with Mayweather, whilst others give him only the proverbial puncher’s chance. It’s hard to disagree and put forward a better case for “The Notorious” McGregor.
Following last week’s four stop press tour, McGregor fans’ voices are at an all-time high. What was once a fantasy hypothetical match-up is now a genuine reality and both men’s pride is well and truly on the line. For Mayweather, his reputation and legacy will be at stake, as he looks to move to 50-0 and past Rocky Marciano’s vaunted record.
He loses it all with a defeat and boxing as a sport will take a big knock. As for McGregor, it’s a win-win for the Irishman, who just four years ago was on the dole before his debut in the UFC against Marcus Brimage in Stockholm.
If McGregor comes out of the ring in August a defeated man, then no one will be surprised. He goes back to the Octagon and is lauded as someone who called his shot and went out on his shield. If he wins then brace yourself for the biggest uprising combat sports has ever seen.
The name McGregor is now arguably bigger than the UFC and he has well and truly transcended the sport. With a win against Mayweather, he will hold in his hand more power than any other sportsman on the planet and the money he will command will be incredible.
Which is fitting, as that is what has really brought this fight together. Money.
Are there better fights out there for Mayweather to come back for? Of course there are, but would these fights do the numbers that a clash with McGregor will and provide Floyd with the financial benefits that are at the forefront of his mind?
Mayweather’s last fight with Andre Berto was anything but a roaring success. The usual Mayweather detractors were desperate to see him lose. Those detractors will be back, but once Floyd saw the McGregor figures, I personally believe that is what finally convinced him to take this fight.
McGregor has drawn over a million buys for each of his last four fights and he is guaranteed entertainment, whether it be in the Octagon or the press conferences. The fact they filled out arenas for press conferences alone is testament to what McGregor brings to this event.
McGregor’s true value in this fight is in the build-up. His ability to draw Mayweather out of the shackles that hold him back in press conferences, since he morphed from “Pretty Boy” to “Money” were off and he was the most animated we have seen for a long time.
The Irishman was brash and outrageous, which we have all come to expect from him. Yes, some of it was close to the line and doesn’t portray either of them favourably, but we all knew it was coming.
He excels in the Octagon and he is at his best when he has a willing dance partner. Mayweather, like Nate Diaz, did just that and wasn’t out of his element in the mental warfare, as Jose Aldo was the last time McGregor embarked on a world press tour. Mayweather was aware of all this and unsurprisingly a stop-off in Dublin was avoided.
Mayweather also won’t be beaten before he gets into the ring on August 26, as Aldo was in 2015. The Brazilian never recovered from the McGregor show and despite his response to some of McGregor’s taunts, Mayweather will have seen dollar signs in his eyes the first time they came face-to-face.
Which comes to the fight, or event, itself. What will McGregor do? He likes to be the aggressor, but is capable of fighting off the back foot well too. His left hand is a weapon in the Octagon, including when he is pulling back, as many who have taken it will testify, but the main question is will he actually get close enough to land it?
UFC President Dana White put a video of Shane Mosley landing a flush shot on Mayweather as proof he can be caught. With the greatest of respect, McGregor is no Shane Mosley. He is what he is. A novice in the boxing ring, who will become one of the highest paid fighters to ever step between the ropes.
We’ve all seen the Chris van Heerden sparring video and the South African couldn’t miss at times. Mayweather shouldn’t have a problem, so we have to wonder will he carry McGregor the full 12 rounds or will he aim to go out and make a statement and send him back to the UFC with his tail between his legs.
McGregor has been referred to by Mayweather as a “quitter”. Well, the facts don’t lie, he has tapped out all three times he has lost, but that element is well and truly out of the window in this fight. Don’t expect Mayweather to pull a Diaz and submit McGregor, although it’s fantastic to imagine the scenes if he did.