Mayweather-McGregor: A marriage of convenience

By Tom Gray

In an era where the demarcation line between a competitive fight and a global sporting event is blurred, maybe even invisible, the ultimate combat circus will finally become a reality on August 26 in Las Vegas.

In the blue corner; weighing in at 154 pounds, wearing chinchilla trunks trimmed in diamonds, undefeated at 49 and 0, with 26 knockouts. Ladies and gentleman, the 11-time, five-weight world champion, and boxing’s pound-for-pound superstar – Floyd… “Money”… Mayweather!

And, in the red corner; weighing in at 154 pounds, wearing much baggier trunks than what he’s accustomed to, making his professional boxing debut. Ok… I’ll stop – you get the picture.

Let’s separate the facts from the fancy on Mayweather-McGregor

Why is this happening?

Mayweather surpasses a $100 million guarantee in a single prizefight for the second time in two years. The pay-per-view upside will push him way beyond that; conceivably towards, or over, the $200 million mark. Floyd would have taken that offer at 60 years old, never mind 40.

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

This is disgusting, says the hardcore boxing fan

Not be harsh, but you don’t matter a damn. The hardcore boxing fan is a minority group. That’s why a junior welterweight unification fight between Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol pulls in 60,000 pay-per-view buys. That’s why this weekend’s Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev rematch, as good a fight as you could ask for, will be lucky to break 200,000 buys. Mayweather-McGregor is aimed at casual sports fans and there are millions of them. This “fight” could surpass the pay-per-view record set by Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao which was 4.6 million buys, at $100 a clip, in May 2015. Let that sink in.

Is this type of event unprecedented?

In his professional debut, Pete Rademacher challenged, and lost to, undisputed heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson in August 1957. The thing is, Rademacher was an Olympic boxing champion, so he was talented and dedicated to his trade. Coincidentally, Mayweather-McGregor will take place almost 60 years later to the day from when Patterson stopped Rademacher in six.

Why didn’t McGregor test the waters against a less threatening opponent?

Because he would probably have lost. Paulie Malignaggi, a former two-weight world titleholder, offered to take on McGregor when the Irishman was first granted a boxing license in California. McGregor had no interest in the fight and threatened to deal with Malignaggi when he seen him. Not in a boxing ring, he wouldn’t. Even a retired version of “The Magic Man” would turn McGregor upside down, spank his ass and shake the Euros out of his pockets. Last year, footage emerged of McGregor sparring Chris Van Heerden, who is currently the second best junior middleweight in South African. To say, “The Notorious One” looked like a fish out of water is an insult to both fish and water.

What should you expect during the build up?

Mayweather: Conor McGregor is one helluva competitor. I’m 40 years old and anything can happen in that squared circle. The thing is, I’m one helluva competitor and this is boxing.

McGregor: (Throws an energy drink at Mayweather) You can’t even spell “boxing”, bitch. I’m gonna knock you out and shock the world.

The masses lap it up and it rains pay-per-view buys.

It’s happening!

Is this merely a sparring session?

No. Mayweather, an Olympic bronze medalist at Atlanta 1996, has been sparring world championship level fighters since he was a kid. He was mixing with Frankie Randall and Hall of Famer Pernell Whitaker at 17 years old. As a professional, he has defeated over 20 world champions, across five divisions. McGregor didn’t win a single amateur tournament of significance and has never boxed for pay. Weigh it. This is worse than a sparring session.

What would happen if Mayweather and McGregor mixed it in the Octagon?

That would be as humiliating for Mayweather as this is going to be for McGregor. The Irishman would break Floyd’s bones in alphabetical order and down a pint of Guinness in the process. The same applies in a street fight. Call it no contest.

Knock on affect for Canelo Alvarez versus Gennady Golovkin pay-per-view event

I will be in Las Vegas for the real prizefight three weeks after “The Money Team” has folded up their tent and left town. Personally, I can’t stand the fact that the two fights are so close together and it would be a real injustice if this farce pulled significant attention away from the biggest fight in world boxing. Also, if Mayweather-McGregor costs $100 on pay-per-view, then North American fight fans could conceivably be asked to shell out $200 inside a month for both events. Crap!

Prediction

I wouldn’t be altogether surprised if McGregor has already been advised not to get cute when the bell rings. He’s a decorated, full-time professional in MMA and must know that he has literally no chance of victory. Either way, Mayweather wins – when and how he wants to. This is not combat – it’s an act of stupidity with a substantial dollar-value attached. An arranged marriage. A business traction. WWE with punch.

Aftermath

Boxing gets a black eye so big that it requires an iceberg to stand in a for a cold compress. Hopefully, Canelo versus GGG can restore order.

Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing

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