I couldn’t help but think about that idea as I watched Floyd Mayweather Jr and Connor McGregor go on a worldwide press tour, including a visit to London. They swore at each other and they threatened each other. They threw money at each other and wore suits with foul language sown in the seams. They got bodyguards to threaten each other. It was embarrassing and cringe worthy but it has definitely got people talking. And it has people willing to spend money.
It’ll probably be the highest grossing boxing match of all time.
When you take a step back you really realise how crazy that is. This is a boxer on 49-0 against a boxer who is 0-0. Even if you take McGregor’s MMA record, he is 21-3. He isn’t even perfect as an MMA fighter. The rebuttal may be that that McGregor has fought the best, because people like to believe that Mayweather picked fighters either before or past their prime. Whilst the UFC does indeed force it’s fighters to fight the best more often, Mayweather’s resume is a who’s who of elite level fighters during the late 90s to the late 2000s. Some of them were picked at the right time, but people like Zab Judah, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marcos Maidana, and Miguel Cotto either fought on to a high level or went into the fight with Mayweather in career best form. Of course, Mayweather dealt with all of them with relative ease.
Even at 40, out of the ring since 2015, it is inconceivable he could lose to McGregor. Every person I have spoken to in boxing, from old pros turned trainers, to managers, to fighters, knows this is a supreme mismatch which is borderline dangerous.
All he has to do is avoid an overrated left hand from McGregor. Mayweather made a career of slipping shots and using footwork to stay just out of range of much better boxers than McGregor. This isn’t an MMA contest or a street brawl. This is boxing, and Mayweather know it inside and out.
It’s hard not to see this event with plenty of sadness, because in the heady days of Ali and Frazier and Foreman, it was simply two great boxers going at it. I like MMA as it’s a brilliant sport but I wish McGregor would have fought the guys in his sport, creating a legacy like Ali and Foreman, and Mayweather had pushed himself to take on any of the many great young fighters at welterweight.
The one thing I ask however, is, don’t blame me when the snake oil salesman rides off into the sunset with your money. I warned you!