Floyd Mayweather against Conor McGregor is now just 4 weeks away. Since the fight was announced last month it’s been the talk of the sporting world. Even if you wanted to escape it, you just can’t. It’s everywhere. The never-ending press conferences, the trash talking, the facedowns, the fans, the controversy……it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
For me, fight night can’t come soon enough. It’ll be a blesssed relief. I was tired of it all before they even made the fight official. This fight alone has taken the world of sports promotion to a new level. The question for me is………is it worth all the hype????
There’s been a lot of emotive and very passionate debate around this fight. On the one hand, there are many saying the very integrity of boxing is on the line and that this fight is a joke. On the other, this is must see TV for many and great for the sport.
I’m a huge boxing fan and have been for as long as I can remember. Up until around 5 years ago, boxing was always THE most watched, most popular combat sport on a global level by a country mile. It wasn’t that long ago that the title of undisputed world heavyweight champion was considered the absolute pinnacle of sporting achievement.
Since the likes of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis hung up the gloves, the heavyweight scene has been on the decline. Yes we’ve had the Klitschko brothers but the quality, the personality and the sheer gravitas of the heavyweight division has gone. It’s no coincidence that boxing as a whole has been on a downward spiral ever since.
The one constant during this difficult time has been the brilliance of Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather. Arguably the best fighter of his generation and universally regarded as the greatest defensive fighter we’ve ever seen. His unbeaten 49-0 record will ensure he goes down in history as one of THE all-time greats.
Outside of the ring, Mayweather has always courted controversy. He’s served jail time for domestic violence. He was never shy in showing off his wealth which rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. He also loved to trash talk opponents and regularly went over the top with his words. Despite this life of mayhem, one thing about Mayweather is not only does he know how to win fights, but he also knows how to sell them.
Remember, he bought himself out of his contract with Top Rank in 2007. Since then, he has taken earnings from boxing to a new level. It is said that Mayweather has earned an incredible $1.3 billion dollars in his career to date.
Despite the likes of Mayweather, people were still questioning the future of boxing. The perceived lack of personalities, the dodgy decisions and the safety of the boxers themselves. All valid concerns amongst many. Could boxing survive in its current state? The public were crying out for an alternative.
Wrestling has always been there and is very popular. However, there’s always been that underlying current where a lot of what goes on in wrestling is seen as fake. The watching masses wanted something more real. Then along came Mixed Martial Arts or MMA as it’s better known.
You talk about real? This is real. The heady full contact mix of an array of martial arts and boxing has been drawing in bigger and bigger audiences since its inception in 1993. Under the umbrella of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) it now rivals boxing in terms of global reach and popularity.
In its formative years, the MMA was very raw. The sheer brutality and lack of rules meant there would always be a struggle in terms of making it mainstream. As the years went on, the fighters were introducing more and more disciplines into the sport so the rules had to be tightened.
The skill, speed, power and brutality were all still there but what the UFC lacked was that special fighter to take the brand to the next level. They needed someone with the talent, the aggression, the charisma and the talk to transcend the sport. They found him in the shape of one Conor McGregor.
It was a partnership made in heaven. The Irishman’s bravado before fights where he would tell opponents exactly what he would do to them and then just go out and do it. He would also cuss them out, literally ridiculing them in front of the watching public. His sense of humour was just too cutting and too much for his opponents. He just did not care.
Then of course, there was his his super-aggressive style in the fights. His ability to knock out his rival with one punch. The round-house kicks, the swagger and his knack of taking a punch and still coming back for more. He was the epitome of the fighting Irish.
Therein lay his other great component, the support of his adoring Irish public. There’s not a country in the world that support their sporting heroes like the Irish. The green army that follows McGregor around is something to behold. Of course that following now is worldwide. He is a phenomenon.
It is only by having someone like McGregor in their ranks, that the UFC and boxing boards could even consider such a matchup. People want to see him in and out of the ring. There are millions that hang on his every word. There are millions who want to copy how he looks and what he wears. He is box office!
We’ve never had UFC v Boxing. This is a first. It’s a novelty. Novelty sells but for it to sell to this extent you need the characters. Apart from Muhammad Ali, I don’t think there been two characters who know how to sell a fight better than these two.
For me, it is worth all the hype because of the novelty factor and the fighters involved. Having said that, I do not believe that this will be a contest in any way. ‘Money’ Mayweather will take Conor McGregor to school and give him an absolute boxing lesson. It will end in around the 6th round by stoppage.
It is worth all the hype because of the millions around the world who are prepared to pay the astronomical prices at the gate and on pay-per-view. The prices at the gate are expected but the costs being bandied about for pay-per-view are almost criminal. They’re talking $90 dollars in the States. I just wonder what they will charge over here. I, for one, will not be paying for it. I’ll listen on the radio or find a stream somewhere……shhhhh!!!!!!
Well enjoy what there is of the fight. It’ll certainly be a spectacle. Both fighters will be laughing all the way to the bank.