The Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor circus is up and running
Floyd Mayweather Jr., 49-0 (26) vs. Conor McGregor (0-0) – yes, you read those numbers correctly – will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 26, 2017.
The fight is being called as “The Money Fight” and “The 180 Million Dollar Dance,” (among other things). We will see multiple-time world champion Mayweather take on the current UFC lightweight champion McGregor in a fight that has generated much hype since it was announced.
In short, Conor McGregor, the most popular figure currently working in the UFC, challenged Mayweather to step in the ring with him a long time ago. While it was clear that Mayweather had no interest in testing himself (especially at age 40) in a mixed martial arts bout, he was open to the possibility of taking on McGregor in his 50th fight in a boxing match, if the money was right.
By all indications, the money will be more than right if the pay-per-view predictions are correct, with this bout looking to shatter previous numbers.
So, before the opening bell could ring on this matchup, promoters had to rev up the pre-fight hype machine. This was done with a four-city international tour that saw both camps head to Los Angeles, California, Brooklyn, New York, Toronto, Ontario, and a final stop in London, England.
Thousands of fans turned out in droves to see the two controversial fighters and lap up the pre-fight bile spat back and forth between them.
The first two cities were entertaining and, at times, mildly humorous. By the time they reached Toronto for the third stop on the media juggernaut, things had reached a new low. The promotion, which created incredible, pre-event anticipation beforehand, had now turned into a full-blown circus with Mayweather and McGregor as the more-than-willing ringleaders.
The fight, featuring an unbeaten first-ballot Hall-of-Famer going up against a mixed martial artist making his pro debut in boxing, was initially seen as a complete mismatch. To many, it still is. However, this promotional tour could have given each fighter the opportunity to talk about his calculated plan to dismantle his opponent. Sure, there is always a large helping of bravado and posturing in a pre-fight press junket but it should be supported with some relevant information about a fight plan and a strategy.
Sure, give fans the predictable pre-fight posturing; they love it. But, if I’m McGregor, I’m going to back it up with some truth and reality about just how I will be able to beat Mayweather. Throw in some facts, along with the fun, and you can really get fans believing.
By the third and into the fourth (and final) stop on the tour, the promotional event now simply consisted on each fighter taking the microphone and insulting each other in profanity-laced and, quite frankly, juvenile insults and threats about what one was going to do to the other. By the latter half of the promo tour, I felt like I was seeing a lot of the same script being repeated time and again.
Watching two grown men talk about how much money they have and repeatedly calling each other bitches gets real old real quick.
The fight already had huge fan interest!
Pure boxing fans were going to watch to see Floyd make it clear to Conor that you can’t compete on a Mayweather level in your first time out of the gate. Mixed martial arts fans are going to tune in to see if the hard-hitting, naturally bigger McGregor could muster up enough rocket sauce to catch Mayweather with something and pull off the upset.
And the casual fan was going to tune in because that is what casual fans do. They tune in to check out huge spectacles…and no event was going to be more of a combat spectacle than this one. Records and reality be damned. This was a huge event with two of sport’s true characters and everybody was going to watch, come fight night.
Simply put, it’s box office magic!
Now that all the pre-fight Gong Show has had its day (well, four days actually), it is time to look at the actual fight itself.
Bottom line, I see the fight taking one of a few options:
McGregor comes out hard and fast, jumps on Floyd and tries to land something of the game-changing variety.
Mayweather, always a fairly cautious starter, plays it fairly safe, gets his timing and distance down and starts to pick McGregor apart later in the match.
Floyd catches something hard from McGregor and realizes he doesn’t like what he feels in the power department from Conor. So, Floyd boxes from a safe distance and scores a one-sided (see: boring) unanimous decision.
Floyd comes out and quickly, establishes a superior skill set, gets his distance and starts to land some serious counter punches. He slowly and methodically busts up McGregor and stops him in a few rounds.
Prediction: I just can’t see McGregor improving on what boxing skills he currently possesses in any significant way in the next five weeks. Well, he might improve on what he has but it won’t be anywhere near what he would need to compete against, let alone beat, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
A lot of good fighters – really good fighters – have fallen short in their attempts to be the first guy to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. I just can’t, under any scenario, see McGregor beating him.
Loud and lewd – the weigh-in should be one for the ages but that is where the fun stops for McGregor. On fight night, I like Mayweather stopping McGregor in six or less.
* Tip of the hat to two-division titleholder Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, who announced his retirement on Monday, through his longtime publicist Mario Serrano. Guerrero was as tough as they come and took on the very best available throughout his 16-year-run. Walking away with a record of 33-6-1 (18), the pride of Gilroy, California can look back on a great career with pride.