We are only days away from the much anticipated bout between Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather and ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor – #MayMac is promising to be the highest grossing fight in history.
In one corner, we have a boxing legend, the pound for pound undefeated world champion looking to make history with an unprecedented 50-0 record. In the other corner, we have the ace of the Octagon and one of the best mixed martial arts fighters in the world, intent on proving his pugilistic prowess by way of the Marquess of Queensberry rules.
During their press tour, it was the self-proclaimed Irish Gorilla who took centre stage with his unfettered, slick and hard-hitting punchlines, delivered in poetic fashion. Mayweather has made a career out of playing the ‘bad guy’ in fights which has resulted in millions of fans paying to watch him lose. This time, it seemed like Money was taking a backseat, content to let McGregor do all the legwork in the fight promotion. Instead, we saw an older, wiser Mayweather who was composed and calculated with his words.
Does McGregor stand a fighting chance?
McGregor is going up against a man who has perfected his art over the past two decades, a true champion who has dominated the sport of boxing. His record alone speaks for itself, 49 wins, 26 knockouts and 0 losses, sieving through an all-star list of boxing greats along the way. We are talking about a five-division world champion, having won fifteen world titles, ranked by many as the greatest welterweight of all time, let alone the greatest pound for pound fighter of all time. His defensive boxing ability and punching accuracy is unmatched – CompuBox calculates that Floyd Mayweather Jr has the highest plus–minus punching ratio in recorded boxing history. It is no wonder so many in the boxing circuit are looking at this fight as a joke and are expecting Mayweather to make quick work of his opponent.
Conor McGregor’s rise to the top has been nothing short of inspirational, with the former hailing from humble beginnings, living in his parent’s attic a mere four years ago. While he is the only fighter ever to simultaneously hold two UFC weight class titles, a tremendous feat in its own right, it is difficult to translate his achievements into the boxing ring. We do know that he is extremely determined and resolute, but without the necessary skills and expertise in boxing, he is walking into his own demise. Most fighters spend at least a couple of years in the amateur boxing circuit before even thinking about turning pro.
McGregor may be a southpaw, which is typically the bane orthodox fighters, and though he has a height, reach and overall size advantage, Mayweather has faced greater odds and still come out victorious. When McGregor steps into the ring on Aug 26, he is walking into an operating theatre where Floyd Mayweather is the surgeon general. Mayweather should walk away from this fight having added to his tally, making it 50 wins and possibly 27 KOs.
To have any chance of beating Mayweather, a fighter has to step into the ring with a level of dynamism, constantly adapting to fight both inside and out, catch his fleet-footed opponent on the counters with absolute speed and precision, be quick with his own head and feet movement, while maintaining constant watch over his guard – an expedition that has proved futile for every professional boxer to have ever faced Mayweather. McGregor can count himself lucky to even land a punch.
The Money Involved
“..when you fightin’ at this level, there’s no loser.. I’ve never known a man to make hundreds and hundreds of millions, that is a loser..” – Floyd Mayweather
To put things into perspective, Forbes estimated McGregor’s earnings to be around $34 million from two UFC fights, including appearances and endorsements, in the 12 months since June 2016. Mayweather is said to have earned a whopping $220 million for his fight against Manny Pacquiao alone. The Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight grossed over $600 million in revenue with many expecting Mayweather vs McGregor to trump that easily.
All in, if the fight hits all the monetary metrics as it is expected to, Boxing Kingdom estimates the purses could be as high as $400 million for Floyd Mayweather and $127 million for Conor McGregor.
Tale of the Tape
The fight will be a 12 round (3mins each), super welterweight boxing matchup, contracted at 154lbs with the use of 8oz gloves. A source from the Mayweather camp said the fighter would probably enter the weigh-in around 150lbs while a McGregor representative said the Irishman has been over 160lbs in training and would likely enter somewhere around the 154lbs limit.
At 29, McGregor is in splendid physical condition. His last fight was as recent as November 2016 when he KO’d Eddie Alvarez to claim the UFC lightweight title. At 40, Money still looks to be in good shape. His last bout however was as far back as September 2015 when he beat Andre Berto quite convincingly. Mayweather’s last KO win came over 6 years ago against Victor Ortiz in 2011 but many consider his last proper knockout of an opponent to be Ricky Hatton back in 2007.
The fight has attracted the attention of critics the world over. Many of them, particularly those in the boxing scene, feel that McGregor has no chance of winning. In a recent interview, former four-time world champion ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley even went as far as saying that even if McGregor went up against 64 year old Mayweather Sr, he would still be uncertain of the outcome.
Former IBO welterweight champion Chris Van Heerden who had sparred with McGregor during training said that the Irishman lacked power in his punches. The sentiments of those opposed to the fight can be well encapsulated in Van Heerden’s words:
“It hurts me that there are guys like myself who have been devoted to this sport, risking our lives.. And to see McGregor, who has zero knowledge of professional boxing, make it out like he could just get out of an octagon, step in the ring and beat up the best pound-for-pound fighter out there – to just make out like our lifestyle is so easy and that anybody could do it, and then for people to be saying he has a big chance of beating Floyd.”
It is no wonder the fighters themselves have to pull out all the stops to ensure that the fight is a monetary success.
“..this can’t be a defensive fight, I got to go to him and I owe the fans from the Pacquiao Fight..” – Floyd Mayweather
According to Mayweather, he intends to alter his usual patient approach to give the fans an entertaining fight. If he follows through with his statement, he would abandon his proven defensive counter-punching approach and it may very well leave him open to receiving dangerous and potentially decisive blows from McGregor.
“I’ll rip off his head and play football with it,” said Conor McGregor. “I am going to knock him out inside four rounds, mark my words.”
Conor McGregor has displayed immense commitment to the task at hand which is reflected both in his training and in his words. Mystic Mac has been known to deliver on his predictions and he seems certain that he will pull off one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports in spectacular fashion.
Writing’s on the Wall
With some controversy, the Nevada State Athletic Commission had granted the wish of both fighters to move to 8oz gloves. The rules dictate that 10oz gloves be used for boxing matches above 147lbs. With the fight contracted at 154lbs, concerns were raised over the safety of the contenders, mainly McGregor’s. The move was in part a ploy to raise the interest in the fight. The McGregor camp lauded the move as it would mean harder punches and faster hands for the Irishman.
“..now that gloves are eight ounces, I don’t believe he makes it out of the second round,” McGregor said.
The move did not make any difference to Mayweather who has fought all but three of his professional fights with 8oz gloves and won.
CBS Showtime’s All Access offered an interesting glimpse into the world of both fighters on the lead up to the main event. It portrayed a stark contrast in the approach and preparation towards the fight. McGregor was shown to be extremely focused and dedicated in his training to reach peak physique, incorporating advanced training regimes to ensure he is at his best come fight night.
On the flip side, it seemed Mayweather has not been taking the fight too seriously. Though he had been training, he was also seen spending time at the strip club he owns, partying with Mike Tyson and Shaquille O’Neal’s in Las Vegas, flying around in his private jet and even taking his children out shopping. It is difficult to tell if the portrayal was intended to deceive the audience and cast doubts over Mayweather’s ability to win. It could boil down to overconfidence on Mayweather’s part, or it could just be that he really does not care about the outcome considering the extravagant purse. This is the Money Fight after all.
While it might be a mistake to underestimate McGregor who is undefeated in stand up combat, Mayweather has been known to select his fights strategically. He has planned all his bouts to a T and this fight is no different.
Floyd Mayweather will be carrying the pride and honor of the sport of boxing on his shoulders. The Notorious walks into this fight, playing by his opponent’s rules and is valiantly putting his body on the line against the best the sport has to offer. This cannot be underplayed as we have witnessed from former UFC heavyweight Tim Hague who recently died after suffering a knockout in the ring.
It seems almost impossible that Mayweather will walk out of the fight with a tarnished record, having lost on his own turf to an outsider with no professional boxing credentials. It would be quite a surprise if he does, one that is bound to rock the very foundations of the professional boxing establishment.
Make no mistake, #MayMac is nothing more than a money-making endeavor. Whether it be Floyd Mayweather’s experience and skill, or Conor McGregor’s youth and determination that comes out on top, we will soon find out. The square-off will be a culmination of blood and sweat, a spectacle years in the making, a showdown like no other and it will guarantee us one thing, that once this is all over, we can all look forward to a proper fight when Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez go head to head on 16 September 2017.
You can catch the weigh-in LIVE this Saturday, 26 August, 6am (+8 GMT) on Hub Sports PPV HD (StarHub TV Channel 218) and StarHub Go.
26 August 2017, 6am to 7am (+8 GMT) – Weigh-in
Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor weigh-In
27 August 2017, 7am to 9am (+8 GMT) – Prelims
Juan Heraldez vs Jose Borrego (Welterweight, 10 rounds)
Thomas Dulorme vs Yordenis Ugas (Welterweight, 10 rounds)
27 August 2017, 9am to 1pm (+8 GMT) – Fight Card
Andrew Tabiti vs Steve Cunningham (USBA/NABF Cruiserweight Championship, 10 rounds)
Nathan Cleverly vs Badou Jack (WBA Light Heavyweight World Championship, 12 rounds)
Gervonta Davis vs Francisco Fonseca (IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship, 12 rounds)
Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor (Super Welterweight, 12 rounds)