The best in boxing will face off against the best in UFC in the ring on August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
It is the strangest mega-event in boxing that I have ever personally witnessed. American boxer Floyd Mayweather is set to face off against Irish UFC fighter Conor McGregor in a boxing match in Las Vegas. The bout will be contested at 154 pounds, the light-middleweight division and is scheduled for 12 rounds.
The attention which will be placed upon this event will be unparalleled. There is no denying that Mayweather and McGregor are huge stars in their chosen sports. ‘Money’ Mayweather, who turned 40 this year, retired back in 2015 with a perfect 49-0 boxing record, breaking PPV records and generating hundreds of millions of dollars throughout his 20 year career. The 28 year-old ‘Notorious’ McGregor, on the other hand, has revolutionised UFC in many ways and is undoubtedly the star of the Octagon. He has an MMA record of 21-3 and has shown no fear in taking on opponents at several different weight divisions. He is also a multi-millionaire several times over and his best years are still yet to come in fighting.
In terms of economics and attention brought from this fight, it is a no-brainer to make. For one, I strongly believe that this fight will break the PPV record set by Mayweather vs Pacquiao, the supposed ‘Fight of the Century’ which achieved 4.4 million PPV buys in the United States and created huge worldwide interest. Mayweather said himself that the only fighter which will ensure another 9-figure payday was a match against McGregor. No official information has been released on how much money each fighter is expected to make from fight night. However, Mayweather will demand the lion’s share, as he has done right throughout his career since defeating Oscar De La Hoya in 2007. He is the ‘A-Side’, in his words. I would expect Mayweather’s purse to be upwards of $100 million, before any money generated from PPV. McGregor is expected to earn $75 million from this fight, again before anything generated from PPV sales. That is phenomenal money and too big an opportunity for either man to pass up on.
A hyped-up mismatch?
Putting aside the hullabaloo and the entertainment of two trash-talkers going at it in the squared circle, one is arguably the greatest boxer in history and the other is making his professional boxing debut in this fight. One is 49-0 and the other is 0-0. If we are talking about the matchup itself, it is a mismatch. That is no disrespect to McGregor: he is a fantastic UFC fighter, demonstrated through a 13 second knockout win over 10-year UFC featherweight beltholder Jose Aldo. Furthermore, he showed tremendous skills as a stand-up fighter in the Octagon, using a range of punches to beat Nate Diaz on points in an exciting rematch. McGregor lost the first bout between the two, however he jumped up to 170 pounds on 9 days’ notice and was not ready conditioning wise.
Having said all that, this is a boxing fight, not an MMA fight. Mayweather has dismantled excellent boxers right throughout his career, beating the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya and Canelo Alvarez. Infact, not only did he beat these opponents, he defeated them all with relative ease. Mayweather in his later years was the welterweight king, which in boxing is 147 pounds. McGregor until most recently was the champ at featherweight, which is 145 pounds in UFC. This was until he decided to fight Diaz at 170 pounds (welterweight) and Eddie Alvarez at 155 pounds (lightweight). This fight is going to be contested at 154 pounds, which is likely to suit both fighters well considering McGregor last fought at 155 pounds and Mayweather is coming out of a 2-year retirement.
There are several factors to take into consideration for this fight. If world class/elite boxers could not hit Mayweather often, what chance does McGregor have considering he has never fought in the ring professionally? Furthermore, even if McGregor does manage to hit Mayweather, he will naturally not have the same level of punching technique in boxing terms, therefore it is unlikely to affect Mayweather greatly. McGregor absolutely has a lot of power, but Mayweather has a superb defence and a fantastic chin. Other factors to take into account are Mayweather’s speed, footwork and ring IQ in the boxing ring. McGregor has never faced anyone as elusive or as skilled as Mayweather before and will find it extremely hard to contain the rhythm of the fight. Even though Mayweather is coming from a 2-year layoff, he always keeps himself in fantastic shape and will be extremely prepared come fight night. Another key variable is conditioning: in boxing it is 12 x 3 minute rounds, whereas UFC is 5 x 5 minute rounds (in championship fights). UFC fighters, of course, require extremely high levels of conditioning considering that they have to contend with different abilities in one fight, such as kicking, striking and grappling. However, in terms of pure boxing over 12 rounds in a boxing event, Mayweather undoubtedly has the advantage in this regard and has went the distance many times over.
Predictions for the fight: Mayweather by KO
I take my hat off to Conor McGregor: he has gotten everyone in the world, including myself, interested in him fighting Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match and willing to pay for PPV to see him do it. I strongly believe that this fight has generated even more hype than Mayweather vs Pacquiao did, which I did not think was possible considering the amount of exposure that fight managed to generate. Furthermore, he has natural charisma and phenomenal talent which have propelled him to stardom in combat sports. Fans are in for a treat with the press-conferences, Mayweather and McGregor both being epic trash-talkers. From his humble beginnings in Dublin, Ireland, he has gotten himself a shot against one of the greatest boxers in history under the bright lights of Las Vegas, despite never having boxed professionally. This has been through a combination of fantastic work ethic and marketing. Both fighters know how to sell a fight, and sell it well.
Nonetheless, I do believe Mayweather will score a knockout. Although Floyd is not the biggest power-puncher, with 26 knockouts in 49 fights, I strongly believe that McGregor will tire by the middle rounds and start eating a lot of right hands. As he tires I also believe he will open up greatly and get peppered by shots that he cannot see and will struggle with the momentum. If McGregor can make it somewhat competitive or have some moments of success, I would be the first to give him credit. However, I do believe it is a monumental task facing him when he comes up against a boxing master on August 26th and can only see a Mayweather victory. Despite this, I cannot wait for the full build-up and the event to take place. It is going to be a lot of fun.
Written by: Alex Loughran