As the Mayweather/McGregor boxing match descends upon us, it is being hyped to a point that no other fight in combat sports ever has. The intrigue, of course, comes from taking one of the best boxers of all time and matching him up with one of the best MMA fighters of all time. There been an ongoing question about who would win under those circumstances and it is finally about to be answered.
While I haven’t followed boxing since I was as kid, I am an avid MMA fan. I haven’t had time to watch much video of the pre-fight shenanigans, but I have been reading many articles in anticipation of the big pay-per-view card. Here are some of my thoughts about what might happen on Saturday night.
1. This will be the best selling combat sports pay-per-view ever
of course, there’s no way to be sure, but if the madness before the fight is any indication, this card will beat all records. The top seller to date was Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao in 2015, but I don’t remember that fight having any of the pre-fight build up this one does. McGregor knows how to sell a fight and has worked magic with this one.
To beat the record, this card will have to do over 4.6 million buys. No easy task, but this is the fight to do it. The MayPac fight turned out to be a snoozefest – likely due in part to Pacquiao being injured going into it – but Conor McGregor rarely has a boring fight, so fans aware of that will be encouraged to hit the purchase button.
2. Unless you are a boxing fanatic, you only care about the main event
I know a bunch of MMA fans who are excited for this fight and none of them know any of the boxers on the card except for Mayweather. It’s been a problem that has plagued boxing for decades – they only make stars out of their very top players (think Tyson, Leonard, or Lewis). Meanwhile, while lesser known champions fight on the undercard, viewers wonder why they should even care.
The main event on Saturday is so big that the undercard will have no affect on buys, but it does beg the question “what will everyone do while the other fights are on.” I suspect people will be playing on their phones while eating nachos, which is unfortunate, because it continues a disappointing pattern that overlooks talented athletes and costs the viewer 100 bucks for what amounts to one fight.
3. Both men are motivated by money and legacy
Both men in this contest are likely to make around $100 million with the boxer’s purse being slightly higher than McGregor’s. But the truth is that they both care deeply about their legacy. Mayweather looks to beat Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0 with which he is currently tied. McGregor is looking to change the dynamic in the sport, proving that MMA can compete with boxing in the opposition’s own game.
Pride is an important factor here and despite what they have tried to portray, both these guys have taken this very seriously and are looking to make their mark. This is presumably Floyd’s last fight, but a win for McGregor opens up lots of other opportunitlies for him and he is well aware of that.
4. McGregor has every advantage except that he’s not a boxer
The Irishman is younger, bigger, stronger, longer, and hits harder. He’s also the better hype man, possibly getting into Mayweather’s head a bit. He’s probably somewhat faster too since Floyd has now turned 40. Mayweather himself has admitted that he’s not the boxer he once was and he hasn’t knocked anyone out since he fought Ricky Hatton in 2007.
Here’s the problem for McGregor though. He’s not a boxer. In fact, with an 0-0 record, a few are questioning why the fight is even taking place at all. Yes, part of his sport is boxing and he has been training for the fight for months, but he’s not the seasoned legend that the all-time defensive boxing great is. And that is a huge mountain to climb.
5. McGregor can win even if he doesn’t
McGregor is always dangerous with his big left hand, but common belief is that he’ll be best in the first four rounds. That is where he’ll have the most power, speed, and movement. After that, I believe Floyd’s fight IQ, defensive movement, and overall experience in the ring will give him a definitive advantage.
Mayweather is the heavy favorite to win, and rightly so, but both he and McGregor have made just about everyone believe it could go either way. If Conor can hang in there for the whole fight – even if he doesn’t win – it will be considered a huge victory for MMA. In theory, Mayweather should knock him out quickly because he’s a great boxer fighting someone who has never done it. If he doesn’t, MMA earns serious credibility in the world beyond itself.
Maybe it’s wishful thinking or maybe I feel like I know something, but I’m picking McGregor by KO with 1:23 remaining in the 4th round.
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