It’s official folks. The highly anticipated boxing showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is officially set for August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The fight will air live on pay-per-view, courtesy of Showtime, with a $100.00 price tag to finally see what happens when a top-level MMA fighter steps out of the cage and into the ring.
Let’s get this out of the way: McGregor only has a 1% chance of winning this fight and, depending on who you talk to, that’s being generous. Mayweather is arguably the greatest fighter of all-time and certainly the greatest defensive fighter that has ever lived. The sweet science is imprinted in the DNA of the Mayweather family and professionals who have trained most of their lives never came close to beating Floyd.
Looking at the combative aspects of the fight, McGregor will have to adjust from wearing four-ounce gloves with open fingers in the UFC to ten-ounce gloves with a closed fist. Most MMA fighters are taught to keep their opponents at the end of their punch while not completely following through with the motion in order to be prepared for a possible takedown attempt.
McGregor will not have to worry about a takedown attempt against Mayweather, however, the transition from MMA to the bigger boxing glove means that McGregor’s punches, in theory, will land sooner. This means finding his range will take some getting used to.
Also, there is more guess work as high-level boxers throw their punches where they believe their opponent’s head is going to be. MMA fighters primarily throw straight at the target since the diversity of skill and disciplines they’re combating tends to leave more openings, allowing a multitude of attacks.
The current UFC Lightweight champion will trade five rounds that last five minutes each for twelve rounds that last three minutes each. Also, and of course this goes without saying, no grappling, kicks, knees and elbows. In fact, boxers will throw “accidental” elbows from time to time.
Their allowance varies at the referee’s discretion even though they are illegal. Because McGregor is trained to use his elbows and boxers are not, it’s been stipulated in the contract that there will be a lawsuit along with a substantial loss of money if he throws an elbow or anything that isn’t a punch.
It’s a pretty bleak picture for McGregor, however, there are a few things in his favor. McGregor, 28, is in the prime of his career and in the middle of one of the most impressive string of performances his sport has ever witnessed. He is the most accurate puncher in the game, has crushing knockout power, and he’s a southpaw, which traditionally causes trouble for right-handed fighters.
Mayweather, 40, retired from boxing following his bout with Andre Berto in September 2015. His money weight of choice of 154 lbs. is normally either too big or too small for a lot of his opponents. This won’t be a problem for McGregor who fights his best at 155 lbs. Styles makes fights in MMA and McGregor’s preferred method of attack is that of the sweet science.
Floyd Mayweather vs. McGregor is reminiscent of the 1996 boxing comedy The Great White Hype. In the film, undefeated heavyweight champion James “The Grim Reaper” Roper collides with “Irish” Terry Conklin who was the only person who beat Roper as an amateur but faded into a drug-laded, rock & roll obscurity before he could turn pro. Roper’s fights weren’t drawing well, so promoters sobered up Conklin and sold the fight based on their history.
Mayweather will attempt to break the undefeated record of Rocky Marciano; an honor he currently shares with the legendary fighter at 49-0. If Mayweather wins, people will look back at this fight with historical eyes and place an asterisk next to 50-0 because it came at the hands of a neophyte. Perhaps the $100 million dollars he’s guaranteed to earn from this fight will make the misfortune of criticism sting a little less.
At the end of the day, the public got the fight they have been clamoring for. It’s MMA vs. Boxing. Hope vs. Hype. Sport vs. Spectacle. There are many different ways to market this fight, however, let’s look at the reality of the situation. Is it a wise investment to throw down one hundred dollars to watch a fight that is highly expected to end rather quickly?
Smart? No. Adventurous? Yes. Why? Because what if McGregor pulls off the impossible? For a fight fan, that would be a legendary night worth the price of admission.