Did you know that, if you take the lyrics from the 2010 hit song “The Only Exception” from Paramore and replace every instance of the word “love” with “money,” it perfectly encapsulates Dana White’s presumed feelings for Conor McGregor.
Well, maybe not exactly, but how many other fighters would Dana agree to work with to put together the biggest combat sports spectacle of our generation?
That’s right. It has come to pass. What was originally spoken of as MMA lore for hundreds and hundreds of…days has become reality.
The fight that nobody in their right mind thought would happen, and the fight that many in their wrong mind really wished would happen if only to see how much it would piss off everybody in their right mind, has happened:
One of the greatest boxers of all time, the undefeated five division champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather will return to the ring one more time to face the hottest MMA fighter on the planet today, the undefeated (by Chael Sonnen’s definition) two division champion “The Notorious” Conor McGregor.
On August 26, the boxing and MMA worlds will collide in a superfight for the ages. There will likely be few survivors.
If you haven’t repented yet, it’s not a bad idea to go do that now. Y’know, just to be ready.
What’s the most surprising thing to me about this fight isn’t that it’s happening but that it came together so quickly. It was only a few weeks ago that Dana announced he had come to terms on Conor’s end of the bout agreement. A few weeks ago, talks with Mayweather hadn’t even started yet and now we have a date, a fight poster, and scores of upset athletes proclaiming this to be the death of boxing and/or the UFC if only because they’re jealous they never were given an opportunity like this.
That’s crazy. It took five years from the time that talks began for Floyd to finally fight Manny Pacquiao. The fight with McGregor took less than a summer vacation to finalize. That speaks to how much Floyd wants to fight Conor.
Or maybe it went smoother because Floyd didn’t demand the same concessions be met before agreeing to meet Conor, the dangerous striker with no pro boxing experience vs. Pacman, one of the only men to rival him in terms of star power AND proven technical boxing proficiency.
Or he just really wants the money. That’s a possibility too. I mean, that’s his whole thing, right?
Conor, of course, wants the money too. Conor and his team can say all they want about how much Conor is looking forward to the challenge of meeting one of boxing’s greatest ring generals on his own battlefield but we all know he wouldn’t have pursued it if there wasn’t the potential to make all of the money in the known universe and set all the Payperview records along with it.
Seriously, I love how, once the discussion regarding Mayweather vs. McGregor finally started to shift away from “WTF? SRSLY? OMG!” it turned to whether this fight will break the Payperview record of 4.6 million buys that is currently held by Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.
It’s an interesting question to ponder. Here’s another interesting question to ponder: Who cares? Does it matter if it sells more Payperviews? I mean, am I supposed to be excited at the possibility that snooty executives who are going to make ridiculous amounts of money as it is from this fight could make even more?
That’s such an American thing to pour over, isn’t it? I can only imagine how many more people will ask about how big this fight is going to be before we make it to August 26, especially from TV sports pundits and other commenters who know nothing about boxing or MMA but feel they know everything about this fight.
And, to be fair, I’m not saying I’m more an authority on this than anyone else. I’m not. I’m pretty much just looking for something to do between watching Scrubs reruns.
Everyone is going to have an opinion on this fight. Everyone is going to know how it’s going to play out and who is going to win, just as everyone will definitively be able to describe how screwed the sports of boxing and MMA are going to be after the smoke clears on this fight (the answer: very).
There’s a saying about opinions and assholes, but I forgot how it goes. I was too busy putting money on Floyd to win.
If the promotion and marketing succeeds for this fight (and it should, since that’s being handled by Showtime and Mayweather Promotions and not the UFC), it’ll be based off the idea that Conor’s power and technique will translate to boxing, that the damage he deals with 4 oz gloves to wrestlers and brawlers with limited knowledge of footwork and precision striking will be just as effective in 10 oz gloves against one of the greatest defensive boxers of all time.
Yeah, Conor started boxing as a kid and he has some amatuer experience, as well as some time spent sparring with pro boxers, but that’s hardly the same thing as the real deal, facing professional competition in a professional setting, and he’s not going to be getting his first taste against just any boxer.
Floyd hasn’t fought in almost two years but he spent the last decade before that fighting the best in the world at his weight. De la Hoya, Hatton, Marquez, Mosley, Ortiz, Cotto, Alvarez, Maidana, Pacquiao…he didn’t always fight the most viable challenger available but it’s hard to deny that Mayweather hasn’t put the work in to earn the perfect 49-0 record that he now is putting on the line for one more chance to show his brilliance.
Right now, the advantages that Conor has coming into the fight are that he’s a lot younger and that he’s bigger, although he only has 1 inch of height and 2 inches of reach on Floyd. He’ll be a lot heavier, though, as Conor will likely be stepping into the ring a bit North of the contracted 154 lbs. He did beat Nate Diaz at 170, although it’s hard to compare Nate to Floyd.
I mean, Floyd isn’t even in the same league as Nate.
DIAZ 2, 4, 5!
Oh and there’s also the mention that Conor is a southpaw and Floyd has traditionally struggled against southpaws, to the point that he’s lost to…oh wait. He’s never lost. This will surely be the puzzle he struggles to solve.
I’m not saying that to discredit Conor but this is definitely the biggest mountain he has attempted to climb. It’s incredible enough that he even got this fight made. It’s a credit to his passion and desire to get the biggest fights he can muster, as well as the knowledge and comfort that all the work he put in to build his name and reputation over the last 4 years has afforded him opportunities that everyone else in the UFC or MMA in general could only dream of.
In a company that actively operates under the idea that the letters “U-F-C” should and do mean more than anyone fighting under them, in a company run by executives who will gladly throw their own under the bus if they feel doing so will help their own interests, it’s amazing how they were always willing to cater to Conor.
Seriously, they threaten Demetrious Johnson for having the audacity to pick one opponent for his upcoming record breaking title defense and yet they’ll go completely against their own self-imposed policies regarding co-promotion to get a crossover fight made for their Irish hen that lays the golden eggs.
That being said, Conor wouldn’t have gotten as big as he had if he couldn’t walk the walk as well as he talked the talk. He was the one who ended Jose Aldo’s dominant title reign in 13 seconds, after all. He was the fighter who won fights in 3 different weight classes, winning championships in 2 of them, over the course of a year. The fact he leveraged his name to get those fights doesn’t take away from the fact that, when he needed to perform, he did and did spectacularly.
So, is it possible that Conor comes out and shocks the world by beating Floyd in a boxing match? Sure it is. He’s a fighter who’s been doubted his entire career, clearing obstacles that fans felt he shouldn’t have been able to at that stage of his career. Now he’s staring Everest in the face, but Everest is far from unconquerable.
Wait, that may not be the best example. Isn’t there an escalator up there these days? Damn tourists clogging the lines on our murder hills…
While Conor has never faced a pro boxer in a real fight, he does possess a strong striking game that makes very good use of range and odd angles of attack. It’s a skillset that is absolutely lethal when combined with his prowess for winning the mental game. As long as he can adapt it to remove kicks and elbows, there’s no reason to think he can’t find success and hurt Floyd in this fight. Maybe Conor can hurt Floyd enough to win the fight.
Not that he needs to, though.
Conor doesn’t need to beat Floyd to be considered a winner. All he needs to do is survive and not get violently knocked out within the first three rounds. Honestly, the best outcome for all parties is for Floyd to get his hand raised after 12 gruelling rounds. A Floyd win would allow him to maintain his status and legend while a tough, hard fought Conor loss would allow him to build his own legend, proving that he belonged with one of the best boxers ever.
Plus, a Conor loss would ensure the boxing world doesn’t implode and come at him with torches and pitchforks for being the one to “kill” their sport.
Double plus, a Conor loss would increase the odds that Conor actually takes another UFC fight. I mean, I still see it as unlikely since he’s not going to make anywhere near the same money (unless UFC signs him to a ludicrous new deal after the Mayweather fight) but a loss at this big a stage may be enough to convince him to do something crazy, like say, defend the UFC Championship he’s been holding hostage, unlike the other UFC Championship he held hostage before UFC took it away.
Conor gains a lot with a win, obviously, but he gains with a loss too. This fight really is a win-win for him, which is surely part of the reason he wanted it so much. He knew that, once he floated the fight out there and the fans started demanding it, it could become reality. Once the Conor gravy train leaves the station, it don’t stop.
Conor threw the idea for the fight out and everyone thought he was crazy, but Conor knew what he was doing. He waited for Floyd to warm up to the idea, and he did. He pushed forward despite Dana White’s objections to ever allowing the fight to take place, and the man ended up negotiating the deal on his behalf. He took all the criticism from fighters and fans and he ignored it because he knew the casual fans were frothing at the mouth over the magnitude of this encounter, even if they don’t know or care about the significance or ramifications this fight could have for both sports.
Boxing has never operated on the idea of hoping the casual fan will be around tomorrow because, as long as they are here tonight, all will be right in the world. For one night, we all will get what we want and we’ll all be able to take in the spectacle and enjoy it for what it is.
Then tomorrow will come, and it will be dark and bleak and seemingly hopeless, but screw tomorrow. We’re all capable of admiring the beauty of the flames as they are burning everything to the ground around us, right?
Good luck trying to make something out of those ashes, GGG and Canelo. Don’t be shocked if the bank is out of money when you get there.
Evan Zivin has been writing for 411 MMA since May of 2013. Evan loves the sport, and likes to takes a lighthearted look at the world of MMA in his writing…usually.
This news has been published by title Mayweather Vs. McGregor: The Road To Armageddon Is Very Green
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