Why the Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather Super-fight is a Good Idea
Why the long-awaited boxing match between boxer Floyd Mayweather and UFC fighter Conor McGregor isn’t bad for either sport.
Updated: June 15, 2017 • 3:52 PM ET
Conor McGregor is all smiles since signing the biggest fight contract of his improbable career.
After months and months of speculation and social media banter, a Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor super-fight is now a reality.
Mayweather, the pound-for-pound king of boxing, made the announcement of the fight on his Instagram page Wednesday evening. The 12-round bout at 154 pounds is scheduled for Aug. 26 in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena.
Mayweather is coming out of retirement at the age of 40 for a shot at history — a perfect 50-0 record, breaking a tie with the legendary Rocky Marciano. He enters the fight as an astronomical favorite and is guaranteed to generate one of the biggest paydays of his career.
McGregor is the current king of MMA and has never boxed, but what little experience and a punchers chance brings him is the biggest fight payday of his career. He has been outspoken about his desire to fight Mayweather, and has used his world-class trash talking skills to pique many fight fans’ interest.
Mayweather last fought in September 2015, a unanimous decision win over Andre Berto, and confidently stated in March that he would only exit retirement for a fight with McGregor. Now that both men have their wish, why is this a good idea?
The boxing vs. MMA argument has been ongoing since the UFC began its rise in popularity in the early 2000s, pegging boxing purists against combat sports enthusiasts. The fight signifies that when conjoined, the two sports can co-exist on a lucrative level. Whether the two athletes from the individual sports can co-exist on a competitive level in a designated discipline (boxing) is what everyone will tune in to see.
This fight is significantly beneficial for the UFC, as it dismisses anyone who continues to argue that the highest level of MMA isn’t included with the heavy-hitters on the professional sports landscape. If the UFC’s $4 billion sale in July 2016 didn’t convince you the company was headed to the next level, the promotion’s biggest star possibly dethroning arguably the greatest boxer of all time would.
Very few seem to be making the bold prediction of a McGregor win. In fact, most analysts believe the fight will be so non-competitive, it will be laughable. If McGregor can somehow get the fight to a decision, have a few stunning moments and not get badly hurt in the process, he’ll be a hero to his fans and an anomaly to boxing fans.
Some felt that Mayweather’s retirement would leave a void in boxing’s popularity, but his return can only mean positive press for the sport. If Mayweather defeats McGregor in convincing fashion and rides off into the sunset with a perfect record, boxing may regain the mainstream attention it has deserved for many years. Constant press and slathers of social media coverage from now until fight night only helps the UFC, MMA and boxing, as all three brands should boost.
With no titles on the line and Mayweather being a monumental favorite, the fighters are both seizing the opportunity for a giant payday. If the fight is the least bit competitive, it could open doors for other fighters in both sports to seek bigger paydays in ways they never thought were imaginable.
Other fighters in the UFC have called for boxing matches with prolific boxers, including Jimi Manuwa calling-out David Haye and Stipe Miocic suggesting a fight with Anthony Joshua. If McGregor has a small amount of success in the fight, other fighters wanting to do the same will seem like a warranted desire.
The underpaid fighter is, and has been, a problem, whether getting punched in the face is voluntary or not. This super-fight will open up the idea that all fighters are undervalued and can now be in positions to be rewarded for their entertainment value.
Mayweather will finally stand across another fighter who can talk as much trash as he can, and as good. This will put less responsibility to promote the fight on Mayweather’s shoulders, as he now has a worthy counterpart from a marketing standpoint. The back-and-forth chatter between the two will make the “purists” scream circus, but the three-ringed tent that is the T-Mobile Arena, not to mention both fighters’ pockets, will be packed full of dollar bills come fight time.
Mayweather has claimed the trash-talking crown in boxing, and McGregor is the monarch of mouths in MMA. Put them together, and you have a dual-threat that has never been displayed on a mainstream level for either sport.
The most important thing about this fight is that it gives the fans what they want. One of the biggest criticisms of boxing and its whirlwind of top promoters is that they make fans wait for the fights they clamor for. The UFC, its president Dana White and their matchmakers, give MMA fans the fights they want to see, when they want to see them.
White has been forthcoming with his feelings of McGregor crossing over to boxing, but when he and the UFC got the smallest taste that this fight was a possibility, he got the deal done for McGregor. White and the UFC understand that their fans are the catalyst to their rising success and popularity.
As much as analysts, experts and boxing trainers want to say that the super-fight will be boring, many people will tune in for one specific reason: they want to see Mayweather lose. This has been the strength of his brand for more than a decade. A fight against McGregor, no matter how inexperienced he is, will be no different.