Boxing’s billion-dollar con in the making
After endless speculation from fans worldwide about whether bluster would amount to bloodshed, it has been reported that boxing’s retired superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr, and mixed martial arts’ Irish motormouth Conor McGregor have reached a deal to fight in a boxing match that is expected to be a record-breaking blockbuster.
It won’t be the first time a showdown between a boxer and a cage fighter – two different sports – catches public imagination but many do believe that this particular match-up will be the first ever billion-dollar fight. There’s a good chance it could be: both fighters are major stars in their respective sports.
Mayweather is arguably one of the best boxers of the past few decades. His masterly defensive skills — 49 previous opponents discovered – suggest that he is more elusive than a Danube Sturgeon. Mayweather is the paragon of the art of to ‘hit and not get hit’. In comparison, while McGregor is a first-rate mixed martial artist, he has never before boxed professionally. That is a key issue.
Any knowledgeable boxing fan knows that the fight is a foregone conclusion: McGregor will barely lay a glove on Mayweather throughout the whole 36 minutes spectacle — if it lasts that long. This ‘mega-fight’ is a billion-dollar mega-con in the making.
Of course, the key part will always be the dollar signs, and there’s good business at stake. Similarly, it’s difficult to recall a time when boxing’s most valuable fight could be made of such a ludicrous mismatch. Mad odds on McGregor winning will prompt swathes of ambitious gamblers to part with cash as the promotions fire up suggesting the fight is all fair play, anybody’s to win.
The 39-year-old Mayweather commands serious fees to punch people — he is estimated to be worth around £300 million — and over the years he’s been named the ‘highest paid sportsman’ on numerous occasions. In contrast, 28-year-old McGregor is worth around £17 million, but his ascent to stardom has been much more recent, and rather rapid. McGregor, his coach and his family will all be aware that, as brilliant as the Irishman is as a cage fighter, he’ll stand close to zero chance against boxing’s best man.
The build-up, however, could provide limitless entertainment as McGregor exhibits his astonishing capacity for hurling witty abuse (and sometimes cans) at his opponents, compared to Mayweather’s more limited way with words and his bizarre conviction that money and bling are the be all and end all of human existence. The clash of minds will far outdo the clash of fists with this one.
Boxing’s well-documented puppet master Mayweather is typically brushing off the latest media frenzy by reiterating he is ‘happily retired’ and calling on McGregor to get in touch ‘if (he) really wants to get this fight done’.
It’s most likely due to an official agreement in place that stipulates he (and only he) can announce the fight. Many will hope he’s telling the truth as it will likely be a dull affair as McGregor is thoroughly outclassed.
That one of the finest (and wealthiest) boxers of an era looks set to un-retire to punctuate his unbeaten career by fighting a debutant boxer, is surely a sign of the times. All we will learn from this potential ‘billion-dollar’ confrontation is how to market a faulty product at very little cost: boxing’s biggest fight will have been made on the back of little more than a churlish Twitter-spat.
Many fans felt they had been left out of pocket after Mayweather’s last ‘mega-fight’ against boxing’s second best Manny Pacquiao. Millions will pay to watch again, except this time it will be an unparalleled night-time robbery for the paying public. Ding ding.