24 August 2017

This weekend boxing will be the centre of attention as Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather steps into the ring for the 50th time to take on debutant pro-boxer and UFC fighter Conor McGregor. It is a bizarre match-up that has been made purely with dollar signs in mind – millions of them.

Much of that money will be made in these final days before the two men step into the ring in Las Vegas. The TV companies will do a roaring trade as people rush to book the fight on pay-per-view and bookies will hardly be able to keep the smiles from their faces as the cash rolls in for McGregor, from those who either have blind faith in their Irish hero, are attracted by the big odds or have fallen for the ludicrous hype and believe he stands a chance.

Even the most casual of boxing fans know that this is a wild mismatch and the result a foregone conclusion – it’s a point I made in an earlier blog and one that’s worth repeating as fight night fast approaches. Former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has referred to the fight as ‘a farce’ and that is about the measure of it.

As a mixed martial artist McGregor has rightfully won a reputation as an accurate and powerful puncher. The fact he is heavy handed is what those backing him are pinning their hopes on. However, it’s one thing being able to hit hard and quite another being able to land big shots on Mayweather, one of boxing’s all-time greats and a defensive master. The videos that have been released of McGregor’s sparring sessions reveal that by world class boxing standards he is technically poor and will struggle to make much of a dent in Mayweather, who has beaten all-comers in his 49-fight career.

The build up to this fight follows the pattern of many of Mayweather’s previous ones, with his opponent’s chances being ramped up beyond reason. These were, at least, experienced and elite-level professional boxers, but Mayweather beat them all, and many of them with ease. So it follows that he will have little trouble dispatching McGregor, and probably by stoppage. Of course, anything could happen – McGregor has the tiniest of puncher’s chances, Mayweather might succumb to injury – but to seriously predict a win for the UFC man defies all reason and logic.

Often in boxing fights fail to live up to the hullabaloo that precedes them, and Mayweather matches have disappointed more than most in past. This one is very likely to follow suit and people that do spend their hard-earned cash on the fight will almost certainly be left with that familiar sinking feeling as the one-sided contest unfolds, unless, of course, they are huge Mayweather fans and/or are keen on watching McGregor being repeatedly punched in the face.

The best advice, then, is to keep your cash in your pocket and, if you want to follow the fight live, listen for free to the (always excellent) commentary on FiveLive. As far as betting is concerned, if you back McGregor, you’re essentially paying for your bookmaker’s next holiday to the Carribean. If you must have a wager, going big on Mayweather is the only sensible option. Anything other than a victory for the Money man will be a shame on him, an embarrassment for boxing and surely the greatest sporting upset of all-time.