It’s a fight no one asked for but one we’re likely going to get anyway. The prospect of Conor McGregor meeting Floyd Mayweather in a boxing ring is gathering momentum and perhaps now is the time to address the reality of the situation.
It’s becoming unavoidable at this point. Mayweather seems eager to sign, the UFC has shown a willingness to step aside and McGregor appears ready to accept terms as well.
On Friday, the social media maelstrom surrounding ‘May/Mac’ picked up revolutions as the Irishman stepped inside a boxing ring to accompany countryman Michael Conlan into the squared circle for his pro debut before proclaiming: “We’re getting close.”
The smoke and mirrors which accompany any big fight means separating the fact from fiction is a difficult task. But the stumbling blocks are starting to erode and what’s left now is the build-up to what is an absurd match-up.
The debate surrounding the potential showdown has lurched from whether it will happen, to how it could happen to what will happen.
But the result is already predetermined because of the rule set.
It’s a mismatch. McGregor can boast about being longer, stronger and taller than Mayweather but in boxing against one of its greatest proponents, size just does not matter. The fight itself is a circus because ultimately it means nothing, contextually or otherwise. It’s just a moneymaker to satisfy our deeply curious nature.
But what does it say about the positioning of the fight game in general that it demands something like this should take place?
We all know it shouldn’t but in the fight game, especially in boxing which has experienced diminishing interest in recent years, anything which captures the public’s imagination becomes the central selling point. Ultimately, combat sports deal in entertainment and by constructing this fight the idea of sport is completely supplanted.
When big money is involved – and the talk is that it could potentially be the first fight to generate $1billion – and the interest is there, fights will be made.
The exponential gate receipts and incomprehensible pay-per view revenue are the only reasons Mayweather Promotions, McGregor Promotions and the UFC are at the table. Sadly, competition matters little. The Irishman has a nonexistent record in professional boxing and you can’t shake the feeling that it is a mistake which will only be realised in hindsight.
The striking fundamentals between the cage and the ring are vastly different. Precision and power has been the foundation of McGregor’s march to two-weight UFC history but the skill of a professional boxer is unparalleled.
Mayweather’s footwork, timing, speed and ring IQ has been peerless within that. McGregor has dominated because of his knockout potential but the gloves are twice as big in boxing and while Mayweather wasn’t hallmarked by his power, he will be able to land clean and often.
The attraction for Mayweather is obvious. He’s a businessman and the combination of an enormous pay day which will allow him to reach 50-0 with minimal risk is hard to ignore. But that’s not the case for the UFC and McGregor.
A horror show will further mark a reputation damaged by the loss to Nate Diaz and the knock on effect for the promotion is far more severe given their desperation for mainstream appeal.
May/Mac may soon be a reality but perhaps it should stay in the world of fantasy.