One of the most beautiful aspects of boxing is the moment before the bell rings and everybody has no idea what is going to happen. The media tries to predict the outcome, as do the fans – realistically they have no idea. Their is always a favourite but when the fighters come toe to toe that does not matter. This August the world will be glued to an event that will attract far more than the boxing purists. Undefeated Floyd Mayweather will go up against UFC superstar Conor McGregor. Discussions will blaze on if this is good for boxing or just a money making scheme, but the reality is it is happening. So what on earth will happen?
From one point of view it is a mismatch. Floyd has a record that makes fighters envious. Whether you are a fan of the 49-0 pound for pound great is now irrelevant. His skills in the ring, on the microphone and in money making has consistently been showcased on the biggest stages around the world. Fans pay to see ‘pretty boy’ have the arrogant grin smashed off his face. Never happened and it appeared remain a dream when Floyd left boxing back in 2015 after he levelled legendary Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record with a wide points win over Andre Berto. The fight did not sell well on pay per view and Mayweather bowed out after the fight.
The rise of McGregor has forced Mayweather’s hand somewhat. The Irishman has took over the UFC with his trash talking build ups and brutally clinical wins inside the octagon. ‘The notorious one’ had created a huge fan base which is attracted to him by his lack of caring about peoples opinions and self confidence. The boy has charisma for sure.
McGregor wanted this fight. He has called out Mayweather and questioned his willingness to fight him. With an agreement now in place Mayweather has answered all those questions and now the fight is on.
So the first mental battle began. Is this another brilliant business move from the American boxer? He will make a reported $400 million for this fight and is a clear favourite. Or has McGregor appealed to Mayweather’s greed and drawn him out of retirement by offering him his most loved prize, a ton of money? It is difficult to say as both men have got what they wanted. They will both make a lot of money and it seems like a no brainier for both men. McGregor has nothing to lose. He is expected to be embarrassed by the best boxer in the world. Mayweather should put on a boxing clinic. Even well schooled and top quality boxers have struggled to land a glove on the elusive cash king. Ricky Hatton, Canelo Alvarez and Oscar De La Hoya all tried and all failed. The performance against Canelo is one of Mayweather’s best.
As good as ‘pretty boy Floyd’ has been throughout his brilliant career, McGregor poses an unpredictable threat to the American’s legacy. The proud Irish man is a fighter. He has been in battles in his MMA career and often comes out on top. He has a tremendous will to win and the work he puts in in his training camps is unbelievable. He masters many different fighting disciplines. He only has two weapons when he gets in the ring against Floyd and those are his fists. He is strong on his feet in the UFC though so he has a fair chance.
What can McGregor bring to the table that can trouble Mayweather? It is early to make any solid predictions about strategy. However, over the years many have said that Mayweather needs to face an opponent who will be able to put it on him and make him back up. It would be a disaster for McGregor to press forward with this fight plan. The double UFC champion is not that kind of fighter, he should not abandon how he has made his name. Looking at McGregor’s fight against Eddie Alvarez shows a viewer how he could cause problems. Mayweather is not going to come forward and force the fight. He will expect McGregor to force the fight and put pressure on him. That will play into the undefeated boxers hands. If McGregor can find the accuracy and penetration he often has he will cause Mayweather massive problems. McGregor has a reach advantage which could be the key to testing Floyd more than ever.
When the bell rings on 26 August even the biggest Mayweather fans will be nervous. Time out of the ring, a powerful left hand and just the unpredictable nature of the fight game will all attribute to this. The big question is can McGregor land? If he does we have a fight on our hands. If the left hand connects clean with power can Mayweather take it? The reality is we may never find out. It will be a classic match up of accuracy and timing against a defensive master. Mayweather has made a career out of not taking punishment. If he can do so for a further 48 minutes he will continue to a half century of victories without defeat. The fight is a spectacle, even if it is not the best boxing match up of the year. We will be tuning in and as more details emerge we will be fascinated by what happens. No matter if you are a boxing fan, UFC fan, fight fan or just a casual fan – this event will be like nothing we have seen before. Forget boxing politics and reputations and just enjoy the fight for what it is.