Mayweather vs McGregor: The Biggest Night in Boxing?
by Glenn Baird - June 17, 2017
One of the biggest nights in boxing history is due to take place in Las Vegas on August 26th. The amount of money that will be generated on the night that Mayweather meets McGregor is estimated at roughly $600m. Only one previous fight has topped that number and if you know anything about boxing you won’t need two guesses to know who one of the fighters was that night.
Along with galactic sums of money being exchanged, one other factor surrounding the fight utterly boggles the mind. When the two men step into the ring on August 26th only one of them will have had any previous competitive boxing experience.
Floyd Mayweather Jn is considered by many to be the greatest pound for pound boxer that the world has ever known. In 49 professional fights he has never been beaten. He is famed for his defensive style, hitting his opponent on the counter and being punched so rarely himself that he gained the nickname “Pretty Boy” early on in his career. When he steps into the ring against Conor McGregor he won’t have boxed professionally for over 2 years, yet it appears few are expecting anything other than a Mayweather victory.
Mayweather is the hot favourite, with odds as poor as 1/16 reflecting the fact that almost no one is expecting anything other than a win for the American. Most will still gamble on him but in order to make it worth their while they’ll need to predict how many rounds McGregor will last, how many points Mayweather will win by or if he’ll win by knockout.
Few expected to see Mayweather enter the ring again. There is nothing left for him to prove in the sport and no one around to offer up enough of a challenge. Money was always going to the only enticement back to boxing and in order to generate that money his opponent was going to have to be something a little bit out of the ordinary.
Prior to this fight the most lucrative boxing match in history also involved Mayweather, this time facing off against Filipino, Manny Pacquiao. If anyone could have beaten Mayweather it was Pacquiao. People spent money to watch the match via pay-per-view because they wanted to know just how good Mayweather was and love him or loath him his answer was resounding.
What was astounding about that match was the percentage of punches thrown that met their target, a number that is made to look all the more impressive when compared to Pacquiao’s stats. Mayweather landed 48% of his punches with Pacquiao only connecting with 28% of his. If it can be, this will inevitably become a market that some punters try to exploit. The question we have to ask is, if the second-best boxer in the world is 20% off the pace then what chance is there for a cocky cage-fighter with no boxing experience?
UFC fans will be hoping that technique is thrown out the window and replaced with loud mouthed resilience. They’ll argue against the percentages. They’ll tell you that no matter how many punches McGregor takes the Irishman won’t be knocked out and that all he needs is one punch. One way through that impenetrable defence and he’ll leave Mayweather a crumpled pile on the canvas.
Whilst the clash of style on the night will be stark the two men have a few things in common that have ensured this fight goes ahead. Both men like to talk about how much better they are whilst trash talking their opponents. They like to flaunt their success and the wealth that comes with it. Neither are considered particularly nice guys and yet they are loved by fans within both sports.
McGregor is priced at 6/1 because he is the one taking the biggest risk. There’s no trade off here, there won’t be one round in the ring and then one round in the cage. This is a boxing match because there’s no way Mayweather would have agreed to this otherwise. In all honesty this is more about McGregor than it is about Mayweather. UFC, despite becoming more and more popular every day, still struggles to compete with boxing when the big guns are out, which means that even if he loses, McGregor will find fewer places in the world where he isn’t recognised.
Despite the huge buzz surrounding the fight there are those who denounce it as a farce and an embarrassment to boxing, to UFC and to each man’s legacy. They argue that what we’ll see on the 26th won’t be sport, it will be a circus act, a marketing stunt that will leave reputations in tatters. Some also worry that McGregor’s resilience and stamina could be his undoing. No matter how tough he is, how many punches to the head should he be allowed to take before we begin to fear for his health?
In the UK it is estimated that the fight will see more than £40m wagered, that’s nearly double the amount spent on the Joshua Klitschko fight earlier this year. Within 12 hours of the announcement, one bookmaker claims to have taken more than £135,000 worth of bets. With no World Cup or Olympics to keep punters happy this summer it’s unlikely that any other sporting event will come close matching the sums of money wagered on this fight.
Perhaps McGregor will prove everyone wrong and make a proper fight of it. Perhaps he’s been waiting to publicly announce himself to world as one of the greatest boxers of his generation. Whatever happens, one thing you can be sure of is that if you to make any money from this fight you’ll either have to listen to it on the radio, to a bar or round to friend’s to watch it or make more than the $100 it will cost you watch the action unfold in real time.