After a loss he described as “Heart-breaking” against Nate Diaz at UFC 196 early last year, MMA’s brightest star, Conor McGregor, reflected on the fight in which he had to move up two weight classes to fight the much longer and larger Diaz. McGregor said that he regretted nothing as he would “Never shy away from a challenge”. Apparently, he wasn’t kidding as the much talked about fight between McGregor and boxing’s pound for pound greatest fighter of all-time, Floyd Mayweather, has finally and still somewhat surprisingly been announced for August 26th in Las Vegas. The announcement of the fight will surely break the internet as it’s already being billed the biggest fight of all-time.
While that may be a bit of a stretch, it is the biggest mixed fight since Muhammad Ali fought professional wrestler Antonio Inoki in 1976. Regardless, Mayweather vs. McGregor will certainly be the largest pay-per-view draw of any fight in history, as Boxing’s undefeated (49-0) reigning pay-per-view Champ (His similarly much hyped fight against Manny Pacquiao broke records and made both men even more rich than they already were) prepares to go for a perfect 50-0 in his career in what should be his last fight ever against McGregor. McGregor, who while known for his devastating left hook, isn’t a traditional boxer by any stretch of the imagination. So he will definitely go into this fight in a position he hasn’t been used to as of late (even against Diaz): the underdog. The road to this fight has been long, winding and full of trash talk as Mayweather had announced his retirement from boxing after defeating Andre Berto in September of 2015. Since then, though, he has said that he would only return to the sport to fight McGregor and while there has been much jarring back and forth from both sides, many fans honestly never thought that this fight would happen.
The news about the fight was first reported by Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports and while it took MMA Fighting a bit to confirm the venue for the fight and neither McGregor nor Mayweather immediately discussed the fight on social media, it has since been verified by Mayweather himself on Facebook in a video that looked hastily thrown together. After that, UFC president Dana White confirmed on SportsCenter that the fight will indeed happen and that it’ll take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and be fought at 154 lbs, a weight that is much more in McGregor’s wheel-house than the 170 lbs he moved up to, to fight Diaz early last year. Both fighters will be wearing 10-ounce gloves.
The biggest thing that both McGregor and followers of the sport noticed after his loss to Diaz is that the types of head-shots that McGregor has typically knocked lighter fighters out with, weren’t having the same effect on the much heavier Diaz. So, if McGregor has any hope of winning this bout against the extremely polished but lighter Mayweather, he’ll have to hope to knock him out at some point during the fight. Considering the complaints that were levied against Mayweather in his “Super-fight” (In name and pay-per-view receipts only) against Pacquiao (That Mayweather essentially just danced and at times ran from his opponent), McGregor may have a long night ahead of him. On the other side of it, though, the fact that McGregor is used to being struck with a closed fist as opposed to a glove, could help him as well. McGregor’s loss to Diaz also stemmed from a tap-out during a submission, something that obviously can’t happen during a boxing match. Mayweather is a world-class striker though, so his blows may be something McGregor has never experienced before, even in today’s UFC. So, while Mayweather will have the advantage (and betting power of Vegas behind him), it wouldn’t be surprising if McGregor scored the upset of the century against the much older Mayweather.
Either way, both fighters will make an absolute fortune off of this fight. The first professional boxing match of McGregor’s career. Both are known as gigantic pay-per-view draws, with Mayweather alone bringing in over $1 billion in pay-per-view revenue himself in his storied career. While McGregor is a much more recent phenomenon, he is still the largest draw in the MMA world and personally made over $30 million dollars in 2016 alone. That amount will end up paling in comparison to the take from the Mayweather fight. Though, as UFC President Dana White told TMZ today, he expects McGregor to net over $100 million from this fight alone. Mayweather, who theoretically has more to lose and also has had a much longer career behind him, will most likely make much more than that, especially with Mayweather Promotions handling the promotion of the fight itself.
McGregor’s popularity is one of the reasons that MMA has exploded onto the mainstream sports world and while he suffered a loss in his most recent bout, he’s still as big of a draw as ever because of his cocky attitude and willingness to take on all opponents. The fact that he did move up to the 170-pound weight class to (eventually) fight and (eventually) lose to Diaz actually added to his reputation if anything; it again showed that he was willing to fight anyone, anywhere. By facing Mayweather he’s only building upon and really taken advantage of, that reputation. Part of that is a stead-fast belief that he can beat anyone he faces as well, in the same TMZ piece that discussed his potential financial windfall from the fight it was also mentioned by White that he had spoken to McGregor and that he really believed “with all of his heart that he will knock Mayweather out.”
Either way, Mayweather and McGregor are known as two of the flashiest and most outspoken fighters in their respective sports, perhaps ever. So, the fight will end up being the greatest manifestation of arguments that people have been having in bars for years. You can rest assured that most every bar in the Western world will be watching it as well.