5 Reasons Not to Underestimate Mayweather-McGregor

After a year of speculation, after the back and forth — the fight is happening, the fight isn’t happening, I want this much money, you want that much money, fake fight posters and tons of trash talk — it’s official.

It’s a real thing now … it’s happening.

Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will compete in a boxing fight on August 26 in Las Vegas.

The earliest betting odds saw McGregor as a 7/1 underdog (a $100 bet wins you $700), with Mayweather at -1100 (you’d need to bet $1100 to win $100). Logical, since this fight will be contested under boxing rules. Mayweather is an undefeated boxer (49-0, 26 KOs) and McGregor is an MMA fighter (21-3, 18 KOs), with boxing only a part of his repertoire that he practices to prepare for the Octagon.

With odds so lopsided, someone might think this fight won’t be interesting at all. To think that would be a big mistake.

Here are five reasons why:

1 The Hype

The two biggest combat hype machines since Muhammad Ali are joining forces to create one of the single greatest spectacles in sports and entertainment history. Make no mistake about it, this has all the makings to be the most “sizzle” over “steak” offering in combat sports history. The lead-up will be sensational, the fight itself might be a complete dud.

But it won’t matter.

The trash talk has already been going back and forth for at least a year. Every time a single tweet emerges or a simple comment from one made about the other anywhere, it blows up into a major story covered by any and all media outlets. And not just boxing or MMA websites, but traditional sports outlets, gossip and news sites all jump into the fray.

Why? Because it’s interesting. The general public cares. It generates clicks. This piece and many others like it contribute to the hype machine.

Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather are the two best talkers of our time. Put them together and there’s no telling how many people will be forking over the cash to watch this on PPV by the time end of August rolls around.

2 The Money

Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, all in, grossed over $600 million. So how far can this fight go?

“Money” Mayweather will surely make north of $100 million, while McGregor may earn nine figures as well. And let’s be clear, the No. 1 concern for this fight (and really, any professional fight) is money.

There is no benefit for McGregor, at one time a two-division UFC champion, to put on boxing gloves and lure a past-his-prime legendary boxer out of retirement other than a monster salary that he couldn’t attain battling any other fighter in his home promotion. For Floyd, whatever his motivation may or may not be, it’s still a lot of money to leave on the table.

Floyd has said many times before that he is a businessman, and business people sniff out ventures that return a maximum return … like, say, a fight with a certain UFC champion of Irish descent.

3 The Record

It matters much more in boxing than it does in MMA, but people generally love to see someone battle with their undefeated record on the line. There is something magical about that “0” in the loss column. The higher that win count goes, the more legendary it becomes.

Floyd Mayweather is sitting at an incredible 49-0. Any fight he has is interesting by virtue of the fact that he is risking that “0.” On top of that, 50-0 sounds much more whole, doesn’t it? 49-0 sounds like … it’s missing a fight. In the ring itself, among the pool of contenders, many would argue that Conor McGregor is perhaps the worst possible choice to hand Floyd the “1.” But Mystic Mac certainly doesn’t think so.

4 The Head and The Heart

A fight of this magnitude will be talked about often, at every level. We will see countless interviews and comments from pundits, critics, experts, fighters, hot takers, opinion slingers, journalists, and the participants themselves. Much of this will involve predictions.

The most common one will be: “There is NO CHANCE Floyd Mayweather Jr. loses this fight. It is happening in a boxing ring, under boxing rules. The only way Conor has a chance on God’s green Earth to win is if he lands a takedown behind the referee’s back.”

But, along the way, once the hype really kicks into high gear, and Conor McGregor is holding his own in the verbal sparring, perhaps even leading it, there will be a groundswell of opinion forming in McGregor’s favor.

“Is Mayweather too old … McGregor knocked out one of the best MMA strikers of all time, Jose Aldo, in 13 seconds … Mystic Mac has his name for a reason … I’m starting to believe what Conor is saying…”

McGregor may very well even win the war of words and endear him to many fans that now want to see him win.

Many might find themselves in a situation where the head says not a chance, but the heart says there’s always (more than?) a fighting chance.

5 The Paradigm Shift

McGregor has officially changed the combat sports game. By lobbying for, willing and ultimately receiving this fight, it further sets a precedent that with enough clout and leverage, a fighter can do whatever they want or think is best for them.

Brock Lesnar did a similar thing 11 months ago at UFC 200. While still under contract with the WWE, the former Heavyweight champion Lesnar fought in the Octagon against Mark Hunt.

Mayweather vs. McGregor isn’t the first time an MMA fighter and boxer met in a professional contest, either. In August 2010, three-time world boxing champion James Toney entered the Octagon to face legend Randy Couture at UFC 118 (to be fair, this fight was more of an oddity simply because Toney was over 40 and really didn’t have much experience on the ground and in grappling). Even recently, UFC legend Anderson Silva and boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. have expressed interest in meeting each other (but don’t expect it to be on the Mayweather-McGregor undercard).

With the promotion of this fight, the money slated to be made and the hype surrounding it, don’t be surprised if more fighters cross combat sports lines in the future when it suits.

Call this fight a freak show circus carnival all you want, but at the end of the day, we will care, we will discuss and we will watch.

For more boxing content, check out my interview with former heavyweight Chuck Wepner on #TheApod, where we discuss the new film about his life, “Chuck” and facing Muhammad Ali!

Subscribe, Rate and Review in iTunes