In agreeing to McGregor fight, Mayweather again proves money is all that matters
By accepting a fight with Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather showed he's just hunting dollars
It just might go down as the biggest and most blatant money grab in combat sports. And that's saying something considering the long history of such events.
When Floyd Mayweather returns from a two-year retirement to face UFC champion Conor McGregor in, everyone within arm's reach of a financial interest that night will stand to exit with their pockets handsomely lined.
Although specifics of the deal, including a breakdown of fight purses, has yet to be announced (and most of it, including the exact split, may never be), it doesn't take much to imagine Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) will be the happiest financially when all is said and done. Even more important to him than the legacy of his unbeaten record has been his equally unchallenged streak at the negotiation table.
But for as surreal as Wednesday's announcement felt upon impact -- and let's not look past the truth that it did, despite how obvious the inevitability of it was becoming -- Mayweather's decision to pursue such a flagrantly circus fight isn't surprising to hardened boxing fans who know full well his lust for easy money and low risk/high reward matchmaking.
This fight, though, feels even too low for the 40-year-old Mayweather's standards and that's where the gross feeling begins to set in for hardcore fans of either sport.
McGregor, 28, can sell a fight with his mouth and brash behavior better than anyone currently active in boxing or MMA. He has become the biggest combat star since Mayweather's retirement and his PPV numbers have proven that. His press conferences have been more exciting than many marquee fights.
Considering Mayweather's preference for creating large events that lead to one-sided and risk minimizing endings, McGregor is the perfect opponent, right? Well, that's where the problem comes in.
The fight is too perfect for even Mayweather. This isn't Floyd setting himself up to outslick a Robert Guerrero or Marcos Maidana -- competent boxers and former world champions who were out of their league but at least in their prime against an all-time great and virtuoso like Mayweather.
A great boxer for a mixed martial artist, McGregor has never fought a professional or amateur round in the sweet science. And now he's fit to be licensed against arguably the greatest defensive fighter in boxing history?
Short of a perfect shot against a fighter who has made his legend upon avoiding such a punch, McGregor has no chance. We know that. Floyd knows that. Heck, at least half of the millions of casual fans who are expected to put down upwards of $100 for the privilege to watch have to know that.
For as decorated a fighter as he is, Mayweather should be better than this. He really should.
But he's not -- and he's not because of one simple fact: Mayweather's lust for easy money is only eclipsed by the general public's own for train wrecks that you can't turn away from, which is exactly what the buildup of this fight will be. He's playing to the lowest common denominator in a fight that is no better than combat sports pornography.
Had Mayweather been retired for five or 10 years, thus creating a more natural competitive balance (while doing less to potentially embarrass the two sports associated with it), the announcement would be easier to handle for hardcore fight fans. Heck, that kind of circus variety has been Bellator MMA's model to great financial success in recent years.
But Mayweather has proven over the years that ring rust isn't in his vocabulary. He trains year-round and lives at his fighting weight. And despite being away for nearly two years, he walked away from the sport still the undisputed P4P best.
Now, he's fighting to extend his 49-0 record past the revered mark of former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano to a marketable 50-0 against the equivalent of an amateur fighter.
That's boxing, right? And that's Floyd. But it shouldn't be.
For the next 73 days, we'll all be caught up in the fun and games of McGregor's witty tongue and mainstream worldwide exposure that this fight will generate. It has all the makings to be a wild and entertaining ride.
But fight night is where the fun will end.
If Mayweather really wants to come back and fight, there are plenty of top welterweights within a reshuffled division to do big business with, providing him a chance to further extend his already incredible legacy.
The McGregor fight, however, is nothing more than a glorified exhibition that will make him handsomely rich. Historically, it should be treated as such, darkening at least one bulb from Mayweather's self-proclaimed TBE marquee.
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