Back at the end of April, as we approached fight week for the Canelo Alvarez vs Amir Khan fight in Las Vegas, an absurd rumour started to do the rounds: Floyd Mayweather Junior was in talks with UFC star Conor McGregor about a potential showdown.
The savvy fans out there knew what this was all about. They’d seen it before. This was just Floyd trying to take the attention away from the Golden Boy-promoted event, on the weekend Mayweather had historically made his own; Cinco de Mayo.
Quite why Floyd even cared anymore was a bit baffling, seeing as he had retired eight months earlier. Or a year earlier if you were to discount the televised sparring session with Andre Berto. Or twenty months earlier if you were to discount…forget it. We’d be here all night!
So here we are. A month later. Canelo/Khan is done. There are no prominent Golden Boy cards left to overshadow. Nor are there any major Top Rank cards – an even bigger enemy of Mayweather’s – on the horizon.
And yet, the rumour persists. It lingers. Like a little stain forming on the image of both pugilistic arts.
Mayweather has had a fair crack at destroying the sport’s image. From delaying jail time so he could take on Miguel Cotto, to asking people to cough up $70 to watch him toy with Andre Berto for 12 rounds, and all the little bits in between. The ‘Money’ man left a reasonable mess behind when he hung up the gloves last September.
So what are we to make of these ‘rumours’? Is this just Mayweather trying to remain relevant? Or has he really spotted an opportunity to grab some cash from the UFC market, while milking his adoring fans just one more time.
You see, this isn’t newsworthy stuff. Make no mistake, there is no outcome here other than a complete and utter mismatch. If, as we are led to believe, these two men are to meet in a boxing ring under the Queensberry rules, Mayweather wins, and wins comfortably.
When a boxer takes on a non-boxer in a boxing match, the boxer wins. When the best boxer of his generation takes on a non-boxer, the result is inarguable.
The manner of that result will be such a one-sided farce that the biggest loser won’t be McGregor, it will be the sport of boxing. Again.
With so little boxing training behind him, the Irishman might even face the ignominy of being stopped by Mayweather. Something he hasn’t done since he sucker punched Victor Ortiz in 2011.
There were no top level challengers left for Mayweather to face. No realistic opponents remained at welterweight, or even up at super-welterweight. Drafting one in from another sport is not the answer.
When Sebastien Vettel was winning the Formula 1 World Championship every season, Ferrari didn’t respond by bringing in MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi. Both skilled craftsmen, but in different sports. The same applies here.
Undoubtedly McGregor is the Floyd Mayweather of UFC. But for charisma and star power, not for being pound-for-pound the best MMA fighter in the world.
Many people have, unfortunately, jumped on the hype train with this one. Two big names they certainly are. A contest it is not. In a boxing match Mayweather at his worst runs rings around McGregor at his best.
It may happen. It may not. The fact that it is even being discussed is hurting the image of both sports. If it goes ahead, the damage will be even worse. The stain on boxing’s image will just get bigger and bigger.
Mayweather is ‘teasing’ us with promotional art for a potential fight and the media, and fans of both fighters, are lapping it up. Everyone else? Not so much.
Don’t rub at that stain. You’ll only make it worse.
Robb Graham, Pundit Arena
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