Casual and serious fans alike of both boxing and MMA have their ears cupped and their eyes glued to their screens in anticipation of an announcement that will see both worlds collide for the first time.
Last night it was announced that Conor McGregor would fight Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on August 26 in a fight that will capture the imagination of sporing fans.
The build up has already seemed to be going on for months, but now fight fans only have 10 weeks to wait before seeing the pair go toe-to-toe.
Conor McGregor has stormed through the UFC’s featherweight and lightweight divisions with a punishing left hand that had even the most elite MMA fighters dazzled and all the while rolling into superstardom at a ferocious pace.
Inside the octagon, the ‘Notorious’ has been praised for his explosive, powerful stand up game. Outside the octagon his pre-fight entertainment is what makes him so valuable to the UFC and, indeed to the kingpin of boxing, Floyd Mayweather.
Floyd Mayweather finished his boxing career at 49-0, fighting at world title level for 17 out of his 19 years as a professional. Most fighter’s careers don’t even last half of that.
He wasn’t known as a knockout puncher, but his excellent defence and counter-punching means he didn’t have to be. He frustrated his opponents so much inside the ring they defeated themselves.
Over the years, Floyd Mayweather has said the same thing – that he is a businessman, hence the nickname ‘Money’. A good rule of business is to go for the highest reward scheme with the lowest risk. As this fight will be fought under boxing rules only, that’s exactly what Mayweather is doing.
McGregor does have lots of advantages on his side. His youth, weight and unbreakable self-belief should be enough to get Mayweather thinking about more than counting his dollars at the end of the fight.
Make no mistake though, Mayweather is a gifted athlete that will not underestimate any opponent in his preparation. Many would agree that McGregor’s boxing skills are the key to his prominent rise within the UFC but are they good enough to mix with the timing and accuracy of arguably the greatest boxer of all time?
Critics, pundits and hardcore fans will rebuke the fight, which is expected to shatter all previous pay-per-view records. It will no doubt set a precedent for any future blockbuster fights between the two sports.
Love the thought of it or hate it, we will all be watching it.
Chris Magee, Pundit Arena