Cleat Geeks

The Fight of the Century

I’ll do my absolute best to write this article without any bias against Floyd Mayweather. I do write articles for MMA and not boxing, though. I nearly started writing this article with “now that the dust has settled,” only to realize that it hasn’t and it likely won’t until August 26. While I am a huge Conor McGregor and UFC fan I have all the respect in the world for Floyd Mayweather and his ability to both fight and sell fights, even if they aren’t exciting.

If you believe that Conor McGregor is a better boxer than Floyd Mayweather and would win the exchanges, you are foolish. If you believe that Floyd Mayweather can’t be knocked out cold from one of Conor’s infamous straight lefts, you are also foolish.

On the surface, this fight doesn’t make much sense in any universe. The truth of the matter is that although Floyd Mayweather carries the nickname “money,” it’s Conor McGregor who has captured the attention of the entire world here. Let’s face it, he has lured one of the greatest of all time, if not the absolute best, out of retirement to fight him in his physical prime in a sport in which he has never professionally competed. This is not a stick measuring competition between the best 2 boxers in the world to prove who the best is. This is a fight between one of the best ever and a guy who very well probably doesn’t deserve to be here. Yet here we are, and although the critics, Oscary De La Hoya included, have made their feelings on the fight known, they too will be tuning in on fight night to watch. Michael Jordan was absolutely horrible in the MLB, but people tuned in because it was Michael Jordan. I’m not saying that Conor McGregor is a horrible boxer by any means, but he’s here because of his ability to attract the masses, not because he deserves to share the ring with the best boxer of our generation. It’s already being billed the biggest fight in combat sports history, bar none. The fact remains that the guy standing across from Floyd in this fight is a guy who’s never fought professionally in the sport. If you believe that Conor McGregor is a better boxer than Floyd Mayweather and would win the exchanges, you are foolish. If you believe that Floyd Mayweather can’t be knocked out cold from one of Conor’s infamous straight lefts, you are also foolish.

This fight is about one thing and one thing only—money.

Although everyone on social media has reminded us of the combat sports experts they are, I don’t think anyone truly knows what to expect if, and I expect them to, they step inside the ring. The sports world has been turned upside down on multiple occasions in the last few years. If I’d said to you a year ago that the Chicago Cubs would overcome a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians and end a 108-year drought to win the World Series, winning the final two on the road, you’d have said I was crazy. If I’d said to you in February that the New England Patriots would overcome a 25-point deficit with 20 minutes left to win Super Bowl 51, you’d have again said I was crazy. What about Holly Holm knocking out Ronda Rousey? What about the Cavaliers overcoming a 3-1 deficit to come back and beat the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals? Doesn’t seem so crazy now, does it?

McGregor has absolutely nothing to lose here.

This fight is about one thing and one thing only—money. Everyone involved, from the fighters all the way down to the attendants at the MGM Grand is going to get filthy rich from this. This is a PPV that could charge $100 easy and get away with it, and they may very well up the ante from there. The time and detail required to put this massive event together will never be truly appreciated. None of it would be possible without McGregor’s blessing from UFC President Dana White and his superiors. They were able to take their top star and pit him against boxing’s top star in a fight that is a high-risk, low-reward fight for Mayweather. McGregor has absolutely nothing to lose here. If the rumors of the payouts are true, he stands to make more money than he would have made for 8-10 fights in the UFC. If he goes out and gets annihilated in the ring, which is a distinct possibility, he’ll collect his check, lick his wounds and head home rich. If you’re unfamiliar with who he is or how he’s wired, I suggest you look at the details following UFC 196 when Conor McGregor suffered his first defeat against Nate Diaz. He sat across from Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta and insisted on an immediate rematch in a weight class with which he was unfamiliar. If this fight is even mildly competitive, I fully expect there to be a rematch.

Floyd Mayweather is undefeated in his professional career and for the most part of it he hasn’t even been tested inside the ring. Do you really think he wouldn’t want to exact revenge if lightning does strike and he falls to a guy who’s never fought before? Conor’s proven that he doesn’t take losses well and that isn’t something that is likely to change anytime soon, especially if there were another big pay day involved. These two guys could fight 3 times before it’s all said and done. There are a variety of different ways their first fight could play out, and they all could very well lead to a rematch. The first two scenarios certainly leave the door open for a rematch. The general consensus is that McGregor lands the lucky punch that puts him down or Mayweather takes over after three or four rounds and cruises to a decision. Those are, in my opinion, the most likely scenarios in no particular order. However, let’s just say that somehow the sports Gods give us the fight of the century and they go out and beat the hell out of each other for 12 rounds and it’s a close fight? Wouldn’t that warrant a rematch no matter the outcome of the decision?

Conor McGregor has a knack for getting into his opponents’ heads and getting them to make mistakes.

The odds on this fight will likely take many turns, they already took their first when the big lines opened up and the wild fans from Ireland started betting large sums on a big spread. I anticipate those moving in both directions before fight night. They currently stand at +950 for McGregor and I would look for that to go down more as more people start to realize that those are great odds for a guy with ungodly power in his left hand facing a 40-year-old fighter coming out of retirement. Conor McGregor has a knack for getting into his opponents’ heads and getting them to make mistakes. He made Jose Aldo do something we never see him do, plant his feet and swing for the fences, and he made him pay dearly for it with a 13-second knockout victory. His timing and footwork is deceptively good, his shots may not look powerful but when they land champions fall. I would also encourage anyone who has dismissed his chances due to the size of the gloves to watch the episode of Sports Science that details the difference between the amount of force each sport’s glove creates.

Floyd Mayweather has made a career out of being a defensive fighter and not being hit. While I don’t enjoy his fights, his antics, or his character, I have the utmost respect for his abilities and in-ring intelligence. He’s the best I’ve seen at not getting punched, which is the ultimate goal in a boxing match. He’s undefeated for a reason, and the list of names he’s compiled over his career isn’t a list full of nobodies as he’s beat some of the best in the world, some of them multiple times. It’s been a long time since he’s knocked an opponent out but he’s promised us that and the best version yet of Floyd Mayweather. The amount of trash talking leading up to this fight should make this all the more entertaining. These two have been going after each other for the last year and a half, most of that time during which they weren’t even seriously considering fighting one another. Floyd’s stayed out of the spotlight for the most part since his retirement, fielding only questions about this fight and potential other rematches. It will be interesting to see how involved he gets with the media during this fight camp and how often these two size each other up.

There are a TON of questions about this fight and we really won’t have answers to them until fight night.

I really don’t have any predictions for how this fight will play out, but based on what I’ve seen from these two fighters I do believe that McGregor has a much better shot than most. Conor is a fighter who relies very heavily on pressure while his opponent does not. On the flip side, the fighters who have given Conor the most trouble in the Octagon were the ones who were able to dictate the pace and apply pressure of their own. I don’t expect we will see much pressure from Floyd as he will look to counter and Conor to wear himself out. Unfortunately for him, avoiding the power shot from McGregor has proved to be too much for many of his past UFC opponents. He will also sport a reach and height advantage that Floyd has never dealt with before. There are a TON of questions about this fight and we really won’t have answers to them until fight night. If Floyd’s game plan is to stick and move and avoid the straight left from McGregor all night, he could fall right into his trap. McGregor could steal rounds based on pressure and volume alone as he’s never been one to shy away from a fight. He will chase Floyd and look to do damage, whether or not he can accomplish that remains to be seen.

One thing is for sure, this fight will sell PPV numbers that probably weren’t even imaginable a few years ago. They’re going to be getting two fan bases, who typically don’t pay for each other’s PPV’s, tuning in on the same night paying the same amount of money to see their respective fighter battle the best in the world.  For anyone involved in the money making aspect of this fight, what more could you ask for?

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