Monday, May 21, 2018  |


Will Mayweather-McGregor affect boxing or MMA? Not at all


It’s happening. It’s really happening.

What was originally deemed as inconceivable has become believable. Only in the age of social media could something so unusual be spoken into existence. But we are here and now Floyd Mayweather Jr. will put his 49-0 record on the line against Conor McGregor on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.

Oh, in case you haven’t heard, Conor McGregor has never had a professional boxing match. Yes, he’s the current UFC lightweight champion and the former UFC featherweight champion who has dynamite in his left hand. But comparing MMA to boxing is like comparing basketball to soccer where the only thing in common is the use of a ball and the object being to put said ball into the net.

This isn’t a fight; this is an event. A spectacle, if you will. Arguably the greatest boxer of this generation will face somebody who has no idea what it is like having only his hands as weapons. The last time a boxer and an MMA fighter squared off against each other, James Toney made an ill-advised stroll into the UFC Octagon at UFC 118 on Aug. 28, 2010 against Randy Couture and was choked out in just over three minutes.

The difference between Mayweather-McGregor and Couture-Toney is that Toney was a shell of his former self and Couture was on the last legs of a career that wasn’t nearly as dominant as Floyd Mayweather’s was in boxing.

Nevertheless, when Toney tapped out to Couture, there was no fallout. Boxing fans weren’t ashamed nor were MMA fans celebrating as if they had proven their dominance. It went exactly as expected. And that’s the reason that Mayweather-McGregor does little to nothing for either sport.

Just like Mayweather is in business for himself, McGregor is like a diet version of Mayweather. There is truly no care for the future of their respective professions. Not on this night, at least. Granted, Mayweather will feature several fighters from Mayweather Promotions on the undercard. But, let’s be honest, those who are purchasing this fight will pay little-to-no attention to the undercard. Like most big boxing events – and more so here – people will not be tuning in until the main event.

If Mayweather wins, which is what a vast majority expect him to do, he did what he was supposed to do. Only now he gets to cash another $100-million check in the process. If he loses, it will be a huge shock to everyone but boxing won’t suffer a single iota. The detractors weren’t going to purchase Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin on Sept. 16 anyway. It’s not like a Mayweather loss will make boxing fans turn in their fan card. The same goes for mixed martial arts. If McGregor loses, it was because he was supposed to. If he wins, then that’s good for him. Not the UFC.

There is no crossover appeal here. MMA fans won’t become boxing fans nor will boxing fans become MMA fans. Those who are fans of both will remain the same while the casual viewer who is tuning in for a good spectacle won’t remember this as a significant contribution to combat sports.

When Muhammad Ali faced Japanese pro wrestler Antonio Inoki on June 25, 1976, the exhibition fight had no bearing on how their respective sports were viewed afterward. It was a novelty event that most who witnessed it would prefer to never speak of again. It was better in theory than it was in practice. But, either way, both Ali and Inoki inflicted no damage on their sport.

But there is a residual effect that could play a significant role in the immediate future of the UFC.

Win or lose, McGregor is in the prime of his mixed martial arts career and has put together a series of performances that will go down in history. Not to mention that he is, by far, their biggest star. But while chasing after a dream fight with Mayweather, he hasn’t been able to compete in the Octagon since UFC 205 last November. In the process, the UFC has struggled to see any of their PPVs without the Irishman fare well in the sales department. With the UFC having drastically lighter payouts than boxing and McGregor being such an integral part of the UFC’s immediate future, you can only imagine what kind of leverage that McGregor will return with when it comes to negotiating his next UFC fight.

Do you think he’ll settle for a disclosed purse of $3 million when he just fought for whatever astronomical amount he’ll be paid for boxing Mayweather? More importantly, McGregor is an intelligent businessman that knows his worth and is aware of the demand for his presence in the UFC after his event with Mayweather has come to completion.

McGregor will be a bigger star, the UFC will not.

As for Mayweather, he’s already retired and there are many who could care less about seeing him fight again. And that even goes for the most hardcore boxing fans. Nothing changes and fight fans will immediately move on to the next one. The only individuals sinking a great deal of time into this will be the talking heads on sports shows who know absolutely nothing about either sport.

Maybe more UFC fighters will try their hand at boxing (if they can convince the organization to allow them to box), but it is highly unlikely. As UFC president Dana White said: “This is a one-time deal.”

The UFC will gain some added exposure. But what that amounts to is unknown. We’ll probably get to see a few more McGregor highlights on SportsCenter but that won’t necessarily make people run out to buy the next UFC. In the end, viewers will know all about McGregor and he will deposit a big fat check into his banking account. As for Mayweather, he’ll ride off into the sunset with a 50-0 record against the most unlikely of opponents. But, more importantly, he’ll cash another ridiculous check for what will largely amount to some easy work.

If you are a combat sports fan and are hoping to see your sport gain some added exposure, you’ll get it, albeit briefly. But it will exist in the vacuum known as Mayweather-McGregor that may be fought in a boxing ring but won’t alter the course of boxing or MMA history.

It’ll be another footnote in the long history of combat sports and deserves a chapter in-between Ali-Inoki and Rocky vs. Thunderlips.

  • Stephen M

    Wake me up when it’s over…

  • Philip Matsikoudis

    I doubt McGregor will defeat Frightened Floyd, however, I’ve never seen an MMA fighter rely on striking a/k/a boxing as much as McGregor does. He seems to have tremendous power, but that will certainly be mitigated by the much larger Boxing Gloves instead of the small gloves allowed in the UFC. How much McGregor’s power punching will be diminished by the heavier padding in Boxing Gloves will be critical. Will McGregor still retain his status as a unreal power puncher? If he can hit harder than any pugilist at Welterweight than he has a chance as he also has fast hand. Mayweather rarely relied on the tremendous foot-speed he has, instead preferring angle fighting, which he, along with Junior Featherweight Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux, is the foremost practitioner of this difficult to learn and ably execute this art. That is what I anticipate Mayweather doing in this match along with counter-punching. Only if McGregor is able to breach that defense will Mayweather resort to utilizing his great foot-speed which takes a lot more stamina, and at (40) years old, it might be very difficult for him to employ for (12) rounds. It appears this match is stacked heavily in Floyd’s favor as they are Boxing and Mayweather is a Hall of Famer based upon his excellent, world class, Hall of Fame defense.

    I know McGregor is Irish, but isn’t the root of the name McGregor Scottish? Is McGregor’s ancestors Scotch? I know it means nothing, I’m simply curious, but probably not curious enough to watch a match which will likely be a one-sided affair with McGregor made to look clumsy and probably be disqualified out of frustration and resort to fouling Floyd Mayweather Junior.

    Finally, since Floyd is retired there is no World Title on the line. Will the winner than fight either Keith Thurman or the best Welterweight in the world, Errol Spence?

  • Mark Slain

    This should have been fun to watch if it will be done in the octagon…

  • FreeWilly

    Quite an objective piece of writing considering that De la hoya owns this site.

  • Emeka Nnaji Jr.

    What’s up with that old tale of the tape lol, come on now. Also people keep saying McGregor has power, but its completely different when your wearing 10oz gloves. Most people have power when your punching with basically bare knuckles.

  • kiowhatta

    bubble fart.

  • Matt

    Great infographic… Shame that the information is wrong… McGregor is 28