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Commentary: The Money ‘Fight’ approaches

21
Aug

It seems that only yesterday it was made official and now we drift ominously into “fight” week.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor. Former five-weight world champion vs. pugilistic probationer. The nine-figure fighter vs. the MMA guy who was desperate to become an eight-figure fighter. On Saturday night in Las Vegas, after the ultimate fistic pantomime, the pair will remove eight-ounce gloves and laugh their asses off — all the way to the bank.

I’ve watched Mayweather since the 1990s. I was aware of him as an amateur and kept a close watch on his rise through the professional ranks. He was dazzling at 130 and 135 pounds and you just knew he was something very special. There were times when his fights weren’t aired live in the U.K. but I would always order bootleg copies on video. I never missed one.

As the years passed and the victories and world titles mounted my appreciation for Mayweather’s talent only grew. I saw him live twice, against Sugar Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto, and watched at closed-circuit locations in Las Vegas when he faced Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. I’ve been privileged enough to see some of the finest fighters of the past 20 years and the self-proclaimed TBE is the best I’ve seen live – period.

And now this?

There are those who maintain that critics of this event are actually desperate to see it. They suggest that curiosity will get the better of me and I’ll scramble for my remote control and order it this weekend. Are you shitting me? The more I read nonsense like that, the more annoyed I get. Mayweather and McGregor will ring walk at approximately 4:30 a.m. on Sunday (U.K. time) and the pay-per-view would cost me 20 pounds (approximately $25). If they switched it to 9:30 p.m. on the Saturday night and made it free, I would still avoid it like the plague.

The way I look at Mayweather-McGregor is that nothing good can come of it. Mayweather is likely to swat the Irishman around effortlessly and he won’t absorb a meaningful punch. The crowd will become restless as the realization that they’ve squandered their cash on a turkey shoot hits home like a Mayweather right lead. The atmosphere will turn from anticipation to frustration and it’ll be too late to do anything about it. The sell-out crowd and millions of viewers will have fallen into the proverbial money trap.

I get asked the “what if?” question frequently. After explaining that it’s all but impossible, my flippancy toward the event doesn’t change. If McGregor defeats Mayweather in a boxing ring, it’s a National Lampoons movie. All that’s missing is Chevy Chase as referee and that catchy 1980s theme tune. Can you imagine being asked if McGregor would have beaten peak versions of Sugar Ray Robinson or Leonard? Me neither. But if McGregor gets his hand raised in Las Vegas that’s the type of bullshit questions you can expect.

No, I won’t be watching it. What I will do is offer my predictions on what will happen at the weigh-in, in the fight itself and at the post-fight press conference:

Weigh-In

McGregor comes in at 154 pounds on the nose and looks to be in fantastic shape. The traveling Irish drown out Mayweather’s anemic support and the Showtime crew adopt the generic reaction: “You would think this was Dublin, not Las Vegas!” Mayweather comes in at 151 pounds and also looks spectacular. The weigh-in pageantry is global news, so expect plenty of prearranged shoving, face-pushing, flag-throwing and bad language. Every pay-per-view sale counts and this nonsense is to be expected with all the main players obsessed with breaking financial records. McGregor hangs around long after Mayweather departs and leads the crowd in a “F–k Floyd Mayweather” chant.

The Fight

Mayweather is the perfect risk assessor. Give him Andre Berto or Victor Ortiz and he’ll open up a little. Give him Canelo Alvarez or Manny Pacquiao and he’ll box with more caution. Why? Because Mayweather knows that Canelo and Pacquiao present serious danger. When there’s a significant threat Mayweather will still score effectively with singles and doubles, but his primary focus is to avoid return fire. That’s his genius. The risk with McGregor is humiliation. Don’t expect Floyd to come out swinging just because McGregor can’t box a lick. In fact, he might be more cautious than ever. I foresee Mayweather using an exaggerated high-guard to catch McGregor’s crude swings like a father playing with a child. Every now and again Floyd will pop the jab and/or cross the right. The left hook lead won’t be a factor as Mayweather rarely uses that shot against a southpaw, although he will probably use the hook to counter McGregor’s right jab. This will be Boxing 101 and the Irishman should essentially be paying for lessons. And don’t bother telling me how tough McGregor is because all that will change when he’s being nailed with shots he doesn’t see. This pay-per-view heist ends shortly after the mid-way point with McGregor beaten up and exhausted. A points win wouldn’t completely surprise me, though.

Post-fight press conference

Maybe the only thing easier to predict than the fight is the aftermath. An unmarked Mayweather will tell you how tough a competitor McGregor was. He’ll thank God that he’s not in the UFC. He’ll laugh out loud and say “Hell no!” when asked if he’d take on McGregor inside the octagon. Or he’ll lie and say that he would. He’ll wax lyrical about McGregor’s fans and say that without them he wouldn’t have made another nine-figure pay day. He’ll tell you that he had a great training camp and that his team helped him turn the clock back. And what about McGregor? He’ll boast about success that he didn’t actually have. He’ll tell you that with a year or so to prepare, things would have been a whole lot different. He’ll talk about fighting Paulie Malignaggi in a winner-take-all affair. Or he’ll confirm his return to the UFC – which is precisely where he belongs.

Roll on Superfly and Canelo vs. Golovkin.

 

Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing

 

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  • WillieSmalls

    The Ring’s constant berating of this fight is embarrassing.

    • Tom Gray

      No, it’s the “fight” that’s embarrassing.

      • WillieSmalls

        I think we all got the message after the first 7 articles.

        • Tom Gray

          In fairness, that’s only my second. But the good news for you is I’m planning a trilogy. Get your popcorn ready!!!

          • WillieSmalls

            Will this be before or after the fight?

          • Tom Gray

            I’m only clowning. If there’s something to write then I may do a post-fight piece. The first story I did was when the “fight” was announced and I had a few things to say. This time I was really addressing those who think that my apathy is a put on. It is not a put on, hence the column.

          • Doob13Ashstray

            I think I’m the only boxing fan who has never watched Mayweather-Pacquiao. That said, this joke put upon the boxing world is less interesting to me than hearing Teddy Atlas doing commentary on a Julia Child rerun. Now that I think of it, I would watch that haha.

          • Orca

            I see the event playing out exactly as you do. What a waste of time. 2017 has been amazingly kind to boxing fans and now this. It’s like the annoying uninvited guest that turns up to your party wasted, shouts a lot, dances badly before vomiting on your dog and leaving. Hopefully, come Sunday, we can clean the dog and get on with the party.

          • Tom Gray

            Love the vomiting on the dog stuff. I shouldn’t… but I do 😂

  • Tony Nightstick

    Practically every boxing writer has, and quite rightly, condemned this upcoming “fight” for the nonsense that it is. In fact, the only exception I can think of is Paul Magno, who’ll say anything to get attention.

    My prediction is that Mayweather will stop his (teehee) “opponent” no later than the fourth or fifth, as carrying him for 12 rounds would render the suckers, er, viewers comatose.

  • Stephen M

    They could do an mma rematch. Floyd could probably beat McGregor at mma…

    Ha,ha,ha.

  • Roberto Carlos Guerra

    I’m so psyched about August 26th!!!

    That’s when Canelo vs GGG episode one of 24/7 comes on!

  • TMT NYC DA REAL GHOSTBUSTERS

    After realizing they have been ripped off, maybe the crowd will riot at a degree which boxing has never seen before! Haha! They will take it to the streets like those soccer hooligans.

    “The crowd will become restless as the realization that they’ve squandered their cash on a turkey shoot hits home like a Mayweather right lead. The atmosphere will turn from anticipation to frustration and it’ll be too late to do anything about it. The sell-out crowd and millions of viewers will have fallen into the proverbial money trap.”

  • Randall Bannister

    Tom I hear what you’re saying and yeah, I agree completely but what if the unthinkable happens? I genuinely believe this would be a bigger shock than, well anything remotely shocking in any sport. If it were to happen you’d be pissed that you missed it..

    • Tom Gray

      Explained that in the piece mate. If McGregor wins it’s just stupid. Stand up comedy with fists. I’ll catch a (free) replay only because I have to know what happens for job purposes.

      • Randall Bannister

        Stand up comedy with fists – great line.

  • Guy Grundy

    Hard to disagree with anything in the piece,Tom.

    Nobody in their right mind can even remotely suggest this a sporting and/or competitive contest ( just as it would be if Mayweather entered McGregor’s domain).

    It’s absurd,it’s a farce,it’s a sham and to this reader and long time follower of the sweet science, it’s frankly a disgrace.

  • Larry Connor

    It’s getting old man. At this point, if all of your bitching about how terrible the fight will be has not had the fight canceled then nothing will. I’m more concerned about the lack of promotion for the GGG fight. Maybe you guys marketing plans are to piggy back off the Floyd fight as a marketing prop. I wouldn’t doubt it.

    • Tom Gray

      Did I mention Canelo-GGG? Oops, I actually did! 😂 Seriously, though, I’m not in the promotional business pal. I have enough to contend with.

      • Larry Connor

        I wasn’t referring to you as an individual, but at Golden Boy as a whole. You all clearly have the better product in terms of the Canelo/GGG match up, but outside of us “hard Core” fans and very small pocket of casuals you hear next to nothing about the Canelo/ggg fight, yet we hear tons about the May/McGregor fight. Tons of casuals, tons of hardcore (whether negative or positive) and a ton of new fans. Marketing is excellent for the Floyd fight, but not so much for the MW FIGHT.

        That leads me to believe that Golden Boy marketing ploy is to ride the wave of Floyd’s wave. Ex: now that the fake fight is over or you guys ready for a real fight?!! Lol

        Floyd clearly knows how to sell a fight.

        • Tom Gray

          Mayweather-McGregor is a freakshow and the masses swallow that up. Tragic but true. And do you really think it’s been that great a promotion?
          Cringeworthy Hollywood horsepiss from where Im standing. Canelo-GGG, a fight fans’ fight, is three weeks later so doesn’t it make sense that Mayweather-McGregor is dominating the headlines right now? The latest RING magazine has five or six stories on Canelo-GGG. HBO 24/7 starts this weekend. The promotion will be off the charts once Mayweather and McGregor pack up their tent. Take that to the bank.

          • Larry Connor

            Regardless to how one may feel about this match up, it’s very clear that Floyd knows how to sell his fights. He’s been sky rocketing since the moment he left Top Rank in terms of money, prestige, noterierty, etc. so when I speak in reference to Floyd being a “Master Marketing exec” as well as master boxer, I’m using a sample size a little bigger than his currrent fight buzz vs Conor. You elude to the fact that Floyd buzz is bigger because it’s a freak show and his boxing exhibit comes first, I seriously doubt that. Something tells me if GB and Floyd swapped dates and Floyd was fighting a professional boxer say umm Spence or Thurman, Floyd would still find away to do the bigger business.

            The bottom line is that Floyd is a better showman and Oscar should do the same for the great product he has in ggg/Canelo.

            If golden boy do not at least 3/4 of what Floyd does this week Oscar has failed Canelo in the promoter department considering that we all asked for this huge fight and did not ask for the Floyd fight

          • Tom Gray

            Totally disagree with you and I’m a Floyd advocate as you can tell by the story. Mayweather-Berto was a sow’s ear and nobody gave a shit. Tickets were being given away come fight night and the PPV took a dump. Floyd versus Spence, Thurman etc would be big but this is AS BIG because it’s McGregor and an absolute circus. That is demonstrable. I don’t even see the point of denying it.

          • Larry Connor

            And I double disagree with you and the reason is this; every time Floyd broke some form of PPV or ticket sales record there is always excuses such as yours ( as big because it’s McGregor a circus) well it’s the Date Floyd fights on, well it’s his opponents that’s generating the numbers, etc etc. yet you all forget one common denominator in every high profile, high dollar fight Floyd has fought in, It’s Floyd! Will McGregor do a million PPV after this? Has he done it before? How about Canelo? Has he done the same numbers before or after Floyd? How about any of his previous opponents not including ODH who obviously spring boarded Floyd into the spot light. Floyd simply took the spot light and turned it up a million times brighter.

          • Tom Gray

            Every time he broke records? I think we can credit De La Hoya with having something to do with the record in 2007. Or, maybe you don’t – that’s fine. That record wasn’t broken until Pacquiao (5 years later) who was also an established PPV star. Floyd, in other big fights, where he’s the clear A-side, cracks roughly between 1 and 1.5 million buys (Canelo was the sole exception at 2.2 million).. I’m not denying Floyd’s success but you make out like his dance partners are irrelevant and that’s a crock of shit. And McGregor has done over 1 million buys on two occasions.

          • Larry Connor

            No, I do give Floyd’s dance parents some credit in all forms. We are saying the same thing except we are coming from opposite sides of the specrtum.

            Earlier you eluded to the fact that it’s McGregor and a freak show as the basis for Floyd generating numbers as if Floyd had nothing to do with the Wild numbers that are being quoted at the moment. So I chose the opposite end of your argument by pointing out Floyd as being the common denominator in all of his big fights. As far as records, I wasn’t speaking simply as in PPV sales which Floyd clearly owns in boxing, but also gate etc.

            At the end of the day his records are not my point, my point is that there are to many excuses concerning the lack of prominent promotion for what could possibly be the biggest fight of the year and like I said earlier, that if you swapped dates concerning Floyd and Gb, I can’t see Floyd taking a back seat until GB fights two or 3 weeks before his fight. I really do not believe that you think Floyd would do that either, but then again maybe you do.

          • Tom Gray

            Yep, agreeing to disagree is cool. Don’t want to go round in circles with it though; it’s boring enough. Catch up soon.

          • Larry Connor

            True

          • Stephen M

            Tom meet Larry…

          • Orca

            Ha, ha, ha, ha 🙂 Engaging was futile Tom.

          • Stephen M

            Larry gets points for persistence, if not for intelligence…

          • Tom Gray

            “If golden boy do not at least 3/4 of what Floyd does this week Oscar has failed Canelo in the promoter department”

            And that is pure nonsense, Larry. The demograph, the target audience of both events could scarcely be more different. You honestly believe that?

          • Larry Connor

            I do believe that if GB does not do at least 3/4 of what Floyd does then it’s a failure for GB.
            GB has everything going for them. They have the date ( the date that Floyd use to fight on and the excuse quite a few people said was the reason for his PPV success). They have two of the hottest fighters fighting each other in GGG and Canelo. GGG SOLD OUT THE GARDEN IN LESS THAN 3 MINUTES OR SOME CRAP LIKE THAT. You have Canelo who is a proven PPV star. You have the biggest boxing demo you can market to which is the Latino market basically in your back pocket at the moment. I can go on and on. So yea I feel it would be a failure if they do not do at least 3/4 of what a restired fighter does going against a guy who has never boxed professionally in his life in Conor McGregor.

          • Tom Gray

            Cool, no issue with agreeing to disagree.

  • Mariachi Viva Mexico

    This fight is absolute garbage and should not get the any attention by Ring.

    • Tom Gray

      Supply and demand my friend. Unfortunately people want to hear about it, positive or negative.

      • Guy Grundy

        I hear your point Tom about supply and demand….yet I still strongly believe the ” Bible of Boxing” should have taken a principled stand and made a strong statement by refusing to cover this undignified farce.Dollars and cents,even readership aren’t everything……

    • wayne reid

      i bet you watch this “garbage fight” and post a comment sunday

  • Danny Perez

    Meanwhile, I just been calling ALL my casual Boxing & MMA combat sports fan friends to come watch the fight this Saturday , making this a potluck and stuff and everyone is all in. Little do they know that the Fight we watching at my HOUSE is Cotto vs Kamagai on HBO!!
    Muahahahah :)-

  • IanF69

    I will be watching…but I get it free so I don’t count as a diddy…but I’ll bet every single person who doesn’t pay(and quite right) will be on Google or You Tube to see what happened…..including Mr Gray…but your probably getting paid to do so….so again, your not a diddy…which is a good Scottish word.

    • Orca

      I will not be checking my friend. I’ll be off camping with no 3g signal. Can’t say I wouldn’t check if I was at home but I check this website and a handful of others every morning anyway. I am actually surprised how little interest I genuinely have for this farce. Bring back diddy, a great word.

      • IanF69

        Enjoy the camplng M8 and hope the Midgies do not eat you alive…I would have little interest but I’ve a mob of Irish for the night so I will actually enjoy it…..and the “I told you so” speech is ready but I’ve been warned there may be a few punches thrown at me if it comes out….Ha a few scoops and I won’t give a shit…..Cheers M8.

        • Orca

          I just don’t do it for the midgies. They leave me alone for the most part. Crazy that we even need an ‘I told you so’ speech for this event. I’m sure you’ll have a great night. Drink and good craic will make all the difference. Have a good one.

  • Jim Parkinson

    How many articles did The Ring publish trashing Canelo-Chavez Jr? Granted, that wasn’t quite the mismatch that May-Mac is, but it also didn’t have quite the fan interest. Like it or not, May-Mac is a fight that a lot of people want to see. Who was calling for Canelo vs. JCCjr? That made the cover of Ring magazine, yet May-Mac hasn’t.

    GBP could’ve had Canelo-GGG in September of last year, after Canelo KOd Khan and before GGG got his GGGift against Jacobs. It would’ve been the biggest event of the year. They could’ve put it in Cowboys Stadium this year and sold 100,000 tickets. Instead, they went the standard route and let the fight “marinate,” and put it in the standard arena. So May-Mac one-upped them on the date, the arena and probably cut their PPV buys in half. Now they’re following the standard promotional procedure: build up their own event by trashing someone else’s.

  • madmaxmedia

    The $100 isn’t so bad when you split it with some friends, for some good circus show entertainment. Many people I know have been lulled into the “All it takes is one shot” outlook, but not only is that one great shot a bridge too far, it will take far more than one shot anyway. Mayweather put on a boxing clinic against Pacquiao, what’s going to happen against a literal student of the game?

    • dontplayyourself

      “Boxing clinic” is a stretch. They both stunk!

  • jebib

    Couldn’t agree more. I believe that there is a 95% probability Tom has it exactly right (might only disagree with the level of beating he puts on McGregor). I’m not willing to pay $100 for that 5% probability. If this were on a classic “Don King Card” I probably would be guilty of swallowing the hook. But not this undercard.