Sunday, March 26, 2023  |


Commentary: A joke (Mayweather-McGregor) vs. a gem (Canelo-GGG)


This story appears in the November 2017 issue of THE RING Magazine.


Two big boxing events are coming up. One (Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor) is a farce. The other (Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin) is among the best possible matchups in the sport.

The first fight pits an MMA fighter making his professional boxing debut against the best boxer of his era, an absurd matchup Nevada officials almost certainly wouldn’t have approved if so much money weren’t involved.

The second fight matches two of the best, most electrifying active boxers. It doesn’t get much more intriguing than Canelo vs. GGG.

The first fight has some drama (if you want to call it that) but it will have been limited to the trappings, including the over-the-top promotional tour in July. The only question about the fight itself is how McGregor will lose.

The second fight is essentially a 50-50 proposition in light of Canelo’s development and the perception that Golovkin is vulnerable after his disputed victory over Daniel Jacobs.

The first fight is a money grab, pure and simple. And that’s not necessarily a knock on the fighters, promoters and others involved in the event. The vast majority of us would do the same thing if we could, competitiveness be damned.

The second fight will also do good business. The difference is the product.

The first fight is all hype, a shameless attempt to convince the paying public that it’s a legitimate fight when everyone involved in the promotion – McGregor included – knows it isn’t.

The second fight is real, as advertised.

The first fight was sullied by vile profanity on the promotional tour, particularly by racist and homophobic epithets hurled across a variety of stages as if the words have no meaning. Was that really necessary?

The second fight features two gentlemen. Boring? Perhaps. Maybe you have to have an old-school perspective and appreciate civility and good sportsmanship.

The first fight will allow Mayweather to run his record to 50-0 – surpassing the magic 49-0 record with which the great Rocky Marciano retired – even though he’s not facing an experienced boxer.

The second fight will determine the undisputed best middleweight in the world, as Canelo will be defending his RING championship and two of Golovkin’s sanctioning-body titles will be on the line.

The first fight almost certainly will challenge the pay-per-view record of 4.6 million buys generated by the Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight.

The second fight will probably do in the neighborhood of 1.5 million pay-per-view buys. That figure will be deemed a success but it’s a shame that a sham will triple the business of a wonderful matchup. Alas, supply and demand.

The first fight raises a question: What’s the point? The answer: Because they can.

The second fight doesn’t feature personalities comparable to the first fight, it can’t compete with the level of hype and it won’t break revenue records. It’s simply the best boxing has to offer.

Isn’t that what the sport should be selling?