By: Sean Crose
If you’re not a pop culture connoisseur, mixed martial arts fan, or boxing fan, you may be wondering what the big deal is with this coming weekend’s Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match. Trust me, you’re not alone. This one’s a puzzler to me, as well. McGregor is a mixed martial artist who has never had a professional boxing match in his life. Mayweather is a retired boxing icon whose brilliant, yet rather unexciting, era had finally been coming to a close until very recently. What, exactly, then, is the big deal here? Truthfully, I don’t know…but I’ll answer the following questions to the best of my ability, regardless.
Photo Credit: USA Today
WHY ARE PEOPLE SO EAGER TO SEE THIS FIGHT?
I’ve heard all sorts of responses to this, ranging from people just wanting to watch the spectacle of it all, to people saying they simply want to see if McGregor stands a chance. The whole “boxing versus mma” element is in play, as well. Here, however, is what I believe is at the core of all this excitement:
People love Conor McGregor. Love him to death. He’s a nasty piece of work, at least publicly, but – ironically enough – that seems be, in large part, where the adoration comes from. That and the fact that he’s one hell of a mixed martial artist. Mayweather is no saint, but McGregor is the world’s new bad boy du jour. Simply put, enormous swaths of people are wrapped up in the Irishman’s whirlwind of self worship and can’t wait to see if he can climb his biggest mountain yet. And the excitement of McGregor’s massive fan base has recently become contagious. Now, even those who aren’t in the least bit emotionally invested want to watch the fireworks as “the two best in their sports” throw down (for the record – I don’t think either is the best in his respective sport, although at least Mayweather could have rightfully claimed that title at one point).
CAN MCGREGOR ACTUALLY WIN?
Sure. Everyone stands a chance in boxing. It just doesn’t seem to me like McGregor has that much of one, barring judicial insanity or a freak accident like a twisted ankle or something along those lines. McGregor says Mayweather will see things in the ring he never has before – and I believe it. That doesn’t mean I think the mma star will win, though. It all basically comes down to this – McGregor can either knock Mayweather out or win by decision. In order to win by decision, though, McGregor will basically have to land the cleaner, more effective punches throughout the bout. No matter how good he looks, do you think McGregor will be able to do either of those things?
Me neither. But you never know.
Of course, the judges could decide to do what boxing judges have been known to do forever – and that’s award a decision to the more popular fighter simply because he’s more popular. McGregor is clearly the more beloved of the two contestants this weekend. Could I see the judges ruling in his favor unfairly?
You bet I could.
IS THERE A RACIAL ELEMENT TO THIS FIGHT?
I can’t look into people’s hearts. Nor can I say with confidence whether or not racial bias – if it exists in this case – cuts one or both ways. Regardless of your race, however, here’s something to try at home if you’re not a boxing or mma fan, but are still interested in this fight:
Ask yourself who you hope wins. Then ask yourself why. Then answer as honestly as possible. The response may make you uncomfortable, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes we need to be rattled in order to see things clearly.
IS THERE A SOCIAL ELEMENT TO THIS FIGHT?
Yes, and it’s not exactly a good one. Boxing’s biggest matches traditionally tell us about ourselves. Louis-Schmelling II, for instance, told us that we were willing to put prejudice aside in the face of the Nazi threat (Schmeling was no goose stepping thug, by the way). Ali-Frazier I let us know just how keenly divided Americans were regarding their competing worldviews at the time. Even Mayweather-Pacquiao highlighted the differences between traditional (some would say dangerously traditional) and materialistic value systems.
This fight, though, simply tells us that we can’t get enough of gaudy self promoters who luxuriate in their own financial blessings. This isn’t to say I think either Mayweather or McGregor are inherently bad people. For all I know both are spending much of their vast incomes to help the less fortunate. Fighters tend to be exceedingly generous individuals, after all. In public, though, both men come across as less than laudatory. People can look too much into all of this, of course, but our societal obsession with two less than savory public personas doesn’t speak well as to what we truly value as a culture, either.
HOW MUCH MONEY ARE THESE GUYS GOING TO MAKE?
Lots. (Boxing Insider will be exploring this topic later this week)
HOW IS THIS ALL GOING TO PLAY OUT?
No one knows, of course, but I’m going with Floyd emerging victorious, via decision, provided the judges do their jobs effectively. I don’t think McGregor can stop him and I suspect he won’t stop McGregor, either. As always, I think it will simply be a case of Mayweather’s dominance shining through.