Mayweather-McGregor: It’s All About The Money
By: Seamus McNally
Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard by now that former pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather (49–0, 26 KOs) will return from a 23-month layoff to face UFC lightweight champion “The Notorious” Conor McGregor (21–3, 18 KOs) in a 12-round junior middleweight boxing match on August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Mayweather, one of the greatest boxers of all time, will attempt to reach the hallowed 50–0 mark by facing a fighter who will be making his professional boxing debut
So why is a bout between a future first-ballot hall of fame boxer and someone who has never boxed a day in his life taking place? Quite simply…. money.
When Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao on May 2, 2015, the long-awaited showdown shattered every financial record possible. It garnered approximately 4.6 million buys and generated $623.5 million in total revenue. Most people figured those numbers would never be reached again, and yet here we are just two years later with a fight that has the potential to exceed those astronomical numbers.
To give you an idea of how much money this fight could generate, ESPN’s Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell spoke to ticket brokers, sports marketers and those who are in the boxing business, and based on projected revenues from tickets, pay-per-view, sponsorships, merchandise, and betting, they came up with an estimated total revenue figure of $606.1 million generated by this mega-fight.
To put in perspective the amount of money Mayweather-Pacquiao generated and the expected numbers Mayweather-McGregor will produce, the next highest grossing boxing fight is the 2007 Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoyafight which sold 2.48 million pay-per-views and grossed a total revenue of $165 million. McGregor’s best pay-per-view was his rematch against Nate Diaz last August which did a reported 1.65 million buys.
The hype behind Mayweather-Pacquiao was built largely on them being the two best boxers of their generation and the anticipation of fans who waited six years for the fight to finally come to fruition. The promotion itself was subdued, with older and more mature versions of Mayweather and Pacquiao largely being respectful in the press conferences leading up to the fight. That will not be the case in the build-up for Mayweather-McGregor.
The promotion for this fight will be unlike anything we have ever seen before. McGregor is the best trash-talker in combat sports since the late Muhammad Ali and his press conferences are usually just as entertaining as his fights. Not only does he talk more trash than anyone in sports today, but he consistently backs it up inside the Octagon, which has made him a global superstar and an icon in his native Ireland.
McGregor will hurl more insults at Mayweather in the next two months than Mayweather has heard in his previous 49 fights combined. McGregor will probably attempt to ignite some type of altercation with Mayweather during a press conference stare down. The media and casual sports fans will eat it up. McGregor will talk millions of people into believing he has a chance. The hype of fight week will probably exceed the Super Bowl.
Even before the promotion has hit full-gear, McGregor’s bravado already has plenty of people believing he will win. ESPN.com put a poll up on their site asking who will win and out of over 100,000 votes, 24% picked McGregor.
But to be frank, this fight is purely a money-grab. It might be an even bigger scam than Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. It’s more like a Ringling Brothers Circus show. I for one, am very excited to see the shenanigans that McGregor will pull at the press conferences and how Floyd will react. But I know going into this, McGregor has no chance to win.
Yes, I know 18 of McGregor’s 21 wins in mixed martial arts have come via knockout with his fists. Yes, I know he is taller, bigger, and younger than Mayweather. Yes, I know he’s a southpaw, which supposedly is Floyd’s kryptonite.
It means nothing.
McGregor has scored those knockouts against guys who come from wrestling and jiu-jitsu backgrounds, not professional boxers. Mark Hunt, Donald Cerrone, and Anderson Silva, all accomplished MMA fighters who are considered great strikers, have a combined professional boxing record of 1 win, 3 losses (2 by knockout) and 1 draw.
Mayweather has managed to defeat the best boxers of his era, and with ease. Many of them never even managed to hit Mayweather with one punch of significance. And now people are expecting a guy to come in with no prior professional boxing experience and beat one of the best defensive fighters to ever live. The idea is laughable. The same would be true if Mayweather fought McGregor in the Octagon. He would stand as little a chance of defeating McGregor as the Irishman does of out-boxing Mayweather.
This was already proven when former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Randy Couture submitted boxing legend James Toney in the first round of their 2010 MMA bout.
I heard one analogy that describes this fight perfectly. It will be like the best diver trying to beat Michael Phelps in the 100m butterfly. The diver knows how to swim, but not as fast as the most decorated Olympian ever. McGregor knows how to punch, but he won’t be able to outbox the best boxer of this generation.
Like everyone else, I will be glued to the television the night of August 26th to watch the spectacle of two iconic figures in their respective sports duke it out for 12 rounds (or less). But I expect nothing less than another easy victory for Mayweather.