It’s impossible to escape this, so don’t even try. Not only is it the biggest boxing match of all time, but one of the biggest sporting events in history. Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor in The Money Fight.
It pits undefeated eleven-time five-division boxing World Champion Floyd 'Money' Mayweather Jr, against mma fighter, and the current UFC Lightweight Champion 'The Notorious' Conor McGregor at the 20,000-capacity T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada on August 26th (technically 27th UK time).
Rumours of a dream match between the two arose way back in May last year, but actual chances of the fight materialising seemed distant. However over the rest of the year the rumours gained some momentum with both athletes acknowledging the possibility.
The new year brought more rumours, this time of contracts being talked about behind the scenes, although March and April came and went with nothing agreed.
Then on May 18th came the breakthrough. Both combatants signed the contract and the once unthinkable fight was announced.
Widely considered the greatest pound-for-pound boxer in history Mayweather sits atop of 49-0 perfect record – a feat only ever achieved by the great Rocky Marciano, and victory over McGregor would take him to 50-0 and an almost certain retirement.
McGregor comes into the bout 0-0 in boxing, but with a 21-3 record in mma, although it has to be said that due to the nature of the sport it is practically impossible to remain undefeated in mma. It also has to be noted that Conor’s 3 losses were all via submission – something that will obviously not factor in this contest. He has never been knocked out or lost a decision.
Mayweather’s victims in the ring read like a who’s who of the lighter boxing weights: Jesus Chavez, Arturo Gatti, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, and of course Manny Pacquiao have all suffered the big L against the American.
For McGregor the names may not be as household, but within the sports represent some of the best of the best including Dustin Poirier, Diego Brandao, Chad Medes, Nate Diaz, Max Holloway (whom is the current Featherweight Champion), Eddie Alvarez (whom Conor won the Lightweight Title off), and Jose Aldo. The Aldo fight which was for his Featherweight Title is the most notable - Aldo had only lost once in a 26-fight career, and that was more than 10 years previous. He had defended the belt 11 times, and was widely regarded as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world……McGregor knocked him out in 13 seconds, in a match you know that Mayweather has studied (well as much as you can study 13 seconds).
The figures floating around for The Money Fight are truly staggering. Some standout ones are that tickets to the actual fight ranged from the cheapest at $2,000 and going all the way up to $30,000 for a ringside seat. Also the sponsors on the boxers shorts will total some $15 million!
Of course how much money each boxer walks away with will depend on how many pay-per-views buys the event gets, but it’s safe to say that it’s not an exaggeration that Mayweather could walk away with $250 million and McGregor $75 million.
A promotional tour in July saw huge crowds flock to Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, and London, and provided numerous sound bites and umpteen photo opportunities.
So what chances does McGregor have? Professional opinion is completely divided. Some say it will be the biggest mismatch in the sports history, whilst others give Conor a real chance.
Factors the weigh in the Irishman’s favour include the age difference (40 years old versus 29 years old), he also carries into the fight a 2” reach advantage, and is also a southpaw (a right foot forward stance with right jabs with a more powerful left hand following up), which Mayweather has always struggled (if you can call it that), and also the fact that it’s only natural that McGregor will have a style of boxing that Mayweather will have never faced.
It has also divided people’s opinion on the fight taking place at all. There are some who think it is just going to be one big circus, and nothing good can come out of it for the sport, and some who think it will put all eyes on and give some much need publicity to a sport that at times has found the going tough over the past few years.
It might be hard to believe but this isn’t actually the only fight on the event. Another 8 bouts have been announced, with 3 of them title fights including Wales’s own Nathan Cleverly who attempts to defend his WBA Light Heavyweight Title against Sweden’s Badou Jack.
And also as it stands the first fight of the night will see Savannah Marshall from Hartlepool make her pro debut at Super Middleweight against America’s Amy Coleman.
In the UK the fight will be shown on Sky Box Office, of which you can find more information about here.