“Conor vs Floyd is ON!” the five but very important words that have been sent out to the world just a couple days ago via twitter. Predicted as the highest selling, most viewed and most expensive pay per view of all time in boxing is looking to be edging closer with the recent twitter post from Fox’s MMA expert and former UFC & Bellator Middleweight Chael Sonnen. Is this hype? No one will know until there is an official press release, but the fight between “Money May” and “The Notorious” seems to becoming more and more real. But is the fight really going to be competitive and what is the benefit for either fighters apart from financial incentive? Many questions that I personally have tried to answer in this one article, and for the boxing purists, fanatics and competitors, the answers are very much black and white.
Who is the A-side?
As the neutral may not know, boxing is very much a business before it is a sport. So within negotiations, there must be an A-side and B-side fighter. The A-side fighter calls all the shots, you pick the ref, the gloves, the split of the purse money and the pay per view split. This individual holds all the cards and, although may seem unfair to other people, the B-side fighter essentially just turns up. Former two time world champion Paulie Malignaggi spoke in a past interview stating very simply “The B-side comes in as the underdog, you have absolutely no say in the negotiations when you don’t get the politics, you try to win and become the A-side in a rematch”. With Mc Gregor being a huge draw himself and the fight being very much a “money grab” for both, the negotiations will be very much more evenly split I imagine. But not many would disagree that Mayweather, formerly known as Pretty boy, is the A-side in this fight.
Floyd Mayweather is for one the boxer, has been a world champion since Conor Mc Gregor was 7 years old and never lost a fight as a professional, as well as being his own promoter and being founder of promotional company Mayweather promotions. Brendan Schaub made the fair point via Instagram that Mayweathers last fight only sold 300 thousand pay per views, but there is an argument to the former UFC Heavyweights analysis. Although the Andre Berto fight was deemed a pay per view flop to many, the numbers for this fight are deemed very much irrelevant to many in boxing. Mayweather had one last fight on his Showtime contract and had already beat the guy who many said for years he was avoiding and would lose to in Manny Pacquaio. Which was also the highest selling boxing event in its history.
The Berto bout was viewed very much as just a farewell fight were the former world champion would pick an opponent who would not be a huge threat and could retire happily at 49-0 to finish out his contract with Showtime. It is not unfair to say Money Mayweather would possibly of retired post Pacquaio fight in May 2015 if the last Showtime fight was not still in the contract for September 2015. The figures before this 49-0 fight is what is the most appealing, with Mayweather who also likes to call himself “The Best Ever” holds the 3 best ever boxing pay per view numbers (4,600,000 versus Manny Pacquaio, 2,200,000 versus Canelo Alvarez and 2,480,000 versus Oscar De La Hoya) in its existence.
What if Mc Gregor lands that left hand?
Although I, myself may not be the next Roy Jones jnr, when this very statement is made, it immediately insinuates to me how little the person understands about the sport of boxing. Of course, every person who laces up a pair of gloves has a chance of landing that one punch, that Hayemaker or game changer but the facts are these. In a 20 year career, Floyd Mayweather has not only never been beaten, but never been knocked down and has only received one cut on his face against Marcos Maidana, in a sport where the objective to punch your opponent in the face.
Money May is a master at controlling range, and when a boxer has the ability to control range, the opponent’s greatest tools can be taken away. Range distances in boxing and MMA are completely different as kicking can be used within MMA. Such boxers as Canelo Alvarez, who is known for holding power and being incredibly creative with body punches and Manny Pacquaio, who was known for blistering pace and throwing combinations with follow up combinations. But yet against Floyd were made to look ordinary as could not land these blistering combinations or air sapping body punches because Mayweather never allowed them to find or come into range. This is why age in this scenario against Mc Gregor is possibly not a factor, maybe even an advantage with Floyd because range control seems to get better with age and experience. Granting he may not have the speed he once possessed when formerly known as pretty boy, but still quick decision making remains.
Conor Mc Gregor is young, and a very big guy in comparison to his possible opponent, which will make him a durable guy against Mayweather and his heart as well as power will keep him through to the end of the fight most likely. However, when Mike Buffer, half-brother of UFC announcer Bruce Buffer, raises the microphone to his face and reads out the scorecards, not many would disagree that the predicted outcome will be a unanimous decision in favour of “TBE” with almost every round being won. Moreover, the fight could be exciting in spots, with Mayweather deliberately letting Conor come into range on one or two occasions but the more likely outcome is the above.
What weight would they fight at?
With Mc Gregor being such a naturally bigger man and it has been well documented how the UFC lightweight champion struggles to make the 145lb weight cut at Featherweight it is likely there will be a catchweight. With the former unified WBC, WBA and WBO champion Mayweather primarily fighting in the welterweight division for the senior years of his career, which is 147lbs, the most sensible option would to have an agreement in place like the fight between Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez. Alvarez fights at 155/156 lbs at junior middleweight, which is the same as Mc Gregor in the 155lbs lightweight division in the UFC. When Mexican Alvarez clashed with the Money team, a catchweight of 152.5lbs was agreed for both fighters.
What is the motivation besides money?
Although money is the main reason for the idea of the fight coming to the forefront, if the fight does not happen there was still a reason for both parties fuelling the hype. Just talk alone about the fight in the media is keeping both fighters the most relevant names in their respective sports. Tactically it is genius from both sides. On one side you have Mc Gregor who is taking 1 year out of competing due to his girlfriend Dee Devlin expecting their first baby, but yet is still the most talked about name in the sport of MMA due to the talks of this fight, and on the other side Mayweather who is retired 2 years this September, is now promoting his own fighters and getting them plenty of exposure as the interest from outside media attending the Mayweather promotions press conferences to get in contact with the boss, Money Mayweather. For the Badou Jack vs James De Gale fight, which was promoted by Mayweather promotions, it was prevalent that every second question at the press conference was not for the current fighters who were about to compete, but for the retired Welterweight asking if the fight is happening between himself and “The Notorious”. Whether the fight takes place or not, Conor Mc Gregor and Floyd Mayweather are on the lips of every fight fan.
If it’s seen as such an uncompetitive bout, are you still going to watch it?