By Steve Silverman
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Shortly after the Irish Sun newspaper reported Tuesday that Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor would get into the ring and meet in a huge bout that would become the latest “Fight of the Century,” the story was shot down by a number of media organizations as being anywhere from untrue to premature.
Those two personalities have not come to any final agreement to fight in a huge pay-per-view spectacle just yet. It could happen, or it could be one of those promotional dreams that never turns into reality.
It would seem that both sides of the equation have plenty to work out. If they ever do reach an agreement, the guess here is that Mayweather will receive at least twice as much as McGregor in guaranteed money.
McGregor has blathered on about earning $100 million for such a fight, but that is not going to happen, and it never will.
While the fight would almost certainly take place in Las Vegas, the date of such a bout, which would undoubtedly receive unprecedented worldwide promotion, would need to be determined. Look for at least a six-month run-up to the event.
Mayweather, 39, retired from boxing with a perfect 49-0 record and is widely regarded as one of the best defensive fighters in the sport’s history, and certainly of the current era. Mayweather’s ability to suck any opponent in, make him miss with his punches and then counter effectively has been his basic strategy throughout his career.
Never mind Mayweather’s regretful attitude and lifestyle. He has been to jail for domestic abuse, and he is wont to brag about the size and frequency of his sports bets.
He has often been able to make the best fighters look ineffective inside the ring. He was never truly threatened by elite fighters such as Canelo Alvarez or Manny Pacquiao, and he is a brilliant maestro when he steps inside the ring.
If McGregor, 28, was to have a chance against Mayweather, it would not be in a legitimate boxing match. McGregor could beat Mayweather if the two men were fighting in a UFC-style fight that included elbowing, wrestling, kicking and throwing, but he is a crude brawler who would almost certainly embarrass himself in a legitimate boxing match against Mayweather.
Veteran trainer and color analyst Teddy Atlas said if the fight were scheduled and he was running a Las Vegas sportsbook, he would not offer odds on such a bout because McGregor would be cannon fodder for Mayweather.
The promotion of such a fight would be a Roman spectacle. McGregor is a fine mixed martial arts fighter, but his greatest talent may lie in his ability to draw attention to himself. His ability to use his own unchecked ego has helped him turn his bouts into front-page events, and I am sure he would turn it up to an unprecedented level if a fight with Mayweather ever became reality.
McGregor loves to focus on himself at the start and tell anyone who will listen why none of his opponents ever have any chance against him. After bragging about himself, he loves tearing down his adversaries in any manner he can.
He starts off by denigrating their ability as professional fighters, and then loves to get into questions about their courage, intelligence and manhood. It has been difficult for opponents not to be distracted by McGregor’s vitriol and level of personal attack.
The big question is whether he means any of the things that come out of his mouth. Like many of the great fighting showmen of any generation, McGregor is an exceptional promoter. He understands better than nearly anybody it’s about putting fannies in seats – which means buying the fight on pay-per-view – and every word and gesture are about making sure that happens.
Mayweather will be sure to play his role of arrogant and unlikable champion to a T. If he is really working hard before the fight – should it come off – he will come from behind and nearly catch McGregor in terms of acquired hatred by the time the two men step into the ring.
So, despite the pronouncement of an Irish newspaper, this fight has not been secured as of yet. There is too much money involved to say that it will not happen, but if it does come off, this will not be boxing’s best moment.
The spectacle will undoubtedly be otherworldly huge, but the fight itself will be a joke. McGregor has no chance of beating Mayweather in a boxing match, and the chances are that Floyd will be happy in shutting the Irishman out and turning it into another one of his boring specials.
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