By Steve Silverman
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So, this fight is going to happen.
Undefeated and all-time boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. is going to get in the ring and fight mixed-martial arts legend Conor McGregor on Aug. 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Are we supposed to be excited?
“Ooh, the big, bad MMA champion is coming into the ring and he’s going to be so dangerous. Floyd has never been in the ring with another fighter who is so dangerous, and he could be in real trouble. We have to see this.”
You know who had this conversation? Nobody.
First, I will tell you what you already know. This fight is just about money. Mayweather is going to get $100 million to step into the ring and McGregor is going to get $75 million for his efforts, according to the cognoscenti. As businessmen, you can’t blame either man for wanting to make this happen.
We know that Floyd loves to make bets in the $200,000-$400,000 range, and this night will help him to continue doing so for many years — and maybe even raise his rates. (When you gamble the way Floyd does, it is possible for your habits to outstrip your means at some point.)
We don’t know about McGregor’s personal habits or lifestyle to make any assessments, but his payday will clearly set him and several future generations of McGregors up quite well, assuming he doesn’t find a way to blow it all.
McGregor is an excellent and dangerous MMA fighter. When he gets in his environment he combines his aggressiveness as a striker with all the techniques needed to get his opponent off-balance and vulnerable. There’s a combination of relentlessness and viciousness that has allowed him to destroy his opponents.
But this is his first boxing match, and it is coming against one of the best tacticians who has ever stepped into the ring. McGregor is one of the few fighters who can compete with Mayweather when it comes to bluster and putting on a show in the pre-fight hype. He will probably win that aspect of this production. But when it comes to going into the ring as a boxer, he will be a neophyte.
Mayweather’s biggest issue when the two men step into the ring in late August is going to be overconfidence. When he starts working out seriously for this fight, is he really going to have any respect for his opponent?
How can he? McGregor has not proven anything as a boxer. As a brawler and an MMA champion, he is quite a force. But he knows nothing about getting into the ring and boxing a great, great fighter.
Mayweather is 49-0 and his speed, quickness and know-how have allowed him to beat the best fighters and make them look impotent in the process.
Take Mayweather’s fights against Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez. Both are dangerous with power in either hand. Manny may not have been at his peak when he got into the ring with Floyd, while Canelo was still on his way up the ladder.
Neither man could hit Mayweather with any convincing shots, let alone flurries or combinations that would have led to trouble. Those fights both ended as one-sided decisions in Floyd’s favor, and they were both major disappointments.
Just ask anyone who bought the fights on pay-per-view and expected to see great champions push Mayweather to the limit. If boxing fans didn’t feel ripped off by those matches, they felt fully disappointed.
It will be even worse against McGregor. The Irish warrior comes off as courageous, all-out brawler who absolutely refuses to even consider losing. His drive to win and destroy have been impressive.
But he is still a human being, and when he looks in the mirror he should know he has no idea what he’s doing getting into the ring with Mayweather. That may translate into fear when this bout takes place.
It will manifest itself with something that has never been seen in a McGregor fight — caution. He may stay away because he won’t want to get taken apart early or peppered with jabs from start to finish. To me, this fight looks like a shutout. McGregor may not come close to winning one round.
While I believe the above assessment has about a 95 percent chance of coming true, what about the other five percent?
McGregor’s bluster may turn out to be confidence on a level rarely seen and he may actually believe he is the best fighter in the world. What if his aggressiveness works and he gets in a good punch early and hurts Floyd, something that hasn’t happened in several years?
If that happens a real fight could develop. For those that purchase this fight, I hope they get their money’s worth and something memorable happens.
But it’s highly unlikely that will end up being the case. This fight appears to be nothing more than a fishing exhibition. Mayweather and McGregor are the ones in the boat with their lines in the water and they are searching for suckers. They are likely to bring in quite a haul.
Follow Steve on Twitter at @Profootballboy