Buyer beware: Mayweather-McGregor will be fun ... just don't expect it to be competitive

Dan Wetzel
Columnist

The Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match that was agreed upon Wednesday promises to generate as much, if not more, trash talk than any sporting event in recent history. These are a couple of all-timers of smack, and there won’t be any vulgarity or personal territory considered too far to touch on.

That, alone, will be epic. And it promises to fuel incredible interest all over the world, filling Las Vegas with partying fight fans and leading to millions of pay-per-view purchases … all for a fight that can promise almost nothing else.

In short: Caveat emptor.

Buyer beware.

Mayweather and McGregor and their considerable promotional abilities are going to talk this into a real fight, an anything-can-happen-truly-competitive athletic endeavor.

“All it takes in boxing is one shot,” Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions said Wednesday night, adding that Mayweather is very impressed with what he has seen from McGregor. “This is a fight Floyd will take very, very seriously.”

Conor McGregor (L) and Floyd Mayweather both stand to make upward of $100 million for their fight. (Getty)

And yes, since it’s a fight, well, sure, anything can happen, even if one guy (Mayweather) is an all-time great boxer and the other guy (McGregor) is a mixed martial artist trying to become a boxer. It’s true it would take only one great punch from McGregor and it’s true that McGregor is unorthodox and it’s true he’ll almost certainly charge in aggressively and try to shock the world rather than sit back and box, a path doomed for failure.

Yet no matter the verbiage, no matter the heartfelt compliments, no matter the hype videos and behind-the-scenes training documentaries, there is no factual basis to believe this is anything more than a circus act … one heck of a colorful and entertaining circus act, but still.

A lot of us enjoy the circus. A lot of us enjoy the sideshow. A lot of us enjoy the wicked put-downs and colorful jabs and even a news conference that will probably descend into water bottle throwing or a near brawl or someone getting a mink coat torn to shreds in a scuffle. This is going to be a happening, a party in Vegas like few others.

So that’s fine. Buy the fight. Buy a ticket. Get into it. Why not? What else did you have to do in the dead of August anyway?

Just remember, Floyd Mayweather is 49-0 in a professional boxing ring. Conor McGregor is 0-0.

This is mostly absurd.

Mayweather owns the record for biggest pay-per-view fight ever for his 2015 bout with Manny Pacquiao. That was also the night millions of fans were bored into anger, many swearing off boxing altogether. The fight stunk, mainly because Pacquaio was old, a bit injured and completely incapable of hitting Mayweather, who just boxed his way to an easy decision.

Of course, no one has proven capable of hitting Mayweather. You want a great boxing match to watch this year? It comes in September when Canelo Alvarez takes on Gennady Golovkin in Vegas. Golovkin has never lost in 37 fights. Alvarez has lost once in 51 fights – except that was to Mayweather, who was so elusive he manhandled the bigger, stronger man.

If Floyd can slip Canelo that easily – not to mention Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Marcos Maidana, Shane Mosley and so on and so on … then why will McGregor be able to hit him?

Mayweather is 40, so maybe he’s old and slowing? That’s possible, but he is also one of the hardest-working athletes and will undoubtedly show up in his typical prime shape after a focused camp.

Somehow McGregor, who isn’t a professional boxer, has to find a way to do what the finest professional boxers in the world haven’t done for over two decades: Hit Mayweather hard.

“This has the unknown factor,” Ellerbe said.

Well, perhaps. But a lot of people certainly think they already know. Mayweather is already minus-1100 in the sports books and that might be the best odds you’ll get.

The build-up to the fight promises to be entertaining, wild and unpredictable. There will be no shortage of hype, of gimmicks, of impossible-to-ignore headlines. Mayweather has always been known to say anything necessary to sell a fight. McGregor studied his act and perfected it in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Each is the biggest draw in their sport.

It will be a massive success.

Just don’t expect a great, competitive fight. Maybe it happens, maybe these guys just laugh all the way to the bank again.

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