It’s Mayweather fight season, and that means fruitless rumors, false leads and hours spent trying to decipher the meaning of social media posts.
Mayweather wants to box UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, mostly because it promises a payday larger than $100 million and he sees it as easy work.
He did a world tour in the winter, and he was coy and never certain but hoped things would work out. When he saw the astronomical odds in the sports books near his Las Vegas home – he opened at a staggering minus-2,500 at the Westgate – he began to tout McGregor’s boxing skills.
Despite the fact that McGregor has never boxed, Mayweather knows that in order to maximize sales, the public has to believe that McGregor has a chance to win.
And so on May 27, he appeared on SiriusXM’s Eminem channel and raved about McGregor’s stand-up.
“Only time McGregor has been defeated was when he was on the ground,” Mayweather said during the interview. “When he was standing up, he always was victorious. He’s a power puncher. He’s a tough competitor. I’m a tough competitor, and we have to go out there and give the world and the fans what they want to see: Excitement.”
McGregor is a terrific striker in MMA, but MMA and boxing are distinctly different sports. None of that matters to Mayweather, though. He wants to collect his $100 million, notch his 50th win and get on to more important things, like counting the money at his Las Vegas strip club.
And that gets us to the proposed date of the fight: Aug. 26.
Well, no one has said that officially just yet. Sources, of course, have. Just like in the torturous six-year-plus build-up to the 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao, when anonymous sources were telling reporters in every corner of the globe that the big fight was imminent, it’s happening again.
Mayweather Promotions applied to the Nevada Athletic Commission for, and then withdrew, a hold on the date at the MGM Grand for a bout to be televised on Showtime.
And suddenly, the sources were out, telling everyone that’s the date the Mayweather-McGregor fight might be held.
It’s possible, for a variety of reasons, including that it would come three weeks before the boxing match between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin on Sept. 16 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Mayweather rival Oscar De La Hoya is promoting that bout, and it would no doubt take a major hit in pay-per-view sales if Mayweather-McGregor, which could sell 4 million, comes a few weeks before.
Mayweather loathes De La Hoya, and hurting his pay-per-view would be a wonderful way for him to stick it to the Golden Boy.
McGregor added to the speculation Sunday with an Instagram post in which he wrote, “Something BIG is coming #BP”
That’s led to the talk that the fight will be held on Aug. 26, with no one of significance on either side – not Al Haymon or Leonard Ellerbe on Mayweather’s side, nor Dana White on McGregor’s side – saying a word.
Haymon doesn’t speak to the media, period, and White is fast moving in that direction. Ellerbe speaks, but isn’t easily reachable and is über cautious when he is reached.
So, could the fight be on Aug. 26? Sure. We know it won’t be on July 29 because Showtime has the Adrien Broner-Mikey Garcia boxing match that night, and UFC has UFC 214, featuring a light heavyweight title match between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones.
It won’t be Sept. 9, because UFC 216 is that day in Edmonton. T-Mobile has the Alvarez-Golovkin fight on Sept. 16, and it has concerts on Sept. 23 (iHeart Radio Music Festival) and Sept. 30 (Depeche Mode). The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights begin play in October, and that will further reduce the availability of dates at T-Mobile.
So, yeah, Aug. 26 makes sense as a date, for a variety of reasons. But that assumes a deal will be able to be made in the next two weeks or so. Given the glacier-like pace at which the Mayweather-Pacquiao talks proceeded, it’s very optimistic to believe that Haymon and White could wrap up this complex deal that quickly.
If history is any indication, this fight could just as easily be held Aug. 26, 2019, as on Aug. 26, 2017.
Pay attention, but take nothing all that seriously until principals from both sides are saying it on the record. Until then, it’s little more than fake news.
That, or the circus version of the Mayweather-Pacquiao talks.
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