In a world of cheap publicity stunts, this “super” fight between combat sports’ two biggest stars just may be the cheapest publicity stunt of all-time. It’s easy to understand why Mayweather, McGregor, and their respective management teams support this fight, but if anyone without a monetary interest in the promotion thinks this would be anything other than a cynical cash grab, they need to immediately start testing their drinking water for lead.
In a boxing match with Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather would humiliate, brutalize, and utterly dominate the UFC star. If anyone thinks otherwise…then, again, they should test their drinking water. It would be the richest one-sided slaughter in the history of sports—and that’s assuming that the Nevada commission would even allow the world’s best boxer to take on a zero-fight boxing novice in such a clear farce (but, of course, there would be many other states—some with commissions, some without-- willing to chew on some negative publicity for a chance to wrap their hands around a bout that could very well generate between $100 and $200 million in revenue).
Take into deep consideration, though, that all of these fight rumors may just be part of a publicity stunt cooked up to bring some cheap heat to one or both fighters. Recent stories have emerged claiming that this, indeed, is little more than a well-planned headline grab to keep both athletes in the minds of a headline-hungry fanbase.
But, despite the fact that Mayweather-McGregor may be a total lie and nothing more than a hustle perpetuated on naive consumers if it did take place, it actually makes some sense and might do some good for the sport of boxing.
Purists will scream bloody murder and hardcore fans will carpet bomb social media with outrage, but the purists and the hardcore fans aren’t exactly at the forefront when it comes to generating new fans for the sport. Boxing needs some out-of-the-box thinking to bring in the masses and create true crossover buzz to a mainstream sports world that is totally not giving a damn about boxing anymore.
Regardless of what one thinks of the actual fight, there should be no denying that Mayweather-McGregor would sell. There’s no way it wouldn’t sell. Put a mic in front of McGregor, put a mic in front of Mayweather, let them mix it up as only they could…then, mix in some of the combat sports boxing vs. MMA acrimony with a dash of hate, blind love from the fanboys, and, unfortunately, more than a smidgen of race-based nastiness. The mainstream sports media would be all over this. Casual fans and the combat-curious would eat it up like free Dippin Dots samples at a Florida State Fair. Anything less than 1.5 million buys would be shocking.
For Mayweather, the fight is a no-brainer. Big money for an easy night’s work and a huge public platform. Plus, let’s face it, there aren’t many competitive, big-ticket challengers out there to warrant a Mayweather comeback. Would ripping McGregor to shreds be any less entertaining than watching Floyd carry Danny Garcia through twelve uneventful rounds?
For McGregor, the payday would be obscene for a loss easily written off as a “brave” stab at an insurmountable obstacle. It would be easy to spin a crushing defeat into a case of an ambitious warrior biting off more than he could chew. The UFC would have to sign off on McGregor fighting Mayweather and Dana White certainly doesn’t seem all that willing to allow his guys to hurt the brand by appearing to be anything less than extreme alpha males. However, the brash and defiant McGregor hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the UFC top brass in recent months and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to imagine them grabbing at a piece of the purse for a chance at humbling the Irishman before pushing him back into the octagon.
While putting ridiculous sums of money in the fighters’ pockets, the spectacle would also bring in tons of new fans, previously uninitiated in the ways of boxing and/or generally disinterested in the sport. Load in some good, quality undercard fights and Mayweather’s total evisceration of McGregor may convince some of the younger fans that boxing at its best is every bit as “bad ass” as MMA. At the very least, boxing will get some much needed headline space in a “legit” sporting world that may not even be clued in enough to know how much of a sham bout this would be. And, face it, on some level most everyone seems to enjoy a good, sound thrashing.
Given the sport’s crippling premium cable business model and the widespread myopia among its promoters, boxing may never again get such a tremendous opportunity to reach the masses.
If a one-sided slaughter featuring a “retired” all-time great beating the corned beef & cabbage out of a wild-swinging newbie is the price we have to pay for bringing in some new fans and grabbing some lead story Sportscenter love, then sign this fight now.