SAN DIEGO, August 23, 2017 – The time for talk is nearly over. Thank goodness.
Two of the biggest personalities in combat sports, boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather and UFC champion Conor “The Notorious” McGregor wrapped up their final stop on the hype train for their 12-round boxing match set for Saturday in Las Vegas. All that remains now is the ticketed weigh-in on Friday, and the bout itself.
In our role as boxing journalists, we strive to inform the public about significant events, review fights, report on developments in boxing, and introduce the personalities behind the sport. What we also must do is call out hypocrisy and let you know when you’re being bamboozled.
Consider this column my “caveat emptor” warning to fans who plan on spending $100 or more on pay-per-view fees, cover charges, or even more taking in this card. I have no criticism for anyone choosing to spend their hard-earned money, as long as you are fully informed about what you’re likely to get for your money.
You’re likely to get the feeling you’ve been ripped off.
The publiity tour was the real show worth watching and it hasn’t cost you a cent. Neither Mayweather or McGregor lack for confidence, and no cat has ever gotten either man’s tongue. These brash athletes delivered on the epic verbal sparring and smackdowns we expected. In a contest over which man is better at self-promotion, it would be a draw on every judge’s card.
You should in no way expect the fight to follow suit. Floyd Mayweather is a boxing genius in the ring, the best of his generation. Yes, perhaps The Best Ever. He possesses technical skills few other people who have devoted their careers to boxing have been able to duplicate. Only a handful of Mayweather’s 49 professional opponents in the ring came close to challenging him: Jose Luis Castillo and Marcos Maidana make the short list.
The adversaries have done their best to talk this fight up and make it seem competitive. It’s in their financial self-interests to do so. At Wednesday’s news conference, Mayweather said, “McGregor is a tough competitor. He’s undefeated standing up. He’s never lost when striking. I know that I’m in for a tough fight,” then claimed the bout would not go the distance.
McGregor said he’s going to come right out of the gate at Floyd. “If you look at the way I fight, I am a fast starter. I come out and bang people right away. With eight-ounce gloves, I don’t see him lasting more than one or two rounds … When it comes to Saturday night, he will not be prepared for me.”
Mayweather made the case based on his record. “After 21 years I’ve been hit with everything and I’m still right here. One thing that you must know about the sport of boxing and about combat sports – remember, if you give it, you must be able to take it.”
On this, Mayweather is absolutely right. Why does anyone think a martial arts star with three losses by submission (the UFC equivalent of “no mas”) on his record in his own sport who’s never boxed a single professional round is going to achieve what no one else has accomplished?
Mayweather and McGregor will dance around the ring deep into the 12 rounds. McGregor may give it a good try. If he is aggressive and rushes Mayweather, there is always the chance for a lucky shot. But he’d have to do something no one else has ever done. Mayweather will evade, avoid, use his speed and timing to make McGregor look slow and unskilled.
A likely alternative scenario could find McGregor gassing out halfway through the fight. Boxing demands conditioning unlike any other sport from both a cardiovascular and a strength standpoint. McGregor’s longest UFC fight lasted three rounds of five minutes each, with a minute break, for a total of 17 minutes. A 12-round boxing match lasts 47 minutes. If you’ve ever seen well-conditioned amateurs like firefighters or military personnel fight in a charity tournament, they often gas out after two rounds.
McGregor claims he likes the change from five to three minute rounds – but to 12 of them versus three in the UFC?
Another possibility is seeing McGregor mentally checking out when he realizes he can’t touch Floyd, and decides it doesn’t really matter because his check will clear either way. Knowledgeable observers agree there is potential for Mayweather and McGregor to smash financial and pay-per-view records.
Cue the fan fallout! How quickly we’ll hear the grousing and griping about being taken for a ride start-up, just as it did after the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight. Disappointed fans will blame boxing, blame the UFC, blame the promoters, blame the media, and blame everyone but the one person responsible: themselves.
There are some terrific fights planned for the undercard featuring champions Gervonta Davis and Badou Jack from the Mayweather Promotions stable. Davis and Jack can put on terrific shows in the ring, but it’s not fair to expect them to carry a $100 pay per view.
At this point, nothing written here is likely to waive fans off paying for the fight out of curiosity. There’s nothing wrong with watching as long as you adjust your expectations.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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