World Cups capture the imagination of the public like few other events. Even the most casual football observer can be swept up in the excitement of a national team when the tournament only comes around once every four years.
Mayweather Vs. McGregor
On Saturday 26 August, what looks poised to be one of the most crucial fights in the history of combat sports will take place. Floyd Mayweather, one of the greatest defensive boxers of all time, will lock horns with Conor McGregor, currently UFC’s biggest star. It will all be happening at the T-Mobile Arena on Nevada’s Las Vegas Strip and has been tipped to become the highest-grossing fight ever. It’s understandably brought a huge amount of public interest – not least because of the striking contrasts between the combatants. This fight could trigger huge ripples in combat sports...
McGregor: suited and booted for the cameras
Both Mayweather and McGregor had teased the fight for a while, having exchanged barbs long before there were concrete details that the two would indeed enter a boxing ring together. However, in June, both men took to social media to confirm the upcoming clash. Given that boxing, not UFC, rules will apply for that fight, the odds look incredibly one-sided. Mayweather boasts a 49-0 record in boxing; McGregor, by contrast, has never participated in a professional boxing fight.
THE FIGHT IS ON. pic.twitter.com/KhW0u3jRft— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 14, 2017
However, the picture is more complex than what those fundamental statistics might initially suggest. Mayweather’s boxing record is indeed unblemished; in fact, it matches that of former heavyweight titan Rocky Marciano. Avid boxing fans will already be very familiar with how adept Mayweather is in skilfully evading punishment while tweaking his approach to overcome his opponents. A Mayweather victory in this fight – as far as many observers and pundits are concerned, a foregone conclusion – would see him taking his already amazing boxing record past Marciano’s.
However, McGregor might have a word or two to say about Mayweather’s ambitions in that area. In fact, he already has been relentless in his public taunting of his adversary, who had previously retired from professional boxing in 2015. At an early press event during the two fighters’ world tour, the Ireland-born McGregor mocked Mayweather’s recent struggles with the Internal Revenue Service, to which the American owes overdue taxes. “He’s in a track suit,” McGregor told over 11,000 people at the event, adding: “He can’t even afford a suit anymore.”
McGregor insisted: “I am going to knock him out inside four rounds, mark my words. All I need is a gum shield.” He does have reason to be confident about his own record in the UFC, where he is the reigning lightweight champion and has previously been the featherweight champion, too. The 28-year-old even held two belts simultaneously, a first for any UFC fighter, upon knocking out Eddie Alvarez last November to pick up the lightweight championship in New York. Still, for all of his speed, irrationality, and stunning knockouts in an MMA octagon, is he about to over-extend himself?
At a Los Angeles event in a four-city media tour, Mayweather told a crowd of 20,000: “I don’t care if it’s a ring or it’s an octagon, I will kick ass. I don’t back down for nobody. You line them up and I will knock them down.” When it is also taken into account that the fighters will wear 10-ounce boxing gloves instead of smaller UFC gloves, while McGregor will not be permitted to use takedowns or leg kicks that are allowed in mixed martial arts, the odds look even worse for UFC’s shining light – despite his own insistence that the rules and restrictions of boxing don’t faze him.
A rundown of the odds and expert opinions
Neither Mayweather nor McGregor appear to have much to lose from taking part in this fight. For Mayweather, it’s a seemingly easy opportunity to even further cement his place among the all-time boxing legends by clocking up his 50th professional win in the sport. Meanwhile, if McGregor manages to force Mayweather to fight hard for his victory, it could greatly boost his own reputation given the long odds that have been placed on a McGregor triumph.
If you are considering betting on the match at one of the best-rated boxing betting sites, it’s fair to say that you would win big – to put it mildly – if you made a prediction of a McGregor win and that prediction was then borne out. Coral has offered odds of 9/2 for that result and 1/8 for a Mayweather win. As for a draw, Coral’s odds are at 33/1. Mayweather is 8/11 to win by KO, TKO, or DQ and 13/8 to come up trumps by decision or technical decision. McGregor is a much longer 6/1 to taste triumph through KO, TKO, or DQ and an especially lengthy 33/1 to become the victor via decision or technical decision.
British boxing greats of yesteryear have also weighed in with their opinions about how the battle should unfold – and those veterans are especially despairing about McGregor’s chances. Ricky Hatton, who suffered a 10th-round defeat at Mayweather’s hands in 2007, admitted to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme: “I feel embarrassed to say this but I’d be very surprised if (McGregor) wins a round.” He added that “to be brutally honest I can’t see anything other than a shut-out for Mayweather. I think it could be a 12-round onslaught”.
Clean work. pic.twitter.com/fcKoAv55OX— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) July 19, 2017
Hatton also objected to the idea of a UFC fighter crossing the divide between his sport and that of professional boxing, insisting that “they’re their own individual sports and they should stick to their own.” Lennox Lewis expressed similar sentiments to the Daily Star, opining that Mayweather is “just too good at boxing for McGregor and McGregor is too inexperienced at boxing. He can’t use his other styles.” Lennox, who triumphed over Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, and others in a professional boxing career that ended in 2003, added: “I know who is going to win already, so there’s no point in watching it.”
How crucial will this fight actually be?
If all of the odds and pundit views are proven sound and McGregor is indeed comprehensively pummelled in the ring, then why is the fight still attracting so much interest and attention? Of course, the rare match-up between stars from two different types of combat sport is one reason. However, the fight has also been predicted to become almost certainly the most valuable in history. It is thought that it will gross nearly five million pay-per-view buys that would collectively bring a cash windfall totalling $475m. Sponsorship will likely exceed $20m, while it has been said that Mayweather will be paid up to $100m; McGregor will reportedly get about $75m.
These figures help to justify UFC president Dana White’s confident claim that this is “definitely going to be the biggest fight in combat sports history and it’s probably going to be the biggest pay day.” So, it could be expected to rank among the greatest boxing fights ever in terms of viewership and financial takings, though possibly less so with regards to spectacle or cultural significance. Despite the vicious verbal attacks that the fighters have levelled at each other, we probably won’t see anything close to some of boxing’s biggest scandals.
Still, you might fancy visiting one of the best boxing betting sites listed and putting some of your hard-earned money on a shock result come 26th August…