Las Vegas witnessed a huge event as the greatest boxer of our generation, Floyd Mayweather, took his career record to an unprecedented 50-0 against UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. While the fight ended in somewhat expected circumstances, the performance of the UFC man was lauded by many as he managed to do what many world class boxers have failed to, which was take ‘Money’ to 10 rounds before the fight was called to a halt.
Now it is all over, what does that mean for the sport? Where is it heading? Well before we discuss that, we have the small matter of the uncrowned potential fight of the year, when pound-for-pound contender Saul Alvarez locks horns with fellow superstar Gennady Golovkin. In theory, this could be the most entertaining spectacle in recent years due to the prowess of the two, with the winner pretty much claiming the mantle as the greatest fighter in the world following Mayweather’s decision to hang up his gloves for the second time.
So, Canelo vs GGG aside, the impact that May-Mac has made in combat sports, in general, is huge. The world seemed to stop to witness two of the ‘greats’ clash, with novices such as my mother to purists a la Oscar De La Hoya all weighing in with their views. Regardless of opinion, some much-needed attention was drawn to boxing, which in recent times has played second fiddle to mixed martial arts. As a result, there is huge potential for some blockbuster contests to become a reality sooner rather than later.
Even during the build-up to Saturday night, a number of high-profile stars, and Paulie Malignaggi, were interested in taking on the MMA star in the future. Malignaggi himself was originally part of McGregor’s training camp only to then switch allegiances, acting as a ‘spy’ for Mayweather. Citing his dislike for the Irishman, the outspoken former world champion threw his name into the hat for a big payday, laying down all the foundations for an ill-tempered contest to occur at some point down the line.
Additionally, the previously mentioned duo of Canelo and Golovkin seem likely to venture down the McGregor route should the ‘Notorious One’ find his way back in the ring. Canelo’s promoter De La Hoya had previously mentioned the Irishman’s name as a future opponent while the likes of Adrien Broner, Amir Khan and yet another of the Team McGregor training camp in Chris van Heerden have also been suggested as potential challengers.
Boxing’s other top stars
Now there are more eyes on the ‘sweet science,’ the bigger names in the sport have an elevated platform to perform upon. Joseph Parker will be in action before the turn of the year, defending his WBO heavyweight title against the highly regarded Hughie Lewis Furey, while October sees a host of champions in action such as George Groves, Erislandy Lara, Leo Santa Cruz and Jermell Charlo just to name a few. While all the above are among their respected division’s elite, none are really what you’d consider household names. Every one of those fighters has the ability to become big names outside of boxing world but have had to endure the lull in the sport while doing what they can in order to raise their own profiles.
The end of the year will finish strongly with the hugely talented trio of Anthony Joshua, Sergey Kovalev and Vasyl Lomachenko all in action during either November or December. Only good news for the sport. Right?
Now, having witnessed the sort of money that can be made from a contest such as May-Mac, many boxers may now seek the higher-paid fights outside of the norm. An influx of MMA stars could make the ring a temporary place of work, hence providing lucrative opportunities for boxers to choose as opposed to well, more technically superior match ups. Fans want to see the unexpected and this fight may have set a trend in combat sport which could well damage the long-term future of the sport. Just as we were beginning to see boxing’s finest face off against one another, the entire dynamic could change thus spelling the end of it all. This is worst case scenario but why rule out such a possibility when money is playing such an important factor?
There is now a huge potential for boxing to grow as long as such spectacles do not become the norm. Things seemed to have worked out just fine, especially in recent years as prospects have begun to fill their potential. It is now crucial they are given the spotlight they deserve to bring this discipline into a brand-new era or we could see some future legends being priced out of the big fights their legacies may deserve. Let’s just hope the attention gained will benefit the fighters and not the promoter, otherwise Mayweather vs McGregor could be the catalyst to all things bad in boxing.
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