Tonight, UFC star Conor McGregor will compete in his first ever professional boxing match as he faces the undefeated Floyd Mayweather.
They come head-to-head in a showdown which looks set to become one of the three most cash-rewarding hauls in boxing’s history. Despite this, it doesn’t take an expert’s insight to tell us how the bout will end.
Mayweather is a former five-division champion and is seen to be one of the best boxers of his generation. The only analysis worthy of any substance is an explanation as to why the hell there is an audience willing to watch this mockery.
The saga surrounding the fight alone signifies everything that is wrong with the sport. Boxing has always provided some of the most eccentric personalities; Mayweather is no exception, but it’s when the athlete’s character becomes the selling point, not their ability, we start to face problems. The pair are well aware that the only way to sell the fight is not on merit nor on the uncertainty of the result, but upon their fabricated hate.
With every curse filled press conference, promotion and tour, I am left wondering whether I am watching the world’s worst TV soap or a standoff between two of WWE’s most renowned wrestlers reading off a predetermined script.
Take the four-day tour in London last month, we looked on as they exchanged insults regarding each other’s race, dress sense and sparring partners. We were even lucky enough to see McGregor showcase a pinstripe suit with the words “F*CK YOU” emblazoned on the back.
They have somehow, with the help of social media, masterminded their way to an exhibition which quite frankly should not be happening. Time and time again, us groundlings insist upon indulging ourselves in the cheap, meaningless confrontations that boxers put before us.
While I am against the ideology behind the fight, there is obviously a demand for it to happen. The fact that it is being sold to us on the trash talk and the presupposed hate between the two fighters tells us that there isn’t a contest to watch, let alone sell.
All the proceedings from the bout should have been given to charity, saving us from the frantic money grabbing circus laid before us.
With regards to Mayweather, he has been named the highest paid athlete in the world four times by the American business magazine Forbes. The same publication revealed that McGregor has been involved in three of UFC’s best-selling pay-per-views of all time.
Along with the magnitude of the money produced, the clash has bought more implications. Since the declaration of this so-called “fight,” others have been quick to jump onto the Mayweather-McGregor coat tails. UFC middleweight Michael Bisping has recently announced that he is more than willing to take on boxer Tony Bellew.
Surely not. Surely boxing hasn’t stooped to the level where it must generate interest by continuing to mix the sports. Where does the trend stop? Should we expect to see the All Blacks performing the Haka in front of the NFL’s New England Patriots in an American football match next year?
When will the day come when we are no longer susceptible to the controversy and the unprecedented hype? When are we going to look past the personalities and the outrageous behaviour to realise the fact that millions of viewers are going to tune in to watch a retired 40-year-old boxer spar an amateur in front of 20,000 people.
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