Mayweather vs McGregor: Lower your expectations and it'll be great

Mayweather vs McGregor: Lower your expectations and it'll be great
Source: Wires
Date: 25-08-2017 Time: 10:08:22:am
Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor

As long as you are aware that this weekend's fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is a cynical, uncompetitive cash grab, it should actually be quite fun.

Mayweather, the best boxer on Earth, is going to absolutely belt McGregor, the biggest star in mixed martial arts. It's not worth discussing any other possibility.

The reason for this is so bleedingly obvious it hardly bears pointing out (but I'm going to do it anyway, sorry).

They are having a boxing match, so the boxer will win.

So why is it happening at all?

In the world of professional combat sports, the noble spirit of athletic competition tends to matter a lot less than cold hard cash.

It's hard to say exactly how much money McGregor will make from the fight — it will depend on the terms of the deal he has made with Mayweather and how many people buy the pay-per-view — but the total could be more than $75 million.

In the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where McGregor usually plies his trade, even the biggest paydays are only a fraction of that size.

That is because the UFC is like other professional sports leagues and the fighters are essentially employees, while in boxing there is no governing body to speak of and fighters work for themselves.

That means most boxers earn virtually nothing, but for those at the top of the pile it is rather a good arrangement — and it's hard to blame McGregor for wanting a piece of the action.

Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor

For that kind of money I would fight Mayweather too. Hell, I would let him bring a baseball bat into the ring.

What's actually going to happen in the fight though?

It has been reported that the contract for the fight includes massive financial penalties for McGregor if he tries anything rougher than punching Mayweather in the face.

The problem is he'll struggle even to do that. Mayweather is one of the best defensive fighters of all time: elite boxers have trouble connecting on him, so a part-timer like McGregor hasn't much of a hope.

The good news for the Irishman is that Mayweather is not a bulldozing knockout artist. He likes to gauge his opponents and then pick them apart.

So we might see a couple of early rounds where it seems like McGregor is doing OK. Mayweather will be so unthreatened that he might even let him have some success.

The bad news for McGregor is that Mayweather has a cruel streak a mile wide, and from round three onwards the fight is going to look like a child pulling the wings off a fly.

McGregor is a tough guy, but I hope his cornermen aren't too brave.

If Mayweather doesn't send him to the canvas, they'll need to step in and save their boy so he can enjoy spending his money.

Doesn't this make a mockery of the sport?

The suggestion that this fight is somehow an insult to the dignity of boxing is pretty hilarious.

We are talking about an unsavoury sport where corruption is endemic, basic governance issues are ignored, athletes are not looked after and fans are put last.

Again and again, overpriced, over-hyped events underdeliver. Think back to Danny Green and Anthony Mundine's rematch, Jeff Fenech's dismal third fight with Azumah Nelson and even Mayweather's fight with Manny Pacquiao.

Those events were utterly disappointing. Yet people keep spending their hard-earned cash to see people punch each other.

That speaks to some fundamental appeal. It is not for everyone, but the sheer drama of a big boxing match is difficult to beat.

The rituals, the trash talk and the posing are great to watch, even when the fight itself sucks, and even when the fighters are as fundamentally unlikeable as Mayweather, a convicted domestic abuser, and McGregor, an uberlad poseur.

Would I rather see a good, competitive match-up involving athletes I like? Of course.

But I'm still going to watch on Sunday, even though I know the fight is going to be abysmal. And I'm probably going to enjoy it.

So if you're as sick as me, here's the plan: sit back, lower your expectations and enjoy the circus.

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