After months of build-up and every different type of rumour and innuendo, it was officially announced Wednesday afternoon that UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor will be boxing Floyd Mayweather this summer at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
The news was first reported by respected boxing reporter Kevin Iole, of Yahoo Sports, and confirmed shortly afterwards when Mayweather tweeted out a video formally announcing the fight.
Later in the afternoon, UFC president Dana White was on ESPN’s SportsCenter, where he said the fight will be contested at 154 pounds and that both fighters will wear 10-ounce gloves.
When rumours of the boxing match between Mayweather and McGregor first surfaced, it was widely reported that the fight would take place at 146 pounds.
While the Irishman once held the UFC’s featherweight belt (145 pounds), it always looked like he struggled to make the weight and he hasn’t fought there since he beat Jose Aldo for the belt in December, 2015.
In the time since, McGregor has fought at 170 pounds twice and at 155 pounds once and he has packed on serious muscle.
Being able to carry the extra weight into the ring can only help McGregor, as his one advantage may be size.
In the UFC, fighters aren’t allowed to wear gloves that weigh more than six ounce, so the weight of the gloves will have a serious impact on this fight.
When Mayweather fought Manny Pacquaio in 2015, both fighters wore eight-ounce gloves, so he’s much more accustomed to the glove-weight we’re looking at here.
With gloves that are 10 ounces instead of six, McGregor’s knockout power will be seriously reduced. There’s not going to be a one-punch KO here, at least not the type of knockout we saw McGregor finish Aldo with.
McGregor will have to throw combinations, and he has certainly showed he’s capable of that in the UFC. He just hasn’t shown he can do it against anyone with nearly the defensive skills that Mayweather has.
Look, there’s no easy way of saying this: anyone with half a brain is going to pick Mayweather to win this fight.
McGregor is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in all of MMA and would absolutely destroy Mayweather in an MMA fight, but that’s not what we’re talking about.
Mayweather is the best boxer of his era and one of the greatest ever. McGregor hasn’t boxed professionally, ever.
It’s a mismatch, and the Vegas oddsmakers agree. According to Iole, oddsmakers at Las Vegas’ Westgate sports book had Mayweather as a minus-1000 favourite, with McGregor a plus-650.
McGregor might have a puncher’s chance against Mayweather, but that doesn’t tend to mean much against arguably the most technical defensive boxer to ever put on gloves.
All that stuff about the odds and this being a mismatch? Yeah, it’s not going to matter at the gate.
The entire reason this fight is being organized is because it is going to make the people involved so, so much money.
We’re talking the type of money that guarantees your grandchildren’s grandchildren never have to work a day in their life.
Initial estimates suggested both fighters could make north of $100 million US on Aug. 26, and given how good both men are at trash-talk, public interest could drive pay-per-view sales to a number that’s even higher.
Mayweather wouldn’t be coming out of retirement for this fight if he didn’t know he was going to make serious money, and expect the payday to be just as big a story as what actually happens inside the ring.
It really can’t be overstated how incredible it is that this fight is even happening.
Even if you think this entire thing is a circus that should never be booked — and there are a whole lot of people who believe that — it’s still wild that it’s happening at all.
Mayweather-Pacquaio took more than half-a-decade to get booked, and yet this entire fight came together in less than a year. It involves Mayweather Promotions and the UFC, two organizations that are known for being tough to negotiate with.
It also somehow involves a UFC fighter with no boxing experience literally boxing one of the best boxers of all time. That makes no sense.
So yeah, it’s a circus, and yes, it’s a money-grab that will probably be hugely disappointing.
But Mayweather-McGregor is still happening, and that’s wild and weird and it’s pretty much guaranteed that anyone who cares about fighting is going to be tuning in on Aug. 26.