a news update by the Crow.
Tomorrow, the 26th of August, 2017, Ireland’s pride Conor McGregor (0-0 boxing, 21-3 MMA) steps into the ring to face arguably the best boxer of all time — Floyd “Money” Mayweather (49-0 boxing) — in what has become the most talked-about combat sports event of the year.
And wouldn’t you know it? I’ve been meaning to speak about this event for a while.
But before I proceed, a quick note to our followers: the delay with sending out contracts and our final rewrite requests is coming to a close. We’ll be in touch with you guys soon.
I’ve enjoyed the media circus surrounding these two men as much as anyone else. It’s been fun watching McGregor run his mouth and Mayweather present himself to the world in all his cringeworthy glory during their media world tour. But now, with the final press conference and official weigh-ins done with, things have finally settled into a more serious tone.
Mayweather is now less about talk, and seems focused on the fight. McGregor, still chatting shit, seems to be running on auto-pilot. Weights have been finalised, and the stage is set. The gods who shall not be named have accepted their sacrifices and the event looks likely to proceed without any last-minute-surprises.
To those not in the know, here’s a little background on how the event was built-up:
People seem to be forgetting one major part of this saga: it was Mayweather who made the first serious move towards a meeting, by offering to send McGregor a boxing coach (the legendary Freddie Roach, no less) in the case that an event might take place.
McGregor had maintained an interest for some time, Mayweather started saying that only a bout with McGregor could bring him back, but one major obstacle lay in the way: Uncle Dana White and the UFC.
Dana White, as we all know, likes money, and it seemed in no way likely that the UFC would allow McGregor to breach contract and go and face Mayweather. Over time, however, agreements were made behind the scenes, and the UFC reached an agreement to go ahead with the fight, in association with Mayweather Productions.
This wasn’t as simple as McGregor calling Mayweather out. This was ultimately quite the opposite. A number of people who like money setting up a big payday.
It’s recently been reported that Mayweather is guaraneteed US$100mn for the fight, and McGregor US$30mn. Who knows how much Mayweather Productions and the UFC will walk away with, in the end?
With the fight in place, the International press tour hit the road. Starting on the 11th of July, and ended in this crow’s back yard on the 14th of the same month, it can only be described as a giant media circus. Aside from the entertaining McGregor/Mayweather moments I mentioned earlier, an aspect of these conferences that I cannot leave unmentioned were Uncle Dana’s introductions for The Notorious One. His head turning redder with each impassioned syllable, his face straining under the pressure of his excitement, we all feared he might either pop or die of a heart attack on stage.
They also led me (unfamiliar with Mayweather outside the ring or in text) to believe Floyd Jr’s vocabulary was largely limited to “Hard work!” and “Yeeeah!”
Finally, just prior to the final press conferenece, a belt was unveiled as a prize for the winner of the event. Crafted exclusively for this event, the so-called “Money Belt” is a green Alligator-leather belt, with a faceplate of 1.5g 24-karat gold, encrusted with 3,360 diamonds, 600 sapphires, and 300 emeralds.
On the day of the final press conference, we saw another side to Mayweather: a quieter, more on-point man completely focused on the fight ahead. McGregor seemed quieter as well; as if on autopilot, like I mentioned.
But while all this is good and fine, it all begs one glaring question: what does this fight mean?
On the whole, it is an official professional boxing match between the best boxing has to offer, and the best in the MMA business (and a damn good fighter, at that). But above all: it is quite truly a money fight.
Will it mean anything if Mayweather wins? No. The man extends his record to a ridiculous 50-0, and walks off hundreds of millions richer.
Will it mean anything if McGregor wins/goes the distance/lasts over five rounds on his feet? Yes. It will be a huge victory not just for the man himself, but for him, the UFC, Dana White & Co., and combat sports in general.
However, one has to keep in mind that there could potentially be more money, and a lot more to market, in a rematch. So that brings one into the notion that this might be a fixed fight. After having followed things so far, do I think it might be the case? I’ll say there’s a slim chance it might be. But if that is the case, Mayweather had better deliver an Oscar-worthy performance of losing, otherwise, it’s all going to go to pot.
I’m going to proceed with the premise, then, that this is going to be a clean fight. I find it the simpler option, despite the money.
How do I think it’s going to go? Let’s break it down:
- Mayweather is Mayweather. Arguably the GOAT in boxing. That’s about all there is to say on this point. “Brittle hands” or not, the man’s boxing IQ is off the charts.
- McGregor is adaptive, surprising. Albeit being restricted by the ruleset, the man has a habit of defying the odds over and over.
- MMA is physically demanding in more ways than one (credit to the Wolfman for the assist with this argument in the pub). One is using all eight weapons in the sport, going for takedowns and employing takedown defence, factors such as the wall-walk or ground-and-pound demand more from a fighter. MMA rounds are also longer than Boxing rounds.
- Age and physicality come into play. McGregor has over ten years of youth on Mayweather. He is the bigger man, and outscores Mayweather in every factor.
- Despite his camp, “ring rust” might just be a factor in Mayweather’s case, although I doubt it.
- Both men are primarily counter-strikers.
So, those are the base factors. Now, as a MMA enthusiast, I’d like to speak a little about McGregor vs Diaz 2.
I scored the fight round-by-round, and I had the fight come down to a difficult choice. It wasn’t until I re-watched the second round that I could safely say McGregor took the fight by that one round.
The blood in Diaz’s eye was a major factor in why McGregor could swing the fight, and yet Diaz still put a beating on him nearing the end of the fight.
Why am I mentioning this fact? I’m mentioning it because near the end, McGregor gassed by quite a degree.
The second Diaz fight was a 5-minute, 5-round fight. Tonight’s fight will be a 3-minute, 12-round fight. McGregor will be facing an extra nine minutes of action, but like I outlined above, the demands are different. In addition to this, McGregor claims his cardio has been worked on and improved.
McGregor’s best chance, as we all know is to explode right in the beginning and catch Mayweather out with a Celtic Cross or another big shot. But these strikes expend energy. Mayweather likes striking to the body, and body-shots drain power and energy from the opposition.
In effect, the longer the fight goes on, the more McGregor slows down, and the more he’ll start playing Mayweather’s game.
I’m not going to tell you who I think is going to win, but I do want McGregor to win, because of the consequences it will make for combat sports in general (and various personal reasons). People might make the argument that Mayweather was past it (an argument I already find insulting), but it will still change the face of combat sports.
No matter which way the fight goes, however, the true winners will be those lining their pockets at the end of the day.
See you at the fight.
— Crow out.