A curious turn of events took place at the first stop of the Mayweather-McGregor International Press Tour Tuesday. Showtime, it seems, decided the muzzle the voice of the historic boxing match. They no doubt had their reasons, but ultimately, it proves they don’t understand why this fight has the potential to draw tremendous numbers.
Lets be honest about this: Conor McGregor is the salesman of MayMac. That’s not to say he’s the better boxer. That’s not to say Floyd Mayweather Jr. hasn’t done more, earned far more, in his boxing career than McGregor. It’s simply this: every fight tells a story, and without McGregor’s promotional prowess, there’s no story here to sell. Without the Irishman’s patented antics, this fight is about as interesting as an amateur bout at your local gym.
With that in mind, cutting off McGregor’s mic at Tuesday’s event was downright short-sighted.
Without question, McGregor was raising a ruckus, causing the guy in charge of bleeping out profanity to have a sore finger awfully quick. Yet that’s what they’re paying him to do. The UFC star standing mute while “Money” yells out “Hard work – dedication!” isn’t exactly the best return on their investment.
McGregor knows it. Obviously, the brash talking UFC lightweight champion had some choice words about Showtime’s decision to cut him off. ““Yeah, they took the mic off” he said at the press conference afterwards. “Look, f*** them. F*** Showtime. F*** them all. They can do nothing after August 26. They can try and do all these tricks all they want. August 26, this man will be unconscious. He’s too small, he’s too frail. That’s it. What more can I say?”
Well, he could have said a lot more. And Showtime should have wanted exactly that. Thus far, the build-up to Mayweather-McGregor has been underwhelming, at least on Showtime’s part. The first promo? A rehash of old McGregor interviews the world has already seen. This press tour is where future material will come from, and if we can be honest again, this is a fight all about the journey, not the destination. It’s a circus sideshow attraction that must be allowed to play out free of any restraint. Otherwise, the novelty quickly wears off. And that’s not good for any involved.
The solution? Take the leash off!
McGregor, a smart promoter, knows that. Floyd Mayweather Jr? Well lets be honest, it’s Mayweather Promotions running the show alongside Showtime, and they have a long standing working relationship. Showtime is obviously trying to stay loyal here, but it’s the wrong approach. Protecting Mayweather from McGregor’s verbal sparring doesn’t help the fight at all.
Instead, feed Mayweather to the McGregor hype machine. It’s the only way for any of this to have a satisfying outcome, especially given the match itself is likely to be a one-sided dance marathon by Mayweather.
People are going to watch this fight either way. A lot of people. How satisfied they’ll be when all is said and done, however, in part depends on the build up to the bout. Lets hope Showtime loosens the leach a little come Wednesday night in Toronto.