Mayweather-McGregor Round Table: Is it the Biggest Fight Ever, and Does It Even Matter?

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Mayweather-McGregor Conor McGregor Floyd Mayweather jr.
Credit: Mike Sloan/Sherdog.com

Mayweather-McGregor is finally upon us. In all honesty, the boxing megafight actually rushed up on us. Thanks to a relatively quick turnaround from announcement to event, thankfully, the big day has arrived briskly. Which is a very good thing, because the drama infused throughout the build-up was reaching sickening levels. Now that we can ignore the controversy with Paulie, Floyd Mayweather’s personal history, Conor McGregor’s antics, and all the rest, we decided to poll our writers for their thoughts on the biggest fight boxing has to offer.

Will you be watching Saturday? If you’re a combat sports fan, there’s a good chance you will be. Will Mayweather-McGregor be everything fans want? Well, that’s a little more questionable, but lets get right to it and see how our staff is feeling about the day MMA meets boxing in the ring.

5. What if anything about Mayweather-McGregor intrigues you?

Heath Harshman: There are a ton of intriguing things about this fight. The non-stop media coverage, insane amounts of money involved, and overall magnitude of the bout will have lasting impacts on various aspects of MMA, boxing, and countless other ways yet to be determined. But the most intriguing thing about this bout is what McGregor does next, and how he does it. Whether it’s boxing, MMA, or anything else he puts his mind to, what the $100 million man does following his matchup with Mayweather is what I’ll be paying attention to, regardless of the outcome.

Jay Anderson: The what-if factor. What if McGregor connects? What if McGregor wins this fight? That’s really the only intrigue for me, personally. Even at age forty and on the shelf for two years, I expect Mayweather to dance circles around Conor. So really the only intrigue is the slim possibility that McGregor pulls off the upset.

Harry Davies: Can McGregor land on Floyd, and if he does will it be clean? There are too many ifs and buts, so it’s almost like there’s an overwhelming sense of relief that they will all be answered come Saturday.

Dan Doherty: Even if the result is a foregone conclusion, I am very interested to see what McGregor’s gameplan is. SBG has a good track record of knowing the best approach for their fighters, the adjustments between McGregor vs. Diaz bouts being a prime example. With all the weapons that make him such a tricky striker in MMA unavailable, I’m really curious to see what Conor has planned.

Mike McClory: You have two of the top guys from their respective sports meeting in a superfight. Add in the factor of Mayweather coming out of retirement after an
extended period off and stepping back in the ring at the age of 40, against McGregor who is in his prime at the age of 29, and who is arguably one of if not the best strikers in MMA. Now the question is, can an Elite MMA striker be successful or hold their own in a pure boxing contest against an Elite boxer? Well, we’re about to find out.

Gabriel Gonzalez: The fact that both men have been the dominant personality in every fight since they became stars. They both have always been the one to have that ability to mentally affect an opponent and pitting them together is just fascinating to watch.

Paarth Pande: Nothing. I’ve tried hard, even wrote a piece on it’s importance to the MMA world but for some reason I can’t get excited about the match. The build up is looking fake. Maybe it’s just me who thinks this way.

4. Is Mayweather-McGregor relevant? Does this fight matter, to either MMA or boxing (or combat sports as a whole)?

Heath Harshman: Of course this fight matters. It wouldn’t be happening if it didn’t. The greatest boxer of our generation is boxing one of the best MMA fighters of our generation. What’s not relevant about that? Yeah, it isn’t for a belt. And yeah, it’s a bit of a scam. Either Mayweather suffers his first loss, or McGregor finds out he can’t achieve what he dreams. For boxing, for MMA, and for sports in general: this fight matters.

Jay Anderson: Not only is Mayweather-McGregor not relevant from a sporting perspective, it probably shouldn’t have been given the okay as a professional bout in the first place. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a less relevant bout in recent boxing history, at least at this level. Lets face it: this should have been an exhibition fight at best. Conor McGregor is a mixed martial artist, a very good, frankly (despite his critics) great one. He’s a larger-than-life figure, but he is not a boxer. Boxing is a different sport entirely at this point. Just as James Toney was embarrassed coming over to the UFC, I expect McGregor to be embarrassed in the ring Saturday. Maybe not to the extent Toney was, but I doubt it will be pretty.

Here’s the real rub though: Floyd Mayweather is being given the easiest fight possible to break one of the most well-known (if overvalued) records in boxing if not all of combat sports. Passing Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 mark and claiming 50-0 based on the result of a gimmick bout should simply not be permissible, and frankly, it’s shameful that more people haven’t called out Mayweather on it.

Harry Davies: It matters to MMA a whole lot more than it does to boxing. Although McGregor has said he’s representing himself and not the sport of MMA, a shock win for the Irishman definitely shoots MMA up loads in terms of Georges St-Pierre’s fantasized “stock market!”

Dan Doherty: While the fight at its core doesn’t really mean anything, it really matters for the MMA world. A good showing from McGregor could bring in a new wave of fans to the UFC. An MMA fighter has never had a stage like this while boxing has had its larger-than-life stars. If McGregor gets tooled, that would not be a good reflection of MMA in the public eye even if it would be understandable if Mayweather made Conor look foolish.

Mike McClory: I don’t think that there is anyway this wouldn’t be relevant. From the perspective of boxing the number of new eyes and potential fans brought into the fold will be huge, when you add the fact that a UFC/Zuffa/McGregor boxing promotion in one form or another could be spawned off of this event, the potential impact could be game changing.

The impact for MMA I would expect to be smaller. However given McGregor’s impact on the sport already, primarily in self promotion and pushing the boundaries on fighter
pay, I expect other fighters to take notice and push in these directions as well. For example, how long did it take for other fighters to start talking about stepping into the ring for a boxing match of their own?

Gabriel Gonzalez: Of course, it only continues to raise the bar for what constitutes as a super fight. But the only way it’s relevant in terms of legacy of either man is in the event of a McGregor victory.

Paarth Pande: Yes. Most people aren’t realizing that this fight will have a big impact on BOTH sports. MMA is a niche sport, with a passionate but at the very same time a very small audience. This is the first time the entire world will come together to watch an MMA fighter. If McGregor manages to deliver a quality performance then he can bring an unimaginable amount of attention to MMA. However, if McGregor is outclassed it can poison the growth of the sport.

The fight is a high risk no reward move for Boxing. If Mayweather losses it can lead to a loss of a large number of fans.

3. Will Mayweather-McGregor be the biggest fight of all time (note, not greatest, but biggest, in terms of PPV, box office, overall revenue)?

Heath Harshman: Yup. This fight will break all of the records. Not because of the boxing talent of the duo in the ring, but because of how much we care. Everyone has an opinion on this fight, however right or wrong they may be, and are willing to pay to find out.

Jay Anderson: No. When all is said and done, I think MayMac will fall just short of MayPac. It’ll still be big, but once bitten, twice shy. Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao was billed as the “Fight of the Century” and was anything but. Pretty much regarded as a colossal letdown, it’s doubtful 4.6 million combat sports fans are willing to give “Money” more of just that. Oh, many of them will, and Mayweather-McGregor will be huge. A lot of that will be the curiosity factor and McGregor fans, however. After all, Mayweather vs. Berto only drew 400,000 or so buys on PPV, and that was the boxer’s supposed retirement fight. McGregor has never broken the two million mark. It wouldn’t be surprising to see MayMac wind up somewhere in the three million buy range, or low fours, but topping 4.6 million will be a challenge even with the casual fans in play.

Harry Davies: Yes. Whether it will break the 5-million mark in terms of PPV buys I’m not so sure, but I definitely think it exceeds the 4.6-million that Mayweather vs Pacquiao did.

Dan Doherty: Yes. Everyone and their mother knows about this fight. Hell, my grandpa asked me about it out of the blue one day. The buzz for the bout has not faded somehow and both McGregor and Mayweather are megastars in the general sports world. The numbers will be incredible.

Mike McClory: I think this fight has a good chance of doing so. Love him or hate him McGregor draws eyes and for every fan that will buy pay per view to cheer him on I would suspect at least an equal number will be tuning in, in hope of seeing Mayweather embarrass the Irishman. The same can be said for Mayweather; I’m sure many will tune in for the
chance to see “Money” fall short of hitting the ever elusive 50-0 mark to an MMA fighter who has never had a professional boxing match in his career.

Gabriel Gonzalez: No. By normal standards, it is going to be a smashing success. But, I see it falling significantly short of May/Pac. Too many fans felt cheated last time they dropped $100 to do it again, even if it is with a galvanizing character like Conor.

Paarth Pande: No. Why? I have no idea. Gut feeling.

2. What’s your prediction for the main event?

Heath Harshman: Floyd Mayweather will out-box Conor McGregor over 12-rounds, so I’m going with another boring Mayweather decision victory. Also, I can’t be ridiculed for picking Mayweather, so there.

Jay Anderson: I’d love the chaos of a McGregor win, because sometimes it’s fun to watch the world burn. However, Mayweather will win this — and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him secure his first TKO in years if McGregor tires.

Harry Davies: Floyd Mayweather to win by TKO in Round 9.

Dan Doherty: Easiest pick is Mayweather by decision. I don’t see McGregor getting knocked out, although it could happen if he fades late. The big question is will McGregor win a round?

Mike McClory: Mayweather, likely by decision but I could see him getting the TKO around the 10th round. McGregor winning would make for a interesting story and everyone loves the
underdog, but Mayweather is the master of his craft and McGregor is stepping into his world.

Gabriel Gonzalez: Mayweather by TKO in the eighth. I feel he is going to frustrate Conor and as the fight goes on McGregor’s game will deteriorate. That’s when the opening and accumulation will lead to a finish.

Paarth Pande: I have never followed Boxing, I have seen many fights but have never followed the sport closely. The fight is 12 rounds, if Mayweather drags the fight beyond round 5, McGregor will gas out and will be knocked out

1. However unlikely, if McGregor wins, what’s his next move?

Heath Harshman: If McGregor wins, man. Who knows? Hoping for a return to MMA, which may very well be in his contract, and his best interests. But predicting what Mystic Mac will do next is a fool’s task. Let’s all root for a third bout with Diaz, and be happy with whatever else we get.

Jay Anderson: Believe it or not, I actually do think McGregor will be back to MMA and back in the UFC next, win or lose. He’ll finally defend a title, most likely against the winner of Ferguson vs. Lee. He may box again if things go his way, but it won’t be right away. Maybe not for a few bouts. There’s still the third Diaz fight, which could break the two million buy mark, not to mention another weight class (welterweight) for McGregor to consider — don’t laugh, WME-IMG would be more than happy to let him try his hand against Tyron Woodley.

Harry Davies: Well if he wins, he would now run boxing and MMA, so I’m thinking a hybrid ring/cage challenge that he mentioned the other day. That, or he gets some ownership stake in the UFC. Heck he might even boot Dana White and take it over himself.

Dan Doherty: Man, the world would be in his palm. Will it be Khabib in Russia? Will it be the winner of Kevin Lee – Tony Ferguson? Will he taste the extraordinary payday and stick with boxing to fight Paulie Malignaggi? Will he walk into the sunset and enjoy time with his family? Who knows? But not one of those options would surprise me.

Mike McClory: If McGregor wins his star blows up even bigger than it already is. I would expect more big money fights and more McGregor promotions in his future as well as a ownership stake in the UFC itself in order to keep McGregor happy and in the fold.

Gabriel Gonzalez: A rematch, nothing else could possibly make him more money. If he were to win, he likely would field any offer, boxing or MMA and take the most lucrative option on the table. A victory like that would likely give him the power to buy out his own contract from the UFC so he could do what he wants.

Paarth Pande: Quit fighting for UFC, start own promotion and face Nate Diaz for inaugural lightweight champion of his promotion.

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