Sunday 27th August our time, Floyd “Money” Mayweather fights “The Notorious” Conor McGregor in boxing’s highest profile match since Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao, and, in financial terms, one of its biggest bouts ever.
The venue is the T-Mobile Arena on the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, and while there’ll be some nice pocket change made on the 20,000 or so tickets sold there, the serious Godzilla-size real money will undoubtedly be generated via worldwide pay per view TV.
Floyd Mayweather has never done anything but win in 49 professional fights as an elite boxer. The Ultimate Fighting Championships’ McGregor, the major star of the sport of mixed martial arts, has never fought professionally in a boxing match before.
Yep, what you just read there is correct – the biggest boxing match available on the planet involves one athlete who has never previously participated in a boxing event.
Instead, the extremely if not ludicrously lucrative appeal of the match-up hangs on a largely nominal and fictional premise or two – that the contest will either determine the best fighter of whatever discipline in the world, and/or determine supremacy between two “codes”, boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA).
The reality is that the match is under standard boxing rules, not the unified rules of MMA under which the UFC operates.
If Mayweather-McGregor was under MMA rules – which was never going to happen – McGregor would very likely win.
In MMA, Floyd would have a “puncher’s chance” with McGregor. Under boxing rules, it’s McGregor who has the proverbial puncher’s chance, which likely translates to slim to none.
The real attraction here IS the attraction – the fascination and money surrounding the bout, one kicking back into the other, in a never-ending, amoral but entertainment-friendly loop.
You can read almost anything about the financial side of this event and learn nothing. One story says the sponsorship was decided late and will ‘only’ generate $20 million. Another says Mayweather will make that much on advertising on his trunks alone. Even his shorts fire money. What a wonderful world.
Much coverage harps on guarantees that supposedly come in at around $100 million (Mayweather) and $50 million (McGregor). If the pay per view comes in at projected, Mayweather-Pacquiao type levels, that won’t look like cabfare exactly, but it will likely be a fraction of what they actually pocket.
McGregor says they’ll be making money on each hot dog and beer sold. You’d think the pay per view cut matters more, but it would be funny to see the itemised hot dog bill.
Hilariously, and/or ironically, three weeks after this match, arguably the best actual boxing match available on the books will take place when unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 by KO) takes on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (47-1-1, his only loss being to Mayweather in 2013.)
It won’t draw tumbleweeds and cicadas exactly, but, inevitably, it’s going to have a little bit of a subdued library ambience by comparison to next week’s all-exploding circus spectacular.