The news conferences between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor have been a little bit corny but have also provided some humorous moments. Conor McGregor was at his witty best, poking fun at the undefeated Mayweather and goading him at every opportunity. Mayweather, usually the dominant figure during these events, had his moments too but was a little more subdued than normal. I read the fan comments on YouTube and to no surprise I saw UFC fans lapping up their heroes performance. Equally I saw boxing fans supporting Floyd Mayweather, feeling that in doing so they are also defending the sport of boxing. It’s a recurring theme throughout the buildup to this fight, it’s not just Mayweather vs McGregor – in many people’s eyes it is also boxing vs UFC.
During his best years, Mayweather was the most relevant name in boxing. He revelled in the limelight and excelled in the ring, under the bright lights. He earned numerous titles and dazzled the crowds with exciting performances against some of the most revered names in boxing. Having retired almost two years ago and now being 40 years of age, he is far removed from his peak. His last relevant fight was over two years ago in the farce against Manny Pacquiao. A fight so bad that despite generating millions for the fighters, did damage to boxing’s reputation.
Mayweather has lost his appetite to challenge himself against a fellow boxer dedicated to perfecting the sweet science. Instead he aims to surpass the iconic 49-0 boxing record amassed by Rocky Marciano against a UFC fighter, in a fight that could make Mayweather-Pacquiao look like The Thrilla In Manila. Mayweather has little respect for the rich history of the sport or the future growth of boxing. He’s concerned with serving himself in the present. For the defenders of Mayweather who view him as boxing’s representative, just consider that he has minimal regard for the fans, who he expects to cough up $99 to watch this pay per view exhibition. Staging the event at the T-Mobile Arena will attract some of show-businesses finest, but completely excludes an opportunity for ordinary working class people to experience it first hand.
I urge true boxing fans to revert their attention to some of the significant fights have already occurred and some that are still to come, in what has already been a fantastic year for boxing. We’ve been treated to significant and exciting match-ups in Frampton-Santa Cruz 2, Joshua-Klitschko, Jacobs-Golovkin, Degale-Jack, Kovalev-Ward 2, Brook-Spence and Thurman-Garcia. Later this year we have the incredible Superfly card, Canelo-Golovkin, Crawford-Indongo and the World Boxing Super Series. These are examples of proud and ambitious competitors representing boxing in the most appropriate and wonderful way, testing themselves whilst in their prime against the very best competition.
Tough competition will not be a motivation for Floyd Mayweather, only piling up his cash so it stacks high enough to rival the height of the Burj Khalifa. I envisage a fight in which Mayweather outclasses a game McGregor, but if by a wicked twist of fate the Irishman pulls off a stunning upset, Mayweather will have brought it onto himself. He flaunts his riches in a distasteful manner on social media, doing his best to disprove the theory that money doesn’t buy happiness. A man addicted to excess, he feels that by inviting McGregor into his sport it is the perfect low risk-high reward mega event he needs to continue his lavish lifestyle. In creating this event Mayweather only considered the financial benefits to himself but not the fans, the sport or even his sporting legacy.
Mayweather deserves status as an all time great based on his unquestionable talent and achievements. His legacy is to be respected but one that he risks being tarnished by a freak show that does little to show himself or boxing at its best. Boxing is currently thriving without Mayweather and is represented by exceptional talents willing to carry the sport positively in the coming years. So if Floyd is humiliated at a news conference or shockingly defeated in the ring, do not view it is a loss that must be collectively shared by boxing. Boxing is going strong and will continue to go from strength to strength, with or without Floyd Mayweather.