This Saturday’s fight between boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and UFC champion Conor McGregor is about more than just a fight between two men. It is a battle of brands — as boxing’s undefeated champ (Mayweather has a 49-0 record) takes on one of UFC’s all stars.
Whoever wins the fight will add fuel to the fiery debate among fans about which sport is the better test of strength — boxing or the MMA, mixed martial arts, on display by the UFC, the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization.
Already dubbed by many as “The Money Fight,” the face-off between these two fighting giants is stirring up major excitement, which is equating itself into the potential for a boatload of cash and the greatest number of eyeballs a boxing match has ever received.
As far as who will walk away victorious — folks are split down the middle. “It’s like when Michael Jordan went to play baseball. You can be the best ever in one sport and pretty mediocre in another. Mayweather is 49-0 for a reason, the best technical fighter ever. It’s the pursuit of fame and fortune, I think, for McGregor,” Allen Moore, a Maine resident, told LifeZette.
Others disagree. “Conor McGregor is not losing this Saturday,” tweeted @Jaimesen_23.
“My money is on McGregor,” tweeted @livekamer.
Social media chatter shows what looks like a 50-50 split in terms of who might win. The fight’s outcome is so unpredictable that even celebrities are beginning to weigh in — with gusto. Rapper P. Diddy and actor Mark Wahlberg put a public bet on the fight through a promotion with Showtime. P. Diddy bet that Mayweather takes the victory, while Wahlberg is in McGregor’s corner. The bet is $200,000.
“Rooting for McGregor, expecting Mayweather,” tweeted actor Dean Cain in response to a fan inquiry.
Idris Elba, star of this summer’s “The Dark Tower,” also weighed in on the fight in an interview with the show “First Take,” saying, “I think McGregor has a really good chance at winning that fight.”
Elba explained he had a background in kickboxing, and he thought McGregor could surprise Mayweather with some moves.
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To prepare for the fight, here’s a look at three facts to know ahead of the broadcast Saturday night.
This match is going to make a ton of money. McGregor, age 29, will reportedly make about $75 million, while Mayweather, age 40, has been said to be receiving a $100 million payday. The fight itself is projected to sell $70 million to $80 million in tickets and $500 million of pay-per-view orders — and those are modest projections compared to some other reports out there.
Add in more projections, such as the expected $20 million in sponsorship deals, $2 million in merchandise sales, and $30 million in sports betting — and this fight is projected to make more than $600 million. The final tally is sure to be much higher.
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This will be McGregor’s first professional boxing match, but he’s no amateur. Mayweather is a boxer in the classic sense of the word. His fighting style is not based solely on brute force, but on endurance and smarts. He knows how to play the game, which would typically give him an advantage over McGregor, who has spent his time mastering the MMA style of fighting.
While this is not McGregor’s first time boxing, it’s his first professional boxing match. He began his fighting career as a boxer at the Crumlin Boxing Club in Dublin, Ireland, and was training as early as age 12.
McGregor’s father, Tony, told Severe MMA that his son was quite the accomplished boxer before moving into MMA. “I saw him box loads of times, but I think it was a natural progression for him to move onto mixed martial arts in the end, even though he had been an All Ireland boxing champion as a kid.”
McGregor’s background further complicates the Saturday night fight. While McGregor’s understanding of boxing will come only by stepping in the ring, Mayweather loses the advantage as McGregor becomes used to the rules and nature of the beast. He’s still got years of experience on him as well as his mastery of the sport — but McGregor is no doubt walking into that ring with more confidence than would be typical of many MMA fighters.
There’s been a lot of trash talk. McGregor and Mayweather could not stop exchanging insults via the press and social media — hence, this fight. McGregor has been the main instigator, as he’s known for having a sharp tongue that can easily affect an opponent.
All the way back in 2005, McGregor did an interview with Esquire and began the battle of words with Mayweather, saying, “I don’t look at a man who’s expert in one area as a specialist, I look at him as a rookie in 10 other areas. If you can box, what happens if I grab hold of your legs? If you put me face-to-face with Floyd Mayweather — pound-for-pound boxing’s best — if I fought Floyd, I would kill him in less than 30 seconds. It would take me less than 30 seconds to wrap around him like a boa constrictor and strangle him.”
From there, it was off to the races. Mayweather threw his fortune in McGregor’s face, and McGregor continued to taunt Mayweather.
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McGregor was even pictured with a mural painted in his gym — showing him knocking out Mayweather. His coach reportedly put it there — to mentally aid the UFC fighter.
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(photo credit, homepage image: andriux_uk_events/Harry Potts, Flickr; photo credit, article image: andriux_uk_events/chamberoffear, Flickr)