Posted on June 15, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Ali-Frazier, Tyson-Holyfield, Mayweather-Pacquiao—there have been plenty of fights dubbed “Fight of the Century” over the years. Often times, they live up to the hype and give fans the spectacle they were hoping for. Sometimes—like with Mayweather-Pacquiao—they end up being a complete dud.
While the words “Fight of the Century” haven’t been uttered in regards to the upcoming boxing match between MMA superstar Conor McGregor and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather (yet) they are bound to come up. At least as part of the hype machine, if nothing else.
Wait a minute—this is actually happening? After all the trash talk and all the speculation and rumors, it is really going down?
Yes, fight fans, it is true. Money Mayweather is coming out of retirement to fight Conor McGregor in a sanctioned and legitimate boxing match on August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. No kicking, no elbows, no wrestling; none of the stuff that helped make McGregor a household name with UFC fans.
It’s actually in his contract. McGregor is forbidden to kick, throw elbows—he can’t do anything but box.
Crazy, right? Well—that’s Conor McGregor for you. UFC fans know all too well how much McGregor likes to talk and how great he thinks he is. For the most part, he’s backed up his talk, too. Most of the competitors he has faced during his UFC career, he has destroyed.
But he did have some trouble when he faced Nate Diaz. While the power behind his punches was enough to floor most guys at 145 pounds, the 170 pound Diaz was able to absorb the punishment and take the fight to McGregor.
That will not matter with this fight since it will be at 154 pounds, another weight McGregor has been successful at.
Mixed martial arts and boxing are two different styles of course. McGregor isn’t just fighting any old boxer for his first match either. He’s taking on a legend in Floyd Mayweather, an undefeated, five-division champion with 49 wins, zero losses, and 26 knockouts to his name.
Many boxing fans hate Mayweather and consider him boring and adept at dancing around the ring rather than boxing—but his record speaks for itself. Yeah, maybe he dances around a lot—but apparently, no one was able to keep up with him or catch him, so his strategy worked.
Can it against a guy like McGregor, though? It’s hard to say. Mayweather is 40 and hasn’t fought in nearly two years. How much training has he done? Has he stayed in shape? Will age catch up with him? Will the age difference (McGregor turns 29 on July 14) be a factor?
They are all relevant questions whose answers could impact the outcome of the fight. But seriously—an MMA fighter taking on a boxing legend? No one really thinks McGregor has a chance—do they?
McGregor, true to his nature is supremely confident. Dana White has said as much about McGregor and we will undoubtedly hear as much from him in the days and weeks leading up to the fight. Of course, McGregor is going to say that and so would White. But what does Vegas think?
So far, the Westgate has Mayweather as a -1100 favorite (it would take a bet of $1100 to win $100; odds started at -2250) and McGregor the underdog at +700 (a $100 bet would win $700). The odds at Bovada have already narrowed to Mayweather -600 and McGregor +400.
To put the odds into perspective, here are the odds on some of Mayweather’s past fights:
- Andre Berto -3000
- Manny Pacquiao -200
- Marcos Maidana: -900 the first time; -600 the second time
- Canelo Alvarez -300
- Miguel Cotto -700
- Oscar De La Hoya -190
The odds have continued to improve on McGregor. For some reason, people either really think he can beat a seasoned veteran of the ring or they are willing to take the odds in hopes of a big payday.
Which brings us back to the original query—will this be another “Fight of the Century?”
No—but not because McGregor is not capable or because Mayweather is going to knock him out in the first round. It will probably be pretty entertaining. McGregor will land a few nice ones, and maybe we’ll see Mayweather be a little aggressive in an effort to shut the critics and McGregor’s mouth down. But Fight of the Century?
It will not be that because it will be widely viewed as something else—the Spectacle of the Century.
Mayweather and McGregor are masters at manipulating the hype machine and there is nothing the media likes to cover more than articulate fighters talking trash to each other. With the NBA and NHL seasons done, baseball in progress, and football weeks away from anything of relevance, there will not be much for sports writers to cover.
So, they will eat this up and help do exactly what McGregor and Mayweather want—turn their fight into one of the most over-hyped and promoted (and profitable) events in modern history.