It is going to be the biggest prize fight in history when all is said and done, as Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor are finally signed to meet on August 26th in Las Vegas, Nevada. When you take boxing’s greatest salesman and combine him with the most prolific pitchman in MMA history, you are sure to get a box office bonanza like no one has ever seen.
For McGregor and his UFC handlers led by Dana White, the fight is a no-brainer. McGregor has broken all the UFC’s box-office records, and there are opponents for him within the UFC’s roster, but this matchup with Mayweather moves them up several tax brackets. Even if he gets himself knocked out quickly, McGregor is still competing in a new sport, and he gets points for having the balls to cross over into Mayweather’s game. Anything resembling a face-saving performance, and McGregor leaves the fight a bigger star than before.
Mayweather is the criminal mastermind here. After his retirement from boxing, he put out feelers about a return, but he wanted big money, like into the nine figures. He even floated ideas such as a Manny Pacquiao rematch or facing Danny Garcia or Gennady Golovkin, but none of those prospective fight moved the radar or got Mayweather anywhere near the money he wants.
Then along came McGregor, and Mayweather has done everything he can to make the fight happen. Why is Mayweather smiling so much these days? Part of it is that McGregor is willing to enter the boxing ring to face him. Mayweather has to like his chances of winning this boxing match.
But Mayweather is truly smiling because he has pulled the wool over the eyes of the Nevada State Boxing Commission. Or rather, he has fooled them with a sack full of money.
You see, Mayweather versus McGregor is going to happen. It is going to be the biggest money fit of all-time and everyone, including myself, is going to see it. Mayweather can smile all the way to the bank once again, and he can claim to be the biggest attraction ever in combat sports. However, that is where the smiles should end.
The fact is that Anthony Morrell III, the chairman of the Nevada State Boxing Commission, is not doing his job if he feels he can officially sanction a novice against Mayweather in a full 12-round boxing match. Mayweather is smiling because if it does happen, he will also be able to lay claim to a 50-0 record in boxing, to breaking the sacrosanct record of Rocky Marciano, etc.
This is an exhibition, nothing more, and it should be treated as such. But the Commission structure means that they will be in line to get a piece of the money, based on licensing fees and percentages of money generated, so the organization stands to rake in more money than ever. In Nevada, the profit goes into a general fund that can be used by the state, but that is after all the referees and all the judges each pocket “bonuses.”
Even betting on this match is precarious. Mayweather is a huge favorite, but boxing has tons of lines that are even wider than this one. The contract is rumored to have a fine against McGregor should he throw a kick. A kick? The entire presentation is moving away from sport and onto that of spectacle, and the commission should recognize it as such. They can do the fight all they want, just don’t call it boxing.