There is an event occurring this weekend. You may have heard of it. Apparently, an all-time great boxer will be facing a debuting pugilist. It’s a spectacle of sorts. The skill discrepancy between these two men is beyond measure but they can battle through verbal jabs all day. The event known as Mayweather vs. McGregor is a boxing match that can be seen on pay-per-view for $100 or seen live at the T-Mobile arena for a $1,500 minimum price tag. On its face the idea seems ludicrous. Pay an exorbitant amount of money to watch it at home or to see it live but obviously Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor are not just any fighters. The dichotomous nature of the fight is as interesting as its overlapping nature.
The skill level, the fighting style, the stance, the background of both men couldn’t be further apart but there are a surprising amount of similarities. Both men are conterstrikers. Mayweather is much more skilled in this regard but McGregor is the most creative and effective counterstriker in mixed martial arts right now. They are both hated by large segments of their respective fanbase and loved by smaller subsects of the community, the Irish for McGregor and African-Americans for Mayweather.
And of course money. Both prizefighters have an unequivocal penchant for acquiring the biggest prizes in their respective sports. McGregor became the first mixed martial artist in history to crack Forbes’ top 25 best paid athletes earlier this year and Mayweather is infamous for sitting a top the list year after year. This will be the most lucrative match in combat sports history and will very possibly beat the 4.4 million pay-per-view buys set previously by “Money” when he fought Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
So what’s to dislike? MayMac is a once in a lifetime spectacle that will produce unprecedented amounts of revenue and can possibly lift both boxing and MMA to new heights of visibility and fandom. The reality is that this “dream” match has to take place under a jurisdiction and that fact has produced some dubious circumstances.
In all likelihood, Mayweather will easily outpoint McGregor. The Irishman may be a smaller underdog than most of Mayweather’s recent opponents but do not expect the odds to flip. Even the most adventurous bettors and McGregor fanatics can’t change that justified assumption. That alone is not a reason to not watch the fight, it’s the fact that the fight was even made that might be most disturbing.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) have a history to cater to Mayweather due to his ability to bring in a significant amount of revenue to the state. It’s an unfortunate aspect of prizefighting but when large sums of money are at stake it becomes much more than just a matter of regulation. McGregor is a bit of a newfound darling to the NSAC but his wishes are definitely put into consideration now with the commission. It’s no secret that Mayweather is the A side in this event and had the strongest input in this equation but in its eager bid to sanction the fight, the NSAC have taken some concerning oversights in regards to safety.
Conor McGregor has no professional boxing experience. Aside from some amateur bouts prior to his MMA career he’s a novice boxer. A debuting boxer taking on a man with 49 times more experience than him seems unfathomable; the fact that the rules are being severely bended for the sake of entertainment seems borderline unethical. Audiences are accustomed to 12 round boxing matches. That’s because most fights are for a title. There is no title that can be conceived of between a boxing debutant and a returning retired fighter but that is not the case here. A literal “money belt” was created out of thin air for this money fight. Much like the US economy, something was made out of nothing only to devalue the rest of the established currency, or belts in this case.
— Josh Sánchez (@jnsanchez) August 23, 2017
A clear difference between the two sports is the gloves. A heavier glove is to the advantage of Mayweather but he requested and was given permission to use eight ounce gloves although it goes against the commission’s own rules.
In addition to the Nevada commission USADA has signed on to be the third independent party drug tester. The fact that USADA works with the UFC and has worked with Mayweather in the past should seemingly make their involvement an afterthought but that is not the case. Back in 2015, USADA was alleged to give Mayweather preferential treatment in his bout against Pacquiao after it was revealed he was given a retroactive therapeutic use exemption after he was administered an IV.
These are all worrisome hazards should this look like the perceived mismatch that many think it can be. If the severely outmatched McGregor gets brutally knocked out or takes a prolonged beating and takes some lasting damage it may cause irreparable damage to the state of Nevada.
This event has been called a circus, a sideshow, an embarrassment to combat sports, martial arts and everything in between. It may very well be all those things, but in essence it is a throwback. It is a less brutal night at the Colosseum, it’s a vaudeville show, it’s Ali Vs. Inoke Part Deux: Electric Boogaloo. In the spirit of such classic and defining moments in man’s entertainment, celebrate it as such.
This is the fight you don’t want to remember fondly because the possibilities are dire, inconceivable and/or meaningless. The fight will assuredly end in one of these scenarios and none merit sober viewing. The skill differential is much too wide to try and make technical analysis and if alcohol can make you appreciate the fight with more of the casual eye, crack open a can. If you’re a combat sports aficionado and can’t comprehend the notion that McGregor may have a chance of pulling off the impossible, pour yourself that glass of whiskey. At the end of the night, you may not regret your decision to get that buzz going or get totally blottoed.
In all seriousness, alcohol consumption should be done so in a responsible and safe manner. Don’t take up drinking because of a prizefight but if you’re on the booze wagon already, have an extra pint and open that expensive bottle of aged liquor cause the event warrants it. If you have an above average interest in fights this build-up was probably exhausting for you. No reason to take it too seriously on fight night. If two men who have accomplished tremendous feats in their careers want to make stupendous amounts of money for a glorified exhibition match, let’s let them.
Let’s enjoy the show how humans have dealt with tremendous grief and festivity, with fermented grains and fruits cause this show feels like both a party and a wake to many fight aficionados. Cheers!