By Patrik Kuitunen
What started out as a rumour swirling around the worlds of boxing and MMA in late 2016 seems to be evolving into reality. This story simply will not go away. Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather.
The current number one superstar of Mixed Martial Arts against arguably one of the best boxers to ever step inside the ring. The fight is almost a guilty pleasure type of bout. It is soaked in showmanship, big egos and even bigger money.
Yet the ultimate question has been still left unanswered. Can this supposed super-fight ever come to fruition?
With both parties taking serious jabs at each other on social media almost weekly and with UFC President Dana White proposing $25m deals live on ESPN and Mayweather saying simply the words ‘Let’s make it happen’ – it is now only down to the financial side of things.
We all know Ireland’s McGregor, 28, is up for it. But Mayweather is not nicknamed ‘Money’ without reason: he is known for securing the biggest paydays in sport.
In short, White’s proposed $25m per fighter is peanuts for the man who made a reported $180m for his win over Manny Pacquiao in May 2015.
‘Mayweather needs McGregor’
But then again the flipside of the coin is that right now the biggest pay-per-view draw in sport is McGregor and by far.
According to White, speaking on Fox sports show ‘The Herd’, Mayweather’s last fight against Andre Berto has around 350,000 PPV buys. As the Irishman? His last two UFC fights had 1.3m and 1.5m.
The numbers don’t lie, no matter how hard Mayweather tries to downplay McGregor’s financial influence. Right now, ‘The Notorious’ is also Mr Money.
Mayweather, 39, is technically retired after an illustrious 19-year career featuring four world titles and 49 wins in 49 bouts.
Yet he is drawn to the idea of one more massive payday, but knows he needs something special to top the hype that surrounded the Pacquiao.
He needs something that will stand out like no other fight. He needs McGregor.
‘Win or lose, McGregor will triumph in the long run’
Whatever format the fight takes, and under whatever rules it is fought, it has potential to set news records. It will be a must-see event for almost every combat sports enthusiast in the world.
The interesting thing is, if the fight eventually happens, McGregor will show up under little or no pressure.
He is expected to lose in the eyes of the pundits, but it is not the ‘W’ he is after. It’s the fact he actually made ‘Money’ Mayweather care.
No other MMA-fighter could ever think of getting this much attention from self-proclaimed ‘Best Ever’ in boxing. Win or lose, it is McGregor who will ultimately triumph in the long run.
Should Mayweather take this fight? Absolutely not. It is an artificial cross-sports dispute that was forced upon our throats. But it is too late to back out now.
Mayweather and McGregor will eventually go toe-to-toe in the biggest PPV fight of all time.