“It’s the biggest event ever in combat sports.”
It’s hard to argue with UFC President Dana White. The figures don’t lie, with Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather banking $100 million from this unprecedented fight, whilst Conor ‘Notorious’ McGregor will walk away with a pretty decent smaller bank of $75 million. It’s speculated that these numbers could balloon as well, with ‘Money’ as much as quadrupling his minimum take, and McGregor getting up to an extra $50m.
Going the distance
The vast majority of devoted boxing fans will tell you this goes one way: Mayweather wins, probably on points. He’s made his name as a defensive counter-puncher, arguably the best the sport has ever seen, and with McGregor's relentless energy also on show, we could easily see the five-division boxing world champion and the two-weight UFC world champion battle it out for all 12 rounds.
Never a knockout
Mayweather hasn’t knocked anyone out since 2011, and even though he retired in 2015, that’s still 7 fights that went all the way. In fact, his last 14 fights have entered the 12th round, and you’d need to go back to 2005 to find a Mayweather fight that was any shorter. That was against Sharmba Mitchell, who would retire less than a year later.
He’s also only been on the canvas himself once in his entire career, and that was against Carlos Hernandez in 2001. He’d go on to win by unanimous decision, a type of result that would dominate his career. Knocking out Floyd Jr. looks very, very unlikely.
Mayweather’s style is divisive, although it shouldn’t be. You’ll find plenty of fans telling you the all-action Klitschko that lost to AJ was putting on one of his best and most exciting performances, but he still lost. Tell Mayweather he should have been more ‘entertaining’ in his fights, and he’ll show you his bank balance. He wins, and it might not set pulses racing, but his skillset is phenomenal.
That iconic stance is the foundation of his (so far) unbeatable style. He’s side-on, giving his opponents less to aim at, and with his slick, lightning-fast upper body movement and footwork you’ll be lucky to get anywhere near his chin.
A fierce competitor & a showman
Yeah, so Mayweather is basically a genius, but this is unknown territory, and Conor McGregor is an animal. His mixed martial arts career spans 9 years, and he had his first taste of UFC back in 2013. He’s the only simultaneous two-weight world champion in UFC history, and in 2015 he dispatched Jose Aldo in 13 seconds. He’s a fierce competitor and a showman; being the underdog won’t phase him in the slightest, and it only gives him greater incentive to shock the sporting world.
He hasn’t boxed competitively since he was 16, but ferocious punching is part of McGregor’s fighting style, and he’s seen as a fine boxer within The Octagon. He won on his 2013 UFC debut with a succession of uppercuts, and the same weaponised left-hand made him two-weight champion against Alvarez.
He’s the bigger, younger guy as well. That won’t win you everything, but it counts. McGregor is 11 years younger than his opponent, and an inch taller at 5ft 9, with a 44-inch reach giving him a 2-inch advantage.
The biggest upset in sporting history
UFC rounds are brutal in length, lasting up to 5 minutes, whereas boxers get their respite after 3. Mayweather might have 387 rounds under his belt, but McGregor is used to longer rounds, even though some have questioned his stamina. He edges it for size, whilst possessing his own significant speed, so he’ll genuinely believe he can cause one of the biggest shocks in the history of world sport.
McGregor prides himself on being “creative… spontaneous… fearless”, telling fight podcast The Bloody Elbow that he wants to do “s*** that hasn’t been done before”. Well, Conor, this is an opportunity, and the world will be watching.
Mayweather vs. McGregor - Live on Sky Box Sports Office
Viewers in the UK can catch the fight on Sky Sports Box Office from midnight on Saturday 27th August, running up to 7am on Sunday 28th. It’s £19.95 for the fight, but £24.95 if booked over the phone after midnight on Friday 25th August. Cable customers will need to contact their provider for more information.