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Nisar Khan

President, head writer at TheSportMatrix

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Mayweather vs. McGregor: Could and Should it Happen?

To quote one of the great tragedians of classical Athens, "Money is the wise man's religion". Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor may not be considered wise in the sense that they are engaged in high-risk sports with a potential brain damage consequence, but money certainly is what matters. That's exactly why such a spectacle is being entertained - a mammoth money mega fight, boxing vs. MMA, Mayweather vs. McGregor.

Cross-sport occasions such as these have often been extinguished at an early stage. Even though this battle remains in an exploratory phase, the buzz it has attracted can not be ignored. It may be the longest of long shots, but with the $$$ signs floating about, anything can happen - the American's nickname is "Money", after all.

Due to that rather seismic factor, the barrage of stumbling blocks can slowly but surely be taken apart. The logistics, the weight, the contracts - everything - becomes a smaller issue when the millions and millions of dollars get put on to the table.

Image: The Absolute Truth
The discussions of this fight are yet to truly begin, with the current situation being a diagnosis and evaluation of sources and speculation. Mayweather is giving some media the merry-go-round: one minute suggesting the fight is happening and is a lock, and later going on to pour doubt over the scenario.

Already though, the very fires this has fuelled shows us one thing: we have not learned the lessons of history. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao was billed as a massive fight for mostly the right reasons, but instead it turned out to be, as Conor McGregor himself described, more of a business transaction than a fight itself.


Understandably, this fight is a different kettle of fish when you look at the variables and all the things going on. It's the biggest star in MMA stepping into a boxing ring to take on one of the greatest boxers of all time, and bringing him out of retirement for a shot at 50-0. You can see why its so marketable, but in reality, it's deception.

Image: The New York Post
Just one glance at the resume of the American tells you all you need to know. He has put on masterclasses against the very best in his division, managing to dismiss any critics, overcome challenges and so on. It's not flawless but it's mightily close to it, 49-0 with a few controversies on the way, you cannot dispute he is the best defensive boxer in the game.

And then we have The Notorious one. He's been quick to align himself with the very elite ranks of mixed martial arts strikers, having knocked out every opponent but Nate Diaz inside the Octagon. A crippling, crushing left-hand shot will go down as one of the best in the game, but the translation to boxing is blurry and not really plausible.

Image: f4wonline
Image: Los Angeles Times
Inside a boxing ring, the Irishman will be limited only to his hands. And while they do possess some deadly power, he won't have Mayweather worrying about any kicks which is often an avenue for opening the gap to pop that straight left hand. This concept barely scratches the surface in terms of all the mechanics on how his MMA striking translates to the squared circle.

A wide stance is always employed by McGregor due to the spacious allowances of a UFC cage. Being cut off to a corner isn't really possible with a simple swivel as could be executed within the confines of the eight-sided fence, and that means McGregor could get himself tied up on numerous occasions.


His footwork may be easy to the eye and pretty effective in an MMA arena however in boxing the fundamentals cannot be bypassed. With the counter-punching abilities, anytime McGregor tries to load up on that left, the speed possessed by Mayweather - even if he is ageing, will pay dividends. The UFC champion's striking has excelled, but let's not forget that even if he was submitted on the ground by Nate Diaz, the Stockton native did trouble him in both fights with his boxing.

There's more work to be done as well - the negotiations will be tough considering how demanding these two men are and then we have the UFC contract. UFC will want to get involved considering they are currently in charge of the profound lightweight champion, and he has something quite sizable on his plate: a defence of the title, against the winner of UFC 209's co-main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Dana White and the UFC may give him "special treatment" but they put their foot down ahead of UFC 200 - showing they are prepared to do it again.


For sure, McGregor has his hands full - and it's a sign that not all hope is lost when you see most bookies all but writing off the European on his quest to do what no man has ever done before him. To his advantage there is the towering size, reach advantage and so on but a depleted McGregor at 145 lbs, even if he was able to knock out the greatest featherweight of all time in a matter of 13 seconds, may struggle to chase Mayweather around a ring for 12 rounds. He'll be winning in some way at least though on the night: the biggest paycheck of his life.

This whole fight brings into question the sports business idea, and whether entertainment and value for money prevails over what is right. In this case money and entertainment may not go hand-in-hand, but the bank account cushioning will provide a safe landing for all the backlash they could receive following the bout.

Mo' Money Mo' Problems?

Composite Image: Floyd Mayweather, Sports Illustrated 
It depends what side of the fence you're on. This will be billed as boxing vs. MMA but it would rarely represent something of that case. McGregor remains young, unpredictable and dangerous but squaring off with any elite boxer, the logic points towards his skills not being specific. Boxing within MMA settings is a whole lot different to boxing itself.

Don't take his sparring footage too deeply - it could be a ploy, not many fighters have that courage to pinpoint game plans. But it may just be papering over the cracks. Conor is a good boxer, but he isn't facing just a good boxer, he's facing arguably one of the best to ever lace them up.

Image: The Telegraph
At face value, it seems daft to pitch an MMA against a boxer in boxing rules. It also brings in the conversation of the sports against one another, so comparable in terms of fan appeal and business models yet so different on a more microscopic level. Add in to that the fact that McGregor has zero boxing experience amid the further details make it a head-scratcher. But then, the "M" word comes back, money, and we see exactly why this thing is being entertained.

Many even know how it would likely go down (spare a thought, words may need to be eaten if McGregor pulls off the unthinkable) but they would still pay. Intrigue sells, as does that minimal probability, ethically you may disagree but a large proportion would still buy it.

There remain a number of bumps in the road on the route to Mayweather vs. McGregor. It would be a show, the build-up would be entertaining but everything suggests that the fight will be anything but. At the end of the day, the fans' pockets will be dug into but they won't be the winners. The bank accounts of Floyd and Conor will be.

Image: FloCombat

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TheSportMatrix | We Live For Sport: Mayweather vs. McGregor: Could and Should it Happen?
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Could and Should it Happen?
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: Could the fight happen - and SHOULD it happen? Nisar Khan writes his column over the rumoured mega fight.
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