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Money Fight madness – bring it on

  • By ClintonV
  • August 21, 2017
  • Comments Off on Money Fight madness – bring it on

This weekend the finest boxer of the modern generation, Floyd Mayweather jnr, fights Conor McGregor, the most outrageous mixed martial artist of them all.

Whether or not they belong in the same ring is immaterial. They are two different stars moving into one another’s orbit, creating the perfect marketing storm.

Despite his lack of explosiveness, Mayweather’s fast hands and fast mouth have been parlayed into great financial success. Anyone who fights him gets to write his own cheque.

McGregor is similar, a boastful, mouthy champion who talked his way into potentially the richest fight in history. His back story and his ability to sell a fight, mostly through a rapid-fire monologue of filth and ballyhoo, is the perfect counter to Mayweather’s slick shtick. Put the two together and you have something approaching hysteria.

Traditionalists who complain about the nature of the contest forget that boxing long ago surrendered its innocence. The sport is pock-marked with drama, controversy and outrageous gimmicks, and still it thrives. Throw in Las Vegas – “the most expensive toilet in the world that still can’t flush,” as writer Brin-Jonathan Butler so eloquently puts it – and you have the perfect backdrop to a fight that will drip with glitz and gaudiness.

Those who say it is bad for boxing miss the point entirely. The only time boxing is in trouble is when people aren’t talking about it.

TThose who say it is bad for boxing miss the point entirely

The trouble with boxing, particularly in America, is that it is a niche sport. Even in a major market like the US, it exists on the margins. You have to dig around to find mentions of it in the New York Times or the Washington Post. It barely features on mainstream US television.

Yet this fight is different. Call it the Mike Tyson effect. Many people claimed Tyson was bad for boxing given the heavyweight’s proclivity for violence out of the ring, but boxing never enjoyed a higher profile than when he was in his prime. People were drawn in their thousands, like onlookers to a car wreck.

Boxing is again back in the limelight, this fight having turned on boxing and non-boxing fans alike who are curious about the combatants and wonder whether an untested fighter like McGregor can rumble with Mayweather and perhaps even beat him. Any sober assessment of the contest says that McGregor has no hope at all. He’s an untried, untested boxer going up against one of the most fluid, most accomplished boxers in history. Videos of him sparring show a man ill at ease with even the fundamentals.

Last May McGregor sparred with South Africa’s Chris van Heerden, a solid pro now based in Santa Monica. Van Heerden wasn’t impressed.

Yet the one thing fans cannot comprehend is what goes through a fighter’s mind as a big fight approaches. As Tyson said in a recent podcast, every fighter believes he can find a way to win, no matter how big the challenge is. McGregor won’t entertain the idea of losing, his instinct as a fighting man instilling him with a deep belief that he can truly win. Whether it’s rational or not is beside the point – the possibility of losing won’t have entered his consciousness.

Any man with two hands has a chance in a fight, so McGregor is banking on his unorthodoxy and powerful left hand doing the business come August 26. The trouble is that many better boxers than McGregor, even big punchers like Canelo Alvarez, have tried and failed against Mayweather. Forty-nine in all have had a shot; 49 left as losers.

McGregor will be the bigger man and he’ll come out throwing bombs, but I expect McGregor will ride out the storm with his clever movement and cute defensive strategy. Emboldened by the Irishman’s inability to land anything of consequence, he’ll nail him with combinations, embarrassing him with an assortment of punches honed in a 21-year pro career. He’ll frustrate McGregor no end and likely put him away in the final quarter if he wants to put an exclamation mark on his performance.

This fight is everything the haters say: a sham, a freak show and an embarrassment. But it’s also fun and compelling, a harmless counterpoint to what’s safe and comfortable. Which is why we’ll all be watching. – © Sunday Tribune


Categories: Boxing

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