Should this ‘boxing bout’ take place?

Floyd Mayweather junior

It’s the ultimate fantasy fight.

Boxing versus UFC – and a bout between two universal superstars that will be laced with more money, charisma, and global interest than anyone dare comprehend.

The build-up will be off the scale, trash talking from both fighters will be through the roof, and to say social media will go into overdrive is probably an absurd understatement.

So much so, that I suspect the real issue at hand here will be lost amongst the hyperbole.

Which of course is should the now seemingly inevitable ‘super-fight’ between Floyd Mayweather junior and Conor McGregor really be on the cards at all?

Before those reading this chastise my scepticism, let me declare that I am a huge admirer of the in-ring ability of both men.

Ranked amongst boxing’s greats

For all his arrogance, brashness, and love of money, Mayweather deserves to be ranked amongst the all-time masters of his sport – and presents a weighted argument to be considered the greatest of them all.

In recent years, many have criticised his tendency to pick his battles accordingly, and indeed, his supposed retirement fight against a fighter clearly past his best in Andre Berto appeared to be more about protecting a no loss record, than it was going out on a high.

Epic bouts pay tribute to Mayweather

But don’t forget, we are talking about a man whose speed and accuracy was too much for the legendary Oscar De La Hoya.

We are talking about a man who dismantled a rampant and then unbeaten Ricky Hatton in his prime.

We are talking about a man who has not been beaten since a highly dubious amateur semi-final loss in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Furthermore, the manner in which Mayweather has adapted his style to accommodate his wearying hands in his later years has signified a speed of thought and tactical supremacy that few have ever matched. Call it boring if you wish, but it’s a style that makes him a winner.

Indeed, the eventual fight with Manny Pacquiao came too late in both careers for the majority of the boxing public, and lacked the fireworks we craved. But what 4.6 million of us did see on box office, was a one sided masterclass.

McGregor is the ‘Golden Boy’ of UFC

Connor McGregor McGregor meanwhile, has become the golden boy of UFC. Like Mayweather, his tendency to brazenly talk the talk, has been vindicated by an ability to walk the walk.

His second round TKO of Eddie Alvarez last November, a display that saw him capture the UFC Lightweight Championship, made him the first simultaneous two-division champion the organisation’s history.

Even his only loss was praised!

Indeed, his only UFC loss to date, came against Nate Diaz after McGregor’s original opponent, Rafael Souza dos Anjos, withdrew from a bout less than two weeks beforehand.

The Irishman then agreed to move up from lightweight to welterweight to take on Diaz on the same date his clash with Souza dos Anjos was scheduled – and despite being defeated, a result he avenged in a rematch five months later, his apparent lack of regard for his unbeaten UFC legacy won widespread praise.

Should this mouth-watering clash take place? No!

So with all that in mind, why should the public be denied a mouth-watering clash between two of the most recognisable warriors on the planet?

Well firstly, because Conor McGregor is not a professional boxer. And a fast tracked licence to fight in the state of California doesn’t mask over that.

Secondly, if Mayweather, at the age of 40, is to return from retirement a second time, there are considerably more worthy opponents in the queue to fight him than a man tied up in mixed martial arts.

And thirdly, and most significantly, this fight is considerably more about entertainment, money, and bragging rights, than it is about the sport of boxing.

Why is Mayweather tempted out of retirement?

Rumours surrounding Mayweather wanting to re-coup a recent financial loss are rife.

Given his abundance of wealth, a more likely explanation is his ego was never going to allow him to disappear into the sunset with a win-loss record tantalisingly balanced at 49-0. The opportunity to move ahead of Rocky Marciano as statistically the best of all time, was always going to eat away.

Call me cynical, but I doubt providing fans with an historical cross-code event fuels his main motivation.
For McGregor it is a no-brainer!

For the 28-year-old McGregor, perhaps he considers the fight a no brainer.

A rumoured £12 million purse - and no potential damage to his UFC reputation, given it would be a professional boxing bout against a man whom, despite not fighting since September 2015, will be widely expected to beat the Irishman at a canter.

And of course, should McGregor pull off the nigh on impossible, and I severely doubt he will, we will hear about it for evermore.

But are we now in an era where the pre-fight hysteria outweighs the importance of boxing integrity?

Boxing again losing its integrity

Is boxing worth its salt anymore, if it doesn’t have Derek Chisora throwing tables in press conferences? Or David Haye hoodwinking the public with failed promises to crush an opponent’s skull?

For all McGregor’s charisma, and there is no doubting his colourful character has a certain appeal, the fact is he has talked himself into a boxing match with one of the all-time legends of the sport, despite having no pro-bouts behind him.

And finally . . .

Trash talking it seems, is now every bit as appealing to the public as ability.

Perhaps the pair will prove me wrong. Perhaps we will all witness an epic toing and froing, an intriguing battle of contrasting boxing skills that justifies an expensive sleep deprived night in front of the television.

I certainly hope they do, because if not, the once famously dubbed ‘sport of kings’, will take a major step to simply becoming a sport of show business.