Mayweather-McGregor bout more farce than fight

June 16, 2017 GMT

The foolish are celebrating and gathering their coins for what could prove to be the greatest sports hoax of all time. On Aug. 26, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will come out of retirement to face Ultimate Fighting Championship superstar Conor McGregor in a Las Vegas boxing match that will be more like a circus.

Mayweather, who is 49-0 in the ring, is making a return at age 40. During his career he has fought at super featherweight, lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middle weight. He will put his perfect mark against McGregor, a mixed martial artist who is 21-3 and has never had a professional boxing match. McGregor has fought at the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight levels.

This fight will be at 154 pounds but the oddmakers have made Mayweather an 11-1 favorite partially because the bout will take place in a boxing ring and governed by boxing rules. Also, it will be held in Las Vegas, Mayweather’s hometown.

The hype for this amusing farce has begun. For example, McGregor is a southpaw. In the past, Mayweather has had trouble with left-handed fighters. McGregor has dominated MMA combatants but Mayweather, who is known for being elusive in the ring, will be ready for the scheduled 12-round bout.

History has a peculiar way of repeating itself and this made-for-money spectacle is proof. On June 26, 1976, The Greatest — the late Muhammad Ali — fought Antonio Inoki, a Japanese professional wrestler.

At the time, Ali was the reigning World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association Heavyweight champion. Inoki was staging exhibition fights in an attempt to show that professional wrestling was a more discipline form of fighting.

The Ali-Inoki fight was fought under special rules and went the 15-round distance. It was scored as a draw. Inoki had been ahead by three points but was penalized for fouls. Ali threw only six punches in the bout, which made a mockery of both sports.

The fight also played a part in the history of MMA. The match inspired two of Inokie’s students, Masakatsu Funaki and Minouri Suzki, in 1993 to create Pancrase Inc., a mixed martial arts promotional company. Four years later, that led to the formation of another MMA promotional company, Pride Fighting Championships. In 2007, PFC was acquired by UFC.

Sylvester Stallone took notes of the bout and used the same script in Rocky III. In the film, Rocky Balboa fought a wrestler, played by Hulk Hogan, called Thunderlips. That too ended in a draw.

Mayweather, who will be looking to surpass the late Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 mark, knows how to hype an event. He does it well and his shtick is loved by many. McGregor is also a great salesman for bouts. Mayweather’s May 2, 2015 bout against Manny Pacquiao holds the all-time purse record, with a total take of $623.5 million. There is speculation that a Mayweather-McGregor bout will earn somewhere around $606.1 million.

With so much trash talking having already been done, Mayweather and McGregor may not have to work hard to sell the public on this made for profit event.

It’s possible that a Mayweather-McGregor, whatever its called, may do both sports more harm than good.