Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor actually went through with it, just like they promised they would over the course of the past two years, concluding with a 10th round Mayweather knockout. There was no bigger event in the sport in recent memory and the whole damn thing might end up being one of the biggest fights of all time, and if you ask the know it all hardcore fans, they’ll swear up and down that it was a joke and that they were doing it in defense of the sport of boxing and its sanctity. Well you know what? The joke was on them, and everybody who wasted their time in trying to tear this house down.
Not only was Mayweather/McGregor an overall great event, it was ran the way a major boxing fight should be ran in this modern age. There were free preliminaries on major networks that had its share of good fights, copious amounts of advertising and a promotion that was built on a WWE style narrative that incited fans of the two biggest names in combat sports to shell over a lot of cash. It basically was a boxing match ran like a UFC promotion, and we indeed got the best of both worlds.
The card featured Badou Jack look downright vicious in beating the stuffing out of Nathan Cleverly, and even Gervonta Davis dressed up with the corpses of many a Smurf (though a clown or jackass costume would have been just as fitting). The main event was dramatic for the first few rounds to the untrained eye as Mayweather stretched McGregor out and exposed his conditioning flaws, and watching Mayweather pick apart McGregor from the sixth round until the stoppage was very fun to watch. It may have been rough for the “purists” out there that have been rooting against boxing’s best interest for years, but the event was a fun one and all the efforts to minimize the fight failed miserably.
So why did they fight it to begin with? Can we all not realize that no amounts of press passes and keyboard warriors are going to restore “the sanctity of boxing” now or even forever?
It’s hard to find a moral high ground in a sport where two people bludgeon each other until the other guy passes out, but some horrible things have happened in the sport over the last 30 or so years. We had the Resto/Collins, the Bob Arum/IBF racketeering scandal in the late 90s, a bogus PED safety blanket, Antonio Margarito’s Plastergate and the list goes on. Somehow, this event that brought MORE fans to the sport was WORSE than some of the above mentioned moments and you can be considered the enemy or an apologist if you supported it!
The inherent bashing of Mayweather/McGregor only made it bigger, maybe even bigger than Mayweather/Pacquiao, and it was a more exciting event from top to bottom than boxing’s latest fight to save itself. Some would still go out and say it was a farce, and they wouldn’t be wrong, but they also couldn’t say with a straight face that the real boxing match with practically retired Miguel Cotto politicking his way to another world title is what boxing is all about. It was a night that brought fans of all combat sports together, and you know what? Boxing is better for it and the sport may learn a thing or two from last Saturday night.
It very well might. The Mayweather era is thankfully over, and that should bring solace to the pocket of media personalities and fans who hated his guts and wished him the worse, and now can really focus on the emerging stars of the sport today. Now this may not be the last time an MMA vs. Boxing fight happens, nor was it the first. James Toney conning the UFC for a big paycheck comes to mind, so does Ray Mercer knocking out Tim Sylva, but who is to say that McGregor’s gamble wouldn’t bring over the Diaz brothers, TJ Dillshaw or Cody Garabrandt into the boxing ring if they find themselves fed up with the MMA system, and bring a surging fan base with them? How is any of this a bad thing?
Somehow, there will be someone who has an answer to that question but it will be just for the sake of answering it. Mayweather/McGregor was a great night for both boxing and MMA, and anyone who says otherwise are just stubborn, blind or both.
In the end, Mayweather/McGregor was an unforgettable moment in a sport that has so few of them, and it was a fun ride while it lasted.