Boxing purists are up in arms about UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor crossing over to box Floyd Mayweather.
They claim McGregor, who has as many professional boxing matches under his shiny UFC belt as I do, has no business in the squared-circle against arguably the greatest boxer of all time.
McGregor will look “ridiculous,” said Mike Tyson.
Oscar De La Hoya stated Mayweather will “dismantle” his MMA opponent, and boxing “might not ever recover” after the circus sideshow leaves town August 26.
Mayweather owns an unblemished 49-0 pro boxing record, and has already reportedly filed five trademarks for “50-0.”
Mayweather has opened as an early 10-1 odds-on favorite to school McGregor (+650).
With the odds stacked against him, and so many convinced he’ll get embarrassed, why in the world would McGregor risk tarnishing his brand against “Money” Mayweather?
Speaking of money…
McGregor may have his fair share of naysayers, but the 29-year-old Irishman has placed himself in a win-win situation.
First and foremost, while the UFC and Mayweather Promotions agreed to a “confidentiality agreement” regarding financials (something that is completely ridiculous in the boxing world), UFC president Dana White stated McGregor should make over $100 million if the pay-per-view is a hit. McGregor will make sure it’s a smash by doing what “Notorious” does in the pre-fight promo department.
McGregor got a head start when he announced the fight Wednesday on Twitter:
THE FIGHT IS ON. pic.twitter.com/KhW0u3jRft
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 14, 2017
McGregor notched #25 on Forbes’ 2017 Highest-Paid Athletes list by raking in a cool $34 million over the past 12 months – for just two MMA fights. The year before that, McGregor ranked #85 on Forbes’ list with $22 million.
Boxing purists hate this fight, but ask McGregor if cares. This is the same man who was collecting Ireland’s form of welfare just four short years ago.
As if the first point wasn’t good enough, this leads us to the second reason why McGregor can’t lose in this situation. Mayweather is the furthest thing from a knockout artist, so McGregor is risking next to nothing in the punishment and brain trauma department. Unlike he does in every MMA bout.
Mayweather could very well put on a clinic, but he most certainly won’t be dishing out any concussions.
There have been grumblings that McGregor could retire from combat sports after the match – win, lose or draw. With this paycheck and his previous 24 months of work, he’s already made enough to live like a king for the rest of his life.
He’ll certainly never see a single payday like this in any future UFC outings.
McGregor has previously discussed an exit plan from MMA because of the dangers of brain damage. What better way to ride off into the sunset than banking a $100 million retirement package?
Lastly, if he wasn’t before, McGregor will certainly be a household name after his match with Mayweather. That opens the door for global endorsement deals, acting roles and countless business opportunities – all of which won’t put his body and brain at risk.
McGregor has solid hands, even Mayweather admitted as much. However, his best (and only) chance is a puncher’s chance. All it takes is one trademark left hand. The problem is, that’s what all of Mayweather’s past 49 opponents said before they discovered it was nearly impossible to locate and time him.
On the flipside, what if?
White professed McGregor will be the “biggest athlete on earth” if he serves up an upset special to Mayweather.
I’m sure it’s easy for boxing purists to tell McGregor to walk away from $100 million when he has everything to gain. I’m certain they’d be willing to leave that kind of money on the table if the roles were reversed…