PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — He can be terribly annoying—and Floyd Mayweather knows it. Sports fans may complain about “money” and his lack of fan-friendly fights, but people tune in to see him. And they’ll do it again in record numbers when Mayweather fights UFC star Conor McGregor on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas in a 12-round, 154-pound boxing match using 10-ounce gloves.
But there is also an underlying shove Mayweather gave to the boxing world when he announced the fight. When the announcement came down on Wednesday, June 14, it was smack dab in the middle of the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev rematch week, zapping the promotional steam of that fight. While fight fans should have been rallying around the Ward-Kovalev fight, all anyone could talk about was Mayweather-McGregor.
Adding more angst to the boxing world is the date of the Mayweather-McGregor fight, which is three weeks before the blockbuster Sept. 16 middleweight title clash—in Vegas—between Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. It’s a fight arguably as big—from a boxing perspective—as Mayweather’s May 2, 2015 megafight against Manny Pacquiao, which drew a pay-per-view record 4.6 million buys (the highest UFC PPV was McGregor-Nate Diaz2 on Aug. 20, 2016, which drew 1.6 million buys).
Golovkin-Alvarez would do well if it draws half that figure.
As Alvarez and Golovkin went on their three-city press tour a few weeks ago, they, too, fell victim of the Mayweather hype and strategic choice of date. It placed both Golovkin and Alvarez in the interesting role of answering questions about Mayweather-McGregor, as opposed to their own fight.
Aug. 26 falls perfectly for Mayweather, considering the NFL will still be playing meaningless pre-season games, college football offers nothing huge that weekend, Major League Baseball is in its dog-day stage and the NHL and NBA will be in downtime gearing up for their respective training camps a month away.
There’s nothing to compete against Mayweather-McGregor.
Though there is a three-week span between the two fights, Mayweather-McGregor, regardless of the outcome, will still have tentacles that will reach into the Golovkin-Alvarez promotion. Don’t think that’s not a thought that came across Mayweather’s mind when deciding when and where to fight McGregor, since Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya, the promoter for the Golovkin-Alvarez fight, aren’t exactly best buds.
Golovkin-Alvarez will attract the fight fan. That’s a given. Mayweather-McGregor will attract the boxing fans, MMA fans, sports fans throughout the world. People want to see it, and they will in droves.
It has stolen the torch of the Golovkin-Alvarez fight.
And it leaves a fight fan with a dilemma: Do they buy what is essentially an event, between a mouthy, strutting MMA star who’s never fought a professional boxing match in his life against a 40-year-old star who hasn’t fought in nearly two years, or a prime boxing showdown between of the world’s best 160-pounders today?
You decide. But you already know where this is going.
Chalk it up to the genius of Floyd Mayweather.