PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One thing, hopefully, we can count on Saturday, August 26, at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada: Conor McGregor not flopping to the ground and kicking at Floyd Mayweather’s knee, like Japanese professional wrestling legend Antonio Inoki did in his forgettable clash with Muhammad Ali in 1976.
Mainstream sports fans set social media afire wanting this. They wanted to see it and they’re going to get it: Floyd Mayweather will fight MMA superstar Conor McGregor in a 12-round, 154-pound boxing match, using 10-ounce gloves. They’ll make a ton of money based on the curiosity of it all.
To call this a spectacle is an understatement.
It’s actually a fascinating joke.
Here’s what will happen: McGregor will try to engage Mayweather, who turned 40 in February and is still in impeccable shape, and “Money” will sidestep him, pepper him with a jab or two and carry him for about four or five rounds. Mayweather may even humor McGregor and the fans for a round or two. McGregor is supposed to be known for his speed, though will be schooled in what real velocity is when he gets hit with the sublime speed of Mayweather’s fists. By the sixth, McGregor will have little left, and Mayweather will record his historic 50th victory (breaking Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0).
The multitudes that pay for it will wonder what the fuss was about in the first place.
There have been a lot of major events, and only a handful that become indelible—like this year’s Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko fight before 90,000 at Wembley Stadium. Someone has to supply some drama and finality that adds a “wow” factor.
Both have “wow” personalities, so the faux venom and verbal slop that may be spewed before the fight will carry more entertainment value than the fight itself.
So when the fight was announced on Wednesday, the hardest sell of all was trying to convince anyone that this is going to be a competitive fight.
McGregor (21-3), 28, is a southpaw and the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold titles in two different divisions. There’s no questioning he’s one of the best MMA fighters in the world. The problem he faces is his first foray into a new discipline as a professional boxer happens to be against Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs), one of the greatest boxers of all-time. If 6-foot-8, 260-pound LeBron James were to ever step into a boxing ring, the 5-foot-8, 154-pound Mayweather would chop him up, too, though it would take a little longer.
That’s the skill and power an elite pro boxer possesses.
It has to be noted that Mayweather hasn’t fought since September 2015, when he pummeled Andre Berto. He hasn’t stopped anyone since Victor Ortiz turned his head in the fourth round and Mayweather slugged him on Sept. 17, 2011—that’s almost six years ago.
Still, we’ve seen this before. Just that Mayweather won’t show up August 26 too heavy to run after an ice cream truck, with a potbelly and a cigarette dangling from a corner of his mouth, like Damon Wayans’ character James “The Grim Reaper” Roper did in “The Great White Hype.” McGregor, however, will probably suffer the same demise as Terry Conklin, soon after the Irish bagpipes stop playing.
Joseph Santoliquito is the President of the Boxing Writers Association of America