Desert Companion

Open topic: Punch out


Punch Out
Illustration by Ryan Olbrysh

The Mayweather-McGregor match is a farce wrapped in a spectacle and served on a bed of cash; true boxing fans will pay to view a very different bout.

It’s rare that we here at Desert Companion offer readers financial advice, but we fear you’re on the verge of making a horrible decision with your hard-earned cash. At least if you’re a boxing fan.

On August 26, two brash, world-class fighters will slip on a pair of 10-ounce boxing gloves and square off against one another at T-Mobile Arena in what will be one of the biggest spectacles ever hosted by the Boxing Capital of the World. And many fans who can’t afford tickets to attend this pageant in person — and few can — will eagerly shell out $100 to order the pay-per-view.

If you happen to be among them, we have four words in reply: Do. Not. Do. It. Because Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor isn’t just one of the biggest fights Las Vegas has ever hosted, it’s inarguably the biggest farce — one that members of the Nevada State Athletic Commission should be condemned for sanctioning. Just as they would be condemned had they sanctioned a fight between an in-his-prime Mike Tyson and … you.

But wait. Didn’t you just call Mayweather and McGregor world-class fighters?

We did. And they are. In their respective sports.

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Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) is an 11-time world champion in five weight classes, one of the most technically proficient fighters in boxing history. McGregor (21-3, 18 KOs) is a three-time Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder and one of the most devastating punchers in mixed-martial arts history.

Okay, we get it. Boxing and MMA are different. But are they THAT different?

Only as different as soccer and hockey. Sure, both have nets, goalies, and offsides penalties. But they require vastly different skill sets, particularly at the highest level. David Beckham would’ve looked foolish on an NHL rink, Wayne Gretzky on a professional soccer pitch.

Yeah, but, as you noted, Conor can punch like a mule. All he needs to do is land one shot! Isn’t that worth $100?

You’d think. Except that nobody hits Floyd Mayweather. Nobody! He’s as good a defensive boxer as has ever laced up the gloves, which a reported 4.4 million people saw firsthand in May 2015. That’s how many people bought — and soon regretted buying — the $100 pay-per-view to watch Mayweather toy with the legendary Manny Pacquiao. At the time, Pacquiao was a seven-time world champion, yet over the course of 12 rounds, he hit Mayweather a grand total of 81 times — and that includes jabs.

Pacquiao entered the ring against Mayweather with 407 rounds of professional boxing experience. McGregor will enter with exactly zero.

“McGregor has no chance in this fight,” Pacquiao told Yahoo Sports in June. “There is no way he will be able to land a meaningful punch on Floyd. How could he? He has no professional experience in boxing.”

Translation: If you’re considering ponying up that $100 for Mayweather-McGregor in hopes the return will be an exciting and maybe even historic fight, well, Bernie Madoff has some investment opportunities he’d like to talk with you about.

Really, there is no chance this 154-pound scrap ends in anything other than a lopsided Mayweather victory. And you know who realizes that as much as anyone? Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, both of whom have all but acknowledged this “fight” is nothing more than a money grab.

Why do you think McGregor agreed to a boxing match instead of holding out for an MMA brawl, which he’d be an overwhelming favorite to win? Because he knew no amount of money would’ve lured Mayweather into the octagon. He also knew no UFC bout he could fight would result in the life-changing paycheck he’s about to cash.

And why do you think Mayweather was so eager to end a near two-year retirement and put his 49-0 record at risk a month after his 40th birthday? Because he knows McGregor poses no risk at all. The only way Mayweather was going to be lured back to the ring was if (a) he got paid an ungodly sum of money, and (b) he got matched against a foe whose odds of winning were thinner than a ring-card girl. Sure enough, “Money May” will get another nine-figure payday and make history by becoming the first boxer to retire (for good) with a 50-0 record. And he’ll do it by picking apart an opponent who is less experienced in the squared circle than Roberto Apodaca, Mayweather’s very first victim when he turned pro in October 1996 (and whose pro boxing career ended 2  years later with a 1-5 record). 

So here’s the rest of our advice: Stuff that $100 back in your wallet. Put it in the kids’ college fund. Or, if you’re a fan of actual boxing, use it to purchase the pay-per-view of a legitimate blockbuster match scheduled to take place three weeks after the Mayweather-McGregor farce.

On September 16, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin will square off at T-Mobile in a highly anticipated 160-pound title-unification bout that has the potential to be as action-packed and dramatic as any prizefight ever staged in the Boxing Capital of the World.

Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) is a four-time world champion who has won eight consecutive fights — including five victories over former world titleholders — since suffering his lone defeat, a close decision to Mayweather in September 2013. A 26-year-old native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Alvarez is another in a long line of fierce, heavy-hitting Mexican brawlers who love nothing more than to engage in an old-fashioned firefight.

Similarly, Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) is a come-forward boxer whose anvil-like power belies his boyish appearance — the 35-year-old native of Kazakhstan who looks no more menacing than a physics professor has knocked out all but four of his opponents, including 24 inside of five rounds.

Golovkin holds three world titles at 160 pounds; Alvarez owns the other. All four belts will be up for grabs in a scheduled 12-round rumble that — given their aggressive fighting styles and immense power — easily could end up being as explosive as the epic 1985 Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns war at Caesars Palace, which packed five fights’ worth of action into eight minutes and eight seconds. Or it could feature the kind of back-and-forth momentum swings that were the hallmark of the classic 1982 Hearns-Sugar Ray Leonard clash, also at Caesars.

One thing Alvarez-Golovkin almost certainly will not be is boring. More importantly, the outcome won’t be known ahead of time. In other words, it’ll be the polar opposite of Mayweather-McGregor.

“The real fight and the best fight is Golovkin vs. Canelo,” Pacquiao told Yahoo Sports. “The best vs. the best. That’s the fight I will be watching.”

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