The sports world was blindsided the week by the surprise announcement of the oft rumored and highly debated contest between arguably the greatest boxer of all time, Floyd Mayweather, and MMA’s brightest star, Conor McGregor. After the initial shock wore off and the conference calls ended I was left with three questions banging around in my head as I tried to digest what we are about to witness.
1. Is This Fight Good Or Bad For Boxing?
The boxing world have had a pretty solid 2017 with a few high selling fights and a return to relevance in a crowded mainstream sports market. This was thought to be culminated with the highly anticipated bout between Canelo Alvarez and GGG this September. However, in one day that contest has been pushed to the background in favor of the media circus that is Mayweather vs McGregor.
The question I have posed to colleagues and friends alike is does boxing benefit from this regardless of result, does it hurt boxing regardless of result, or does the result of the fight directly influence boxing’s public perception?
2. Will The Vegas Odds Continue To Be Abnormal
Las Vegas betting odds have almost always indicated who the public feel is a favorite in a sporting contest. It’s usually pretty clear cut and unsurprising. Yet, so far in the case of Mayweather vs McGregor, the odds seem to be trending in favor of the decided underdog. Betting odds just after the fight announcement could be found as high as +1100 for McGregor ($100 bet would pay out $1100 if the underdog McGregor won). However, a mere two days after the initial announcement the odds have dropped all the way to only +375.
To put this in context, only one of Floyd’s last ten opponents have finished with odds below +400. While there expects to be flux and change throughout this ten week build-up, one has to wonder if these odds will remain surprisingly tight.
3. What If Conor Wins?
I’ve seen this question quite a few times on social media the last three days. It’s widely considered that this was a cash grab for the UFC Lightweight champ McGregor and that his popularity will skyrocket if he just makes it competitive. Anyone who knows or has covered Conor knows that he has never shown up to anything to compete, he shows up to win convincingly and wouldn’t have signed the contract if he didn’t truly believe he would.
So then I must venture to wonder: what happens if he does?
It’s my personal opinion that if we witness Mayweather clatter to the mat with no hope of recovery, Conor McGregor will transcend to a level reserved for generational stars like Ali, Jordan, and Babe Ruth. Ireland is a proud fighting nation and that Irish nature is embedded deep in the fabric of working class America. With Conor’s humble, impoverished roots on public assistance in Dublin just four and a half years ago, a win for Conor will make him the folk hero of Ireland. You can guarantee a statue in Dublin City and a welcome home rarely seen in modern day sports. After all, we all love a David vs Goliath story.