Sport360's Alex Rea and James Piercy take a look at the polarising debate of the boxing bout between the UFC superstar and unbeaten pugilist
Floyd Mayweather will come out of retirement to meet UFC lighweight champion Conor McGregor in an eagerly anticipated boxing match at the T-Mobile Arena on August 26.
Mayweather will be aiming to become the first boxer to go 50-0 while the Irishman will be competing in his first ever professional boxing bout.
As you can imagine the clash has polarised opinion across the globe so our expert writers have offered their views.
Do you think Mayweather v McGregor will damage boxing’s credibility?
Let us know your thoughts as our two writers debate his future.
Floyd Mayweather Jr insists he is “giving the people what they want” by agreeing to the carnival clash with Conor McGregor on August 26. And while that may be the case in casual circles, in a wider context it’s not what the sport needs, or indeed wants.
Boxing has enjoyed a meteoric resurgence in 2017 to starve nonsensical suggestions that the sport is dead. Although the May/Mac hybrid event won’t kill it off entirely, it’s certainly a stab in the back.
The fight completely goes against the notion of competition because it’s a foregone conclusion, with the 49-0 boxer, the best of his era, sealing the prestigious 50-0 mark against a complete novice.
But it’s not just the predetermined outcome which will hurt boxing’s credibility, it will be the nature of it. The lingering stench left by Mayweather’s lopsided win over Manny Pacquiao two years ago has only just dissipated with his exit from the ring allowing the likes of Saul Alvarez and Anthony Joshua to flourish.
Their brand of violence has come to hallmark a fine year which has stimulated interest in boxing, but Mayweather’s defensive style is the complete antithesis, a skillset which disillusioned a wider audience.
In MMA, McGregor has almost exclusively fought as a counter-puncher and against a defensive boxer like Mayweather it will make for periods of painful inactivity. A one-sided battering, or even an attempt to brawl from the Irishman could be viewed as entertainment even if not competitive.
But chances are Floyd will walk to victory by barely throwing or receiving a punch.
It also comes just three weeks before a genuine fight of the year candidate in Alvarez v Gennady Golovkin. May/Mac sucks the oxygen out of that contest while also siphoning the life out of a sport which has been reborn in Mayweather’s absence.
This clear moneygrab is an abuse boxing doesn’t deserve.
Because of the nature of the personalities involved and the acknowledgement they’re doing this purely for money, the public should be able to separate this from the rest of the boxing world and see it for what it is.
At best, a more legitimate real-life version of Rocky v Thunderlips or, at worst, a freak show in which the very worst aspects of the fight game are broadcast before, during and after what will undoubtedly be a one-sided contest.
Conor McGregor’s first professional boxing bout against one of the greatest of all time will be short. The Irishman is essentially being paid $80 million to step into a ring and get beaten up.
And that ludicrous and trivial nature of the contest means nobody is going to be taking it seriously. Providing McGregor avoids severe injuries he’ll return to the UFC soon enough considerably richer and it won’t affect his standing in MMA, while Mayweather will return to retirement to buy some Bugattis.
When you factor in the pantomime that we’re going to be subjected over the next two months in terms of the verbal build-up, it’s going to be a circus. Entertainment over sport.
It would be a real concern if this fight had happened 12 months ago when the sport was at its lowest ebb as a series of faceless champions wore belts nobody cared about, and the biggest names sleepwalked through bouts. Mayweather v McGregor would have been viewed with excitement, as a means of jolting life into the fight game.
And, that, would have led to real damage because, then what comes next? Does that then dictate the future of the sport? But with Joshua-Klitschko and a reinvigorated heavyweight division plus Golovkin-Alvarez to come, the landscape has shifted considerably.
Boxing is in a healthy place and strong enough to keep August 26 as the fun but ultimately gaudy sideshow it deserves to be.