For better or worse, Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor is official for August 26 in Vegas. The strange pairing, a comebacking Mayweather against reigning UFC lightweight champion McGregor, will be a 12-round boxing match in a boxing ring contested at 154 pounds. McGregor will not be allowed to kick, wrestle, or do anything but box with his 10 oz. gloved fists and move with his two shoed feet. McGregor risks being sued for breach of contract for any knees, kicks or elbows.
When Mayweather, 49-0, defeats McGregor, 0-0, on SHO PPV as expected by anyone who truly understands the Sweet Science, boxing’s P4P #1 will raise his perfect ledger to 50-0, breaking Rocky Marciano’s undefeated record; but only if Mayweather re-retires and stays that way.
With all the easy money still on the table for lucrative matchups against mixed martial artists, professional wrestlers, and novice pro boxers, it could be a very long time indeed until Floyd Joy Sinclair is officially retired from his participation in modern combat sports.
Fool me once Floyd, shame on you.
Fool me twice, it’s shame on me.
Here then are ten infamous fighting mashups that remind this ringside reporter of the upcoming #MayCon fraud. Not all the choices here are grounded in objective reality but let’s be honest, nothing about Mayweather-McGregor is grounded (or pounded) in reality as we now understand it.
Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley
The Tyson of 1995, like the Money May of today, was making a multi-million dollar PPV comeback against a wildly overmatched opponent whose only chance to win was an overdose of foolish bravery. It almost worked. The “Pride of Medfield” stood in there and traded with Iron Mike before being totally overwhelmed by the former baddest man on the planet. Tyson won by TKO (technically a DQ) in 89 seconds of overpriced pay-per-view action. Can McGregor do as well as McNeeley?
Floyd Patterson vs. Pete Rademacher
In 1957, Patterson defended his world heavyweight championship against a pale white boxer making his pro debut. Rademacher, an Olympic champion from Washington State, fell seven times for a brutal KO in six rounds but not before miraculously dropping the champion (!) in the second. This might be the best McGregor can hope for.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao
We all wanted it and when we finally got it, we wanted to return it and never ask for more. #MayPac was a hashtag, a money grab, a non-fight, a snoozer, and worst of all it was an overpriced PPV ripoff. Pacquiao took the money and ran after stepping into battle with a known shoulder injury requiring immediate rotator cuff surgery. Pac-Man had nothing to give in the ring and Floyd was happy to carry him around in there in hopes of salvaging a big-money rematch. Fans saw through it. So don’t call it a comeback, we’ve been here before.
Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki
The classic “boxer against a wrestler” match with special rules in place was held in 1976 in Japan. Ali tried his best to avoid getting hurt. Inoki tried to lay on the mat and kick Ali when he wasn’t standing up trying the same. According to legend, this was supposed to be a worked (fake) bout but when Ali learned he was to lose, it became a shoot (real) fight; one nearly devoid of action, drama, or intrigue. After 15 tedious rounds, a draw was declared and refunds were demanded but never given. Ali paid the price with painful blood clots on his leg.
Randy Couture vs. James “Lights Out” Toney
Here we had a boxer and a cage fighter in a cage match in Boston on a UFC show. Unlike Mayweather vs. McGregor which is a boxing match in a boxing ring, Toney was foolishly trying to beat the martial artist in MMA. What a terrible idea. Couture took Toney down quickly, pounded on him a little bit, and then choked him into tapping out.
Merciless Ray Mercer vs. Tim Sylvia
Like Couture-Toney in 2010, this 2009 heavyweight MMA fight featured a former boxing champion in Mercer against a former UFC heavyweight champion in Sylvia. Mercer told the world that he was strictly a boxer, not a kicker. Sylvia, much taller than Mercer, started the fight with a quick kick to Mercer’s knee. Mercer responded by planting his feet into a boxing stance and launching a single right hand. The blow impacted Sylvia’s chin. Sylvia’s body bounced off the mat where he was out cold after just ten seconds of boxer vs. MMA action.
Rocky Balboa vs. Thunderlips
The Ultimate Male vs. the Ultimate Meatball was a special attraction set up by Mickey to help Rocky keep ducking Clubber Lang. It was 1982 when the boxing champ took on the wrestling champ in a painful exhibition to open Rocky III in style. After brawling it out in the ring and in the crowd, the charity bout between Balboa and Lips was declared a draw. Thank God.
James “The Grim Reaper” Roper vs. Irish Terry Conklin
Another big screen climax (Great White Hype circa 1996) where we now see real life imitating reel life after years of vice-versa. Roper, a bored heavyweight champ grown fat on ice cream and soft touches, gets pitted against the only man to ever beat him in the amateurs, a progressive white rocker from Cleveland with a “devastating overhand right” and a plan to shock the world in aid of homelessness. Irish Terry falls hard in one, the first time he’s hit flush. Promoter Fred Sultan is quick to remind Conklin’s publicist:
“We reap what we sow.”
Yes indeed, hundreds of millions.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz
The “Vicious One” came about as close to a no-holds barred grudge match with Pretty Boy Floyd as anybody, pushing Mayweather into the ropes and into the corners where Ortiz let loose with elbows, forearms, and boxing’s first ever flying headbutt-kiss combination. It was all so horrifying to behold. When Ortiz stopped fouling to hug and say sorry, Mayweather kayoed him with a vicious sucker punch. Ortiz asked for a rematch he never got.
Riddick Bowe vs. Elijah Tillery
Bowe knows boxing, not drop kicking. That’s why it was very unusual when back in 1991, Big Daddy’s opponent Elijah Tillery was disqualified for flagrantly kicking Bowe three times after the bell to end a long first round. A brawl broke out between the boxers and with Tillery’s back exposed to the ropes, Bowe’s WWF-esque manager Rock Newman came up from behind, grabbed Tillery in a rear naked chokehold, and pulled him over the top rope onto the floor while Bowe kept punching. Bowe stopped Tillery in a rematch two months later.
Honorable Mention: Toughman-contest-winner-turned-boxer Eric Esch, better known to boxing fans as Butterbean the King Of The Four Rounders, once fought a pair of pro wrestlers in the wrestling ring. In 1997 on a WWF PPV, Marc Mero was “disqualified” for a low blow landed to Esch during a staged boxing match. The 350 pounder did better in 1999 at Wrestlemania XV, cold cocking wanna-be-tough-guy Bart Gunn in just 35 seconds of all-too-real boxing. A veteran of nearly all forms of combat sportage, including kickboxing and MMA, Esch took his popularity and toughness all the way to a 2002 televised decision loss to 52 year-old living legend Larry Holmes.
So how will Mayweather-McGregor play out?
Mayweather-McGregor will be over when the best boxer on the planet decides it’s over and not a moment sooner. It could be a KO1, a UD12, or even a disqualification just for kicks. In this way, Floyd gets to play the role of matchmaker, boxer, and event promoter. It was ultimately Floyd who handpicked McGregor. It’s Floyd who’ll slap him around silly. And it’s Floyd who again gets to wear his TMT promoter hat for a new generation of marks and dupes, the suckers born every minute…
Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.