Floyd Mayweather is one of a kind and I don’t mean as a fighter. Starting the night of February 25th 1964, when I saw Cassius Clay for the first time in my life on the 6:00 PM news, two-months shy of my 6th birthday, I’ve been obsessed with the sport of boxing and have adamantly followed it from every aspect. When I’m asked to recite the names of some of the greatest fighters I’ve seen circa 1964-2017, Floyd Mayweather never comes to mind. I mean never. I’ve seen fighters better in every aspect of boxing and vastly more gifted than Mayweather. But when I think of the fighters and personalities who have gotten over more when it comes to playing fans and the media…as Frank Sinatra sang, Floyd Mayweather is at the top of the heap, A-number-one.
I thought I had him figured out when I said Manny Pacquiao was easy money for him, and that when they fight, Manny won’t be Mayweather’s toughest fight by a long shot. However, I sold him short. Fighting a guy who is 0-0 as a pro for more money than he was paid for fighting Pacquiao is the greatest con job ever. And I must say that I’m amazed, but not surprised, at how much interest there is in seeing Floyd Mayweather box MMA star Conor McGregor – and I predict it will eclipse the record 4.4 million PPV buys Mayweather-Pacquiao did back in May of 2015.
For the rest of the summer, boxing fans and MMA fans will be taking shots at each other over everything regarding the event. Boxing and MMA aficionados will be on ESPN and FS1 providing their supposed expertise and opinions. They’ll be debating who has more pressure on them, suggesting McGregor is bigger than any opponent Mayweather has ever faced and due to that McGregor has a puncher’s chance…..actually he doesn’t for a multitude of reasons, one of which stands out more than any other, as I’ll shortly explain.
Boxing fans, most of you know this regarding Mayweather, but it’s not a given fans of MMA do. And that is, love him or hate him, as terrific as Floyd Mayweather once was, his entire cache’ regarding greatness is the fact that he’s undefeated in 49 professional fights. Rocky Marciano, the fighter whose record Mayweather will surpass when he beats McGregor, isn’t regarded by any boxing historian as the greatest heavyweight champ in history, even though he retired undefeated….with the argument being that had Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali or Larry Holmes fought the same fighters Marciano did on the night he fought them, all four of them would’ve gone 49-0 too.
If Floyd Mayweather has been great at anything, it has been his ability to fight his most dangerous opponents at the right time and weight, avoiding some of the bigger threats by retiring and missing Paul Williams, paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, a man who had the size, style and power to beat him. Yes, Mayweather was greatly skilled and one of the best of his generation – but no one can argue that had Roberto Duran, Wilfred Benitez, Sugar Ray Leonard or Thomas Hearns in their primes fought the same fighters Floyd did on the night he fought them, they too would’ve reached 49-0, only they would’ve scored more than 25 knockouts. Yes, all four of them.
The point is that Mayweather has been brilliant at managing his career, taking the right fights when the risk was minimal and the pay reward was at its optimum. And that didn’t happen by accident. Had Jose Luis Castillo been awarded the decision that HBO’s Harold Lederman felt he earned the first time they fought, the legend of Floyd Mayweather would’ve died April 20th, 2002, and nobody would care about 48-1 Mayweather fighting an MMA star making his pro debut. If, at 40, he fought McGregor at all, it would be in some armory in front of six hundred people.
Floyd’s legacy is built upon one thing and that’s being undefeated. Sure, his skill set and fighting ability played a big part as well, but nobody would be taking “TBE” seriously at 48-1. Mayweather has been flawless making the right fights and has never guessed wrong once. Had he lost to Manny Pacquiao or Andre Berto in one of his last two fights, he’d be most remembered for that. But he didn’t, and now he’s putting his entire career legacy on the line against a novice who has never fought as a boxer. Losing to McGregor, even at age 40, would be more embarrassing and a bigger career killer than getting knocked out by Pacquiao in the 1st round would’ve been.
Ask yourself this, and I’m completely serious: if there was any chance in the world — I mean a scintilla of a chance — that Mayweather could lose by any means to Conor McGregor, do you really think he would’ve gone through with the fight? I certainly don’t! Floyd has been too shrewd for his entire 21-year professional career. He knows what it would mean to his legacy to lose to a fighter who would probably lose to some of the best regional Golden Gloves champs.
In every bout of his career after he fought Oscar De La Hoya back in 2007, Mayweather has controlled every aspect of what went into making the fight. The negotiating table and ring were tilted in his favor before any of his opponents put in a single day of training. Now he’s fighting a fighter from another combat sport, and I have to believe Floyd got everything he wanted or he wouldn’t have signed on.
Remember when Mayweather took on “Big Show” at Wrestlemania XXIV in a no disqualification match in 2008? Even in the WWE’s version of the Super Bowl, Wrestlemania, Mayweather called the shots and won in a sport that dances to a script. Mayweather knocked out the 7’0” 380 pound “Big Show” with brass knuckles. Just another layer of proof that Floyd doesn’t sign unless the deck is stacked to make him look good and insure he comes out on top, even when it’s a rehearsed event.
Boxing is Mayweather’s sport. Is there a single fan of boxing or MMA who thinks that whatever could’ve been left to chance has pretty much been addressed? No, I don’t think Conor McGregor is going to take a dive or that he won’t try to win, but he’s just not good enough to hurt Mayweather in a boxing ring. I can’t even motivate myself to analyze it because I know the ending is a forgone conclusion.
The fact that Mayweather has agreed to fight or spar with Conor McGregor tells me all I need to know as far as who the winner will be….and it has nothing to do with a boxer fighting a mixed martial artist. Mayweather agreeing to it tells me there is no way he cannot have his hand raised when it’s over. Laugh all you want, but if Floyd Mayweather were fighting IBF heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua on August 26th, I’d pick Mayweather to win, and I’d go one further and even bet on him. And the reason for that is that if Floyd signed the contract, then he must know something that no one else knows, because if it were legit and he’d really have to end up trading punches with AJ, he would’ve never signed on.
I don’t blame Conor McGregor for going through with this charade. He isn’t supposed to win and he has nothing to lose. Conor is going to pocket more than 100 million dollars and never has to enter a ring or octagon ever again if he doesn’t want to. And on top of that, I think McGregor will be able to claim victory after the event.
Here’s how I believe it will go:
The spectacle will go the full 12 rounds. Mayweather will win the decision. After he loses the decision, McGregor proclaims….”I went the distance with the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world in my pro debut. I would beat him easy in my sport. I’m the baddest fighter on the planet.” Mayweather laughs at that and says….”I’m 40-years old, haven’t fought in two years and just beat the best fighter in MMA. I toyed with him and wanted to give the fans their money’s worth. Me, Floyd Mayweather, am the king of boxing and MMA!”
In other words, Floyd Mayweather is Paul Newman, Conor McGregor is Robert Redford and everyone else who takes this farce seriously is Robert Shaw, the guy who got stung in the movie “The Sting.” In the Mayweather vs. McGregor remake of “The Sting,” the media, boxing fans and MMA fans are being stung.
If you think there’s a chance in the world Conor McGregor leaves the ring victorious, then you must be crazy. There’s no chance Mayweather loses because if there were, he would have never agreed to the fight.
You were forewarned in this space before Mayweather vs. Pacquiao that there was no chance Mayweather would lose because he waited for the right time to fight Pacquiao. Here’s another warning before you get gouged again.
I wouldn’t waste your time this summer debating the outcome!
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Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com