Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced March 11 that he would come out of retirement to fight one man and one man only — Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor. While the details of the fight — the date, money and location — are still being discussed, UFC President Dana White recently expressed his optimism — an optimism that I share — that the fight will come to fruition.
I am not even a fan of the UFC or boxing, but I want to see this fight happen as soon as possible. The fight could deliver Floyd Mayweather a much-needed loss. It’s no secret that the undefeated 40-year-old has a history of domestic violence. He has been convicted of assault, battery and similar charges several times — behavior that clearly has no place in sports.
Thankfully, McGregor’s out-of-arena antics only go as far as trash talking — a contrast with Mayweather and Pacquiao. He is the clear choice in this fight. Nobody should ever support Mayweather, given his personal issues. Plus, who wants to root for someone who has lost zero times in his career?
The highly-anticipated Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing match two years ago was extremely disappointing given the build-up, prize money and the fighters in the ring. For a fight billed as the “fight of the century,” the fight failed to live up to the hype in every sense. Mayweather, still undefeated in his career, against Pacquiao, fighter of the decade according to the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA), looked more like a drunken slap fight or two brothers fighting over a video game before being separated by their mother. Hardly the stuff of a high-profile fight. Instead of throwing punches and trying to knock out his opponent, Mayweather ran around the ring and made contact with Pacquiao only when he was certain to land a punch. The proposed McGregor-Mayweather fight has the potential to put that fight to shame and, more importantly, put Mayweather in his place: on his backside.
The saving grace of a potential McGregor-Mayweather fight is that there is nowhere for Mayweather to run in a fight against the Irishman. McGregor’s background as a mixed martial artist gives him the edge against a boxer who decided to run around the ring to defeat his opponents via technicalities.
Prior to the 2015 Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, McGregor claimed that if he were to fight — not box — against Mayweather, he could win in under 30 seconds. There are elements of boxing in mixed martial arts, but McGregor does not focus on a singular component of fighting in the ring.
“I don’t look at a man who’s expert in one area as a specialist. I look at him as a rookie in 10 other areas,” McGregor said.
Even McGregor’s coach — a long-time student of the physics of human combat — does not know how McGregor is able to hit as hard as he does. McGregor is not your average modern athlete. Some athletes are true celebrities: Tom Brady, Ronda Rousey and Cristiano Ronaldo, for example. Then, there are athletes like McGregor.
“I’m not a celebrity,” McGregor said in a recent interview with GQ. “I break people’s faces for money and bounce.”
If McGregor fights and defeats Mayweather, he will become one of the greatest fighters of all time. Not quite Muhammad Ali great, but great nonetheless. He already has an impressive résumé for any mixed-martial arts fighter, amassing 21 wins and just three losses in 24 fights. Defeating Mayweather will only add to his legacy.
Owen Hill is a senior economics major, Chinese studies minor. He also serves as a sports editor for The Weekly, and can be reached at [email protected]