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A Success, Not A Circus

by Paul Duckworth

As Jimmy Lennon Jr announced Floyd Mayweather as the victor via a 10th round stoppage, normality was resumed. The fight followed a wild, unpredictable build up, that was successful in captivating the public imagination, and for putting over the belief that Conor McGregor despite it being his professional boxing debut could be the man to defeat Floyd Mayweather. He was not.

Ironically despite all the talk of money during the four-cities-in-four-days-world-tour, performed to sell out arenas, the T mobile arena on fight night was reportedly 5000 seats short of being a sellout, and PPV issues in America meant that paying customers were allegedly unable to watch the fight despite shelling out 100 dollars for the privilege.

Considering McGregor himself was  in receipt of welfare benefits as recently as four years ago, perhaps more consideration to affordable pricing could have ensured a sell out crowd enabling people from all walks of life an opportunity to purchase a ticket.

McGregor explained after the fight that he had decided to swap his "Ric Flair" gown in preference to the tri colours of the Irish flag because it "felt right". In comparison Mayweather came down sporting a balaclava/ black robe seemingly relaxed and at ease throughout the introductions. During the referee’s instructions, McGregor appeared somewhat pensive, his eyes fixed on his foe.

Every attempt to emphasise McGregor as a legitimate threat was maintained right until the opening bell. Jimmy Lennon Jr stating that the "hard hitting, top attraction of the UFC was no stranger to the ring" whilst 74 year old Hall of fame referee Robert Byrd reminded both "world championship professional fighters" of their responsibility to abide by Queensbury rules.

The fight itself would perhaps always struggle to live upto the hype created but many were surprised at just how well McGregor fared in the opening rounds, despite not coming close to fulfilling his prediction of an early knockout. The Irishman did land an eye catching uppercut in round one, but Mayweather soaked up the early pressure before taking advantage of the fatigue that became evident on the night from round 6 onwards.

During rounds Mayweather was smiling at the cameras, coolness personified. By contrast McGregor was  breathing heavily; receiving ice packs to his back and chest.Conor highlighted in his post fight speech  that a major factor in Mayweather’s success was his ability to maintain composure, whilst being honest enough to admit his cardio issues hampered his chances.

In contrast to the build up the post fight conference was the polar opposite, both men complimentary and respectful even embracing as so often happens in these billed "grudge matches". So far the fallout from this extravaganza has been generally positive, in terms of boxing it wasn't a total mismatch but the expected winner did eventually prevail and via knockout, and without McGregor hitting the canvas so somewhat saving face.

McGregor didn't seem to carry the power to trouble Mayweather but did showcase skills enough to make Mayweather appear all of his forty years of age at times. Floyd was clearly off with his timing early on, as anyone would be after being away from the ring for two years and after reportedly not sparing in the last few weeks leading up to the fight due to his apparent hand issues.

When Dana White was asked about the possibility of his heavyweights being involved in another crossover event he was dismissive. Mayweather admitted he had chosen the correct "dance partner" and few can argue otherwise in terms of ensuring the event was a spectacle without really offering any major risk to his record whilst also guaranteeing a massive financial return.

A confidentiality agreement will ensure that the actual numbers will not be known but estimated figures believe Mayweather earned $100 million dollars (£77.4million pounds) and McGregor $30 million dollars (£23.2 million pounds) plus both fighters will benefit from a portion of the $700 million dollars (£543 million pounds) of the ppv revenue thought to be a 70/30 split in favour of Mayweather. Mayweather has since announced his retirement and with a record of 50 wins from 50 fights (27 KOs) he will now ride off into the boxing sunset, laden with gold.

McGregor hasn't damaged his reputation and has an option to return to boxing to potentially face Paulie Malignaggi on St Patrick’s day 2018, although firstly surely a return to the UFC to complete the trilogy with Nate Diaz would be another blockbuster event. There is also the option to tap into the Russian UFC market and take on Khabib Nurmagomedov, another surefire moneymaker.

Talk at the post match conference was of his Conor’s into the Irish whisky business, proving that he isn't just a fighter but a businessman, a trait that has earned Mayweather millions. Some are relieved that it is all over, and whichever way you feel the event was a success for everyone involved and not the circus act that some predicted.

Posted: 1st Sep 2017

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