With the proposed superfight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor slowly becoming something of a reality, I feel it’s a good time to wonder at exactly how the fight will go down and how each possible scenario could affect the world of combat sports as we know it.
It’s time to stop pretending, people! There is now a very good chance that we may end up seeing the sport of boxing’s biggest PPV draw, Floyd “Money” Mayweather come out of retirement and take on the sport of mixed martial art’s biggest draw, Conor McGregor, in a match-up that would mark Floyd’s 50th and Conor’s first fight in professional boxing.
The reason this contest is even being discussed is simple – money talks, and if there’s one thing these two guys do better than anyone else in their respective sports of choice, it’s making money.
There’s a very real chance that this match – if signed – would break PPV records and surpass even the ridiculously popular and financially lucrative 2015 bout between Manny Pacquiao and the man himself, Mayweather. To put this pair on the same billing would combine the audiences of the two sports in a way that has pretty much never been done before (to this extent) and despite the obvious gap in experience and technical skill in the sport of boxing that is evident, you can be damn sure that these two guys would make every second of the build-up unlike anything we’ve seen to date.
It’s completely ludicrous, I know, but seeing as we’re now on the cusp of this frankly ridiculous bout, why not have a little fun with it and try and predict exactly how each possible outcome in this fight will affect the landscape of the sporting world in the months after all is said and done.
Outcome #1 – Floyd Mayweather dominates Conor McGregor over 12 rounds, makes him miss often and, ultimately, forces him to leave the ring looking just a tiny bit foolish.
For the McGregor fans out there (and I assure you I’m one), this is definitely one of the more likely scenarios to emerge from this saga. Mayweather would go out there and show the world exactly why he’s one of the greatest and most technically sound to ever compete, and McGregor, with his limited experience in the boxing ring, would fail to connect as so many like him have failed to in the past.
It’s not that there’s anything embarrassing about all of this, but for those who tuned in and subscribed to the months and months of build-up and ‘will they? won’t they?’ chatter, the feeling a fight like this would leave in the hearts of those who hoped and dreamed would be an empty one.
Mayweather would ride off into the sunset with yet another huge paycheck, a perfect 50-0 record and nobody else to coax him out of his retirement. His win over McGregor would perhaps not go down as the greatest or most impressive moment of his career but it would definitely settle the long-lasting argument over the differences between boxing and MMA and for that the boxer would earn the praises of those who always knew better than to bet on the brawler with no true boxing experience at that level.
McGregor would likely return to the UFC, not overly diminished but most certainly deflated somewhat. He will, of course, have earned himself a huge paycheck as well and could at least hold his head high at the fact that he did what virtually no-one else in his sport could arouse enough public interest to do. He’d probably face off against the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson and with only a few fights of any interest left within the sport of MMA, he’d also retire after settling some old scores but would never compete in a bout of that magnitude again.
Outcome #2 – Floyd Mayweather wins the fight by decision but Conor McGregor fights a better fight than anyone thought he would.
This one is the classic ”Rocky” scenario, where the underdog doesn’t quite come away with the win but the moral victory is in the performance given on the night. McGregor, who never boxed professionally in his life, manages to give one of the greatest to ever do it a good scrap, and though this is still quite unlikely given their respective resumés, this is perhaps the prediction that the McGregor faithful are clinging to as one that is more grounded than their man actually bringing home gold.
Floyd would of course still come away with his perfect record intact but now, the fans would inevitably clamour to see the rematch – assuming that the bout itself was more thrilling than the Pacquiao one. There would definitely be some pride hurt on Mayweather’s side but in saying that McGregor would now be able to claim beyond any doubt that he is indeed a very special fighter (for those who still deny him that honour).
McGregor, just like in the previous scenario, would return to the UFC like before, but now would come back with even more notoriety than he had prior to fighting Floyd. With a lightweight title to defend, a score to settle with Nate Diaz and god knows what else on the horizon, this could well be about as much as he can hope for with this one.
But, of course, nothing is certain.
Outcome #3 – Floyd Mayweather completely outclasses Conor McGregor, makes the difference in quality very apparent and then knocks him out.
This would be a tough pill to swallow and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility either. Mayweather’s power isn’t the most devastating these days but since we’re in the business of throwing scenarios out there, this is one that deserves to be mentioned.
Floyd could knock McGregor out. The skill difference could be greater than perhaps anyone in the McGregor camp could care to admit and we – the audience – would be treated to a contest between an amateur boxer and an undefeated world champion.
This outcome would definitely end all crossover talk between boxing and MMA (similar to how James Toney quickly learnt the differences with some help from Randy Couture). It would stand as a lesson to those who follow that these two sports are completely different and despite Conor’s unquestionable status as an elite striker in MMA, it would make little to no difference in the ring with Floyd.
For those with any sense, this wouldn’t completely ruin the notoriety that comes with McGregor’s persona but you can be guaranteed the detractors would never let him live it down. He could, of course, bounce back in emphatic fashion in the UFC, but the memory of what happened in his defining moment would not ever be erased from his legacy.
Outcome #4 – Conor McGregor knocks Floyd Mayweather out.
This has maybe a per cent chance of happening, or perhaps even a one per cent chance. If McGregor went out there to dance with Floyd as he attempted to realise his intention of ending his unbeaten career on an even milestone and then McGregor knocked him out… the world as we know it would be unrecognisable.
It took me just about five minutes to write the above paragraph because I literally cannot even fathom how insane it would be if McGregor managed to knock out Mayweather in his 50th fight. It would bring countless grown men to tears and all the notions people had about what they knew to be concrete and certain would crumble in an instant.
In all seriousness, if McGregor KO’d Mayweather, one of the biggest stars on the planet would be born. Not just in boxing or in MMA, or even in sport, but in the world, full stop. There would need to be extensive renovation done on every single Mac-Mansion to allow the monstrously inflated head of the Irishman McGregor to pass comfortably through each one of its many doorways and from there, he probably wouldn’t really need to return to the UFC. It would all be a step down from this.
I know this is a crazy and outlandish thought and a very unlikely scenario but this is a think-piece and all possible outcomes must be accounted for.
It’s hard to know exactly how this entire saga will play out, but if these two massive forces do indeed meet inside the boxing ring, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the ride and let the fight go as it may.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena