I’ve never seen Conor McGregor fight. I don’t watch or care about MMA. That’s not a statement about, or condemnation of, McGregor or MMA; it speaks only to my own preferences and biases.
So this is a piece I’d never have written without Deadspin or someone suggesting it to me and offering to pay me for it. I’d have ignored the fight otherwise.
But lately, at the urging of friends and as a requirement for writing this article, I’ve watched some videos of McGregor training and sparring in preparation for his upcoming fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. They baffle me. I can’t figure out whether McGregor is a deluded megalomaniac who actually believes he can box, a total beginner who doesn’t care that he can’t box, or a performance artist with an agenda, deliberately presenting himself as the least gifted, most buffoonish prizefighter imaginable as a way to fuck with Mayweather’s followers. It’s not just that he’s a novice; it’s that he’s a talentless novice. No one could have taught him to be a good fighter, no matter how early in his life they’d gotten him started.
I wonder whether if at some level McGregor’s supporters are in denial about how entirely his usual fighting options will be unavailable to him in this fight. If McGregor were confined solely to boxing, Mayweather’s dad, Floyd Mayweather Sr., now 64 years old, would kick the shit out of him.
The Score Floyd Mayweather May Be Too Dumb (Or Proud) To Make
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is the most successful fighter in boxing history. He’s a very good fighter, maybe even better than very good, but his success is predicated more on knowing how to call his own shots, astute matchmaking, an uncanny aptitude for reading the public, an unpleasant persona that guarantees that people will pay to see him get beat, and a cynicism for boxing fans that borders on contempt than on any extraordinary accomplishments in the ring.
If he didn’t care about the legacy he single-handedly constructed (and, as a brilliant con man playing out the string at the end of a long, long con, he shouldn’t care), his final stroke of genius would have been to bet against himself at the beginning of the odds cycle during the very brief time they were 225-1—before jackpot hunters and McGregor hysteria brought the line closer—and then lose the fight in a freakish manner that didn’t hurt his reputation or foreclose the possibility of a redemptive rematch and would allow him to walk away with an additional hundred million dollars or more.
That would be the ultimate fuck you. I don’t think Mayweather is smart enough or secure enough to pull it off.
I don’t know how much of this strange entertainment has been prearranged. Maybe none or maybe all. And maybe there’s a kind of compromise that allows both fighters to leave doors open and not lose face. The often prescient boxing writer Frank Lotierzo believes that Mayweather will allow McGregor to make it through the 12 rounds, enabling self-serving post-fight narratives from both parties.
Although history has taught me to disagree with Frank at my own peril, I don’t think Mayweather will let things go to the scorecards. Even though Mayweather himself is the architect of the TBE (“the best ever”) promotional tool, he’s a mark for that designation. It may be that he cares so much for his self-invented legacy that—no matter the incentive—his ego will not allow it to be tarnished beyond the obvious shine it loses just from agreeing to fight someone whose record is 0-0.
Make no mistake: If this fight is entirely on the level, Mayweather wins it any way he wants, any time he wants.
Some Boxing Statistics And Some Sour Grapes
Let me get this out of the way up front: I don’t begrudge a person earning their money. If that money is a fortune made by hoodwinking suckers, more power to the hustler. So I admire McGregor, to an extent. He’s done brilliantly on his own in MMA, and has now latched onto the tail of Mayweather’s GNP-level income comet, which will take him places unheard of in his own sport.
Still, because I grew up loving boxing, and in many ways continue to love it, I feel compelled to add a little context to what’s going on with McGregor.
The two greatest boxers who ever lived—take your pick as to which order they should be placed as long as we’re agreed that they’re numbers one and two—were Sugar Ray Robinson and Harry Greb.
Before his death at age 32, Harry Greb had at least 298 fights, of which he won 262 with 18 losses, about half of which were disputed. He drew 18 times, too.
Sugar Ray Robinson fought 200 times, winning 173, drawing six, and losing 19, all but one loss occurring when he was over the age of 30, and the last 10 after he’d passed 40.
That’s 498 fights between them, with 435 wins, 24 draws, and 37 losses.
In his fourth pro fight, Greb dropped a newspaper decision to Hooks Evans, who was 1-2 at the time (but 15-5-7 in the newspaper decision era). It’s the only defeat either he or Robinson had to anyone with a losing record.
Even taking into account inflation adjustments on the dollar, it’s a near certainty that the combined career ring earnings of Robinson and Greb will not equal what Conor McGregor will pull in for his first professional fight.
In that fight, he will (or should) suffer a knockout loss. Make of this all what you will.
Who’s Bringing These Odds Down?
Betting on a fight isn’t like betting on a horse race. The price you get represents what the odds were at the moment that you placed your bet. Subsequent fluctuations have no bearing on what your payoff will be. Typically, in an emotionally fraught “event” kind of fight, the odds will be fueled by hysteria, opening at something like true value, and then frantically adjusting back and forth as each side either revels in or panics at the numbers they’re seeing.
Obviously, the primary reason that the odds dropped from their opening line of 225-1 is because odds that wide inspire an onslaught of lottery betting. Thoughts of Buster Douglas at 42-1 leap to the minds of those wagering, along with freaky scenarios that produce a wildly improbable Conor McGregor result. Put another way, at 225-1 many people will bet on anything.
That’s nowhere near the only reason, however. This is one of those rare, emotionally charged fights where the underdog’s followers are nearly messianic in their fervor.
This hopeful statement is characteristic of how many of McGregor’s fans see him and his chances. “I believe in my gut.” I’m not dismissing the value of intuition, even as it applies to boxing matches. I’ll suggest, though, that it probably applies more reasonably to a fight like Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns than to one between an elite, undefeated boxer with genius-level matchmaking skills and a debuting opponent.
Still, I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot of “my gut says he’ll win” bets, and those will continue to bring the odds down.
Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor Fight
Odds: started at 225-1, currently 4-1 Mayweather
Mayweather’s masterpiece. TBE. The Best Ever, hands down. Forget Tex Rickard and Don King as promoters, Doc Kearns or Ray Arcel as managers, Bruce Trampler or Harry Markson as matchmakers, or Abe Attell or Frankie Carbo as fight-fixing gamblers; as great as they all were and are, Mayweather’s August 26th score eclipses anything anyone has done in boxing outside of the ring. If he doesn’t make another hundred million betting on the fight (one way or another), he will still walk away with more than $60 million for facing the single most ill-equipped, unprepared opponent a championship-caliber fighter has ever found in the opposite corner. Every wiseguy who has ever engineered a Help Yourself money grab is shaking his head in stunned admiration. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is the Sugar Ray Robinson of promoters, managers, and matchmakers. Mayweather vs McGregor
Post Source : www.deadspin.com
Author : Charles Farrell
Other Posts :
Floyd Mayweather Jr. Career Record
Conor McGregor Career Record
Mayweather vs McGregor: Fight date, venue, odds and more