Just when you think professional fighting can’t sink any lower, here comes Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor with the scam of the century.
To consider this travesty of a mockery of a sham an actual sporting event is to insult everyone who ever laced up gloves.
Mayweather, a once-great boxer and always-awful human being, will pad his record to 50-0 by outpointing a mixed martial arts performer who has never fought outside the rules of the Octagon. Vegas posted odds of 7/1 for Mayweather, and people who know the sport far better than I say that’s a sucker’s bet.
Ah, but this really isn’t about an actual competitive fight. As three cross-continental spectacles showed last week, this is about sinking beneath the dignity of Chris Christie to motivate people to spend $99.99.
So Mayweather and McGregor snorted and screamed, slashing with racism and homophobia and every other hateful invective that fighting considers gamesmanship. Other sports would suspend participants for such ugliness. But here, tugging on your crotch is considered strategy.
Listen, I was a boxing fan from the first time I saw Muhammad Ali and while I rarely watch MMA, I don’t question the toughness of its competitors.
I’m also realistic enough that I don’t hold either sport up to Marquess of Queensberry standards. I remember the undignified way Ali taunted Joe Frazier by waving a toy gorilla. And I’ve seen Mike Tyson threaten to eat the children of opponents. But this low-rent peep show is 10,000 feet beneath even those tawdry episodes.
No one is guiltier for boxing’s demise than the 40-year-old Mayweather. He has made a career of avoiding credible opponents until they’re using a walker. He hasn’t knocked anyone out since 2011. His behavior makes Tyson seem like the Pope. He hasn’t fought in two years and may only be doing this because the IRS recently hit him with a $29 million tax lien.
McGregor’s best hope is to catch Mayweather with a surprise punch early. He’s more aggressive than anyone Mayweather has fought in years, and he’s a lefty, which is always tricky. There’s no way he has the stamina to win late rounds when Mayweather is likely just to flash jabs and win a decision by 1,000 paper cuts.
As I said, Floyd wouldn’t have taken this fight unless he knew he would win. That’s how he’s run his career.
The once-Sweet Science has nothing left worth selling. There hasn’t been a pay-per-view fight that lived up to its hype since — I don’t know, Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear? Most sports fans can’t tell you the current heavyweight champ (Trick question: There are four separate no-names recognized by different governing bodies).
So the sport has to lean on its sleazy little brother, MMA, for hype. Mayweather and McGregor are the carnies, ready to take your crumbled bills to show you the lurid sights behind the tent curtain.
Trust me, there’s nothing there worth seeing.