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02nd Dec 2016

Boxer’s camp claims race is the only reason for interest in Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather

"It's a black-and-white issue!"

Darragh Murphy

In spite of all of the fascinating fights lined up in both boxing and MMA, all that anybody has been talking about this week is the meeting of those worlds via the much publicised super-fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.

The rumour mill on the cross-sport clash, which has been discussed for almost a year, kicked up a gear on Thursday when news broke that McGregor had been granted a boxing licence by the California State Athletic Commission.

A Las Vegas sportsbook even released odds on the hypothetical boxing match, with Mayweather an understandably clear favourite to beat ‘The Notorious’ and go 50-0 as a pro.

Mayweather promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe offered his opinion on the bout and claimed that it would never come to fruition, suggesting that the UFC brass had more sense than to embarrass their most reliable cash-cow by acquiescing to a fight against one of the most technical boxers of all time.

And while the pair may never actually stand facing one another from opposing corners, interest levels in seeing such a spectacle remain sky high.

McGregor vs Mayweather would break every gate and pay-per-view record in the book because of the intriguing nature of the potential match-up but the boxer’s camp has since claimed that the only reason anyone is interested in watching that fight is down to the fact that one fighter is black and the other is white.

“Call it was it is — it’s a black-and-white issue,” Ellerbe told ESPN. “The reason why it generates so much attention is because it’s a black-and-white issue. If we’re talking about Floyd against Anderson Silva, when he was No. 1, we wouldn’t be having this kind of conversation.”

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The majority of fight fans would argue that race plays no part in the equation and that the mystique comes from seeing two of the greatest talkers and masters of their respective crafts clash to see what would happen.

But while Ellerbe concedes that McGregor has decent boxing for a mixed martial artist, he is adamant that he would be made to look foolish if he dared cross Mayweather in the ring.

“He has a good little hand game, a superior hand game compared to the UFC fighters he is competing with but fighting Floyd Mayweather is a whole other story,” Ellerbe said. “That bullshit you’re throwing over there in UFC would get you killed against Floyd.”