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04th Jul 2017

If Floyd Mayweather fools us again with Conor McGregor, shame on us

How quickly people forget

Ben Kiely

Is Floyd Mayweather selling ‘wolf tickets’ again?

It hasn’t been that long since the ‘Fight of the Century’ between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao had the masses cursing themselves for believing the hype.

While the 4.6 million people who parted with their hard-earned cash solidified its position as the biggest fight of the last 100 years, the general consensus was that it was a massive let-down.

Mayweather cruised to a unanimous decision landing almost twice as many punches as ‘Pac-Man’. Whether you want to blame the torn rotator cuff, the fight being booked too late into both of their careers or just Mayweather’s exceptional defensive skills, the end product was undoubtedly disappointing.

If the purse he earned was directly linked to the entertainment level of the fans, he would not have come close to the estimated $250 million payout. The buy rates were so high because it was sold so well, and Mayweather already has his salesman hat on for August 26.

Labelling McGregor as a ‘tough competitor’ and calling himself an ‘old legend’ who has declined over the past five years is all designed to promote one way of thinking. It’s in Mayweather’s best interest to make everyone believe that McGregor can beat him, even if he quietly knows that he hasn’t got a hope.

Mayweather’s outclassed far superior boxers than McGregor. He has made elite athletes who’ve dedicated their lives to the art of landing punches miss frequently. He has nullified knockout artists’ greatest weapons by his elusiveness.

Every time Mayweather has set foot in the boxing ring as a professional pugilist, there has been an air of inevitability that the victory is coming his way. This time is no different, but he wants everyone tuning in to feel that this is one of the greatest challenges he’s ever faced.

Mayweather trying to break Rocky Marciano’s record by taking on a debutant could be construed as the most shameless cash-grab in sporting history. However, it would be unfair to be as cynical about McGregor’s motivations for pursuing the fight.

While it certainly feels like McGregor is using the event to try to replace Mayweather as the PPV Messiah of sports, everything we’ve seen from ‘the Notorious’ shows that he has the utmost faith in his ability to achieve the impossible.

Owen Roddy is confident in the game plan developed in SBG, John Kavanagh flashes a wide smile whenever he talks about the ‘openings’ in Mayweather’s game and the calibre of sparring partners being brought in all suggest they’re not sending their man out to lose.

There’s also the small matter of that tweet McGregor hit send on way before the diamond-encrusted panty night was even considered a possibility. It’s difficult to ignore his suggestion that there is perhaps a non-traditional boxing style could be his kryptonite.

It is understandable to expect such a rare match-up to produce something unusual. So there is no shame in having that feeling, even if it’s only a small one, that McGregor is going to show something special that Mayweather’s never seen before. do so at your own peril.

But, do so at your own peril.

There is a genuine risk of the believers having a collective ‘Of course!’ moment if Mayweather does what is expected of him and makes light work of the UFC superstar. His praise of McGregor’s boxing ability could end up sounding very silly if a fresh-faced Mayweather free of damage exits the T-Mobile Arena pushing a solid gold wheelbarrow filled with cash.

It would be the greatest troll job since… well, 2015’s ‘Fight of the Century’.