Floyd Mayweather Proves Ringleader of Boxing’s Greatest Sideshow Circus



Floyd Mayweather Proves Ringleader of Boxing’s Greatest Sideshow Circus


Mayweather-McGregor is finally over. It was a circus act nobody wanted to see, but it came to town anyway so people decided to watch it. Luckily for us, it turned out to be a pretty fun night.

Unlike when Hachaliah Bailey established the first American circus in 1806, the main attraction wasn’t an elephant named “Old Bet” and the playbill also did not include trained dogs, pigs or horses. Instead, this boxing circus employed Floyd Mayweather, the 40-year-old old boxing bet that keeps on winning no matter what, against Conor McGregor, a 29-year-old mixed martial artists who was decidedly not trained quite well enough as a boxer to defeat boxing’s best.

Not animals in the traditional sense of the word, the main attractions of the evening were men, though you might not have realized it during the promotion of the fight. Perhaps gentlemen fighters are a thing of the past. Here, in one corner, Mayweather, a man whose ethics revolve around how much cash he can pull out of his backpack at any given time to lord over the masses and how many strip clubs he can frequent from training camp to fight week. In the other corner, a cauliflower-eared misfit named McGregor, 12 years younger, who you might believe grew up idolizing Mayweather if it wasn’t for the racially charged insults he hurled at him before the two met center stage on fight day.

Replete with its own theme song given to the promotion by American rock band, The Killers, along with a make-believe championship belt encrusted with 3,600 diamonds, it was less of a great fight and more of a spectacular event than anything else and in the end the night turned out just about as everyone expected. Mayweather, the ringleader—a modern day P.T. Barnum—performed as he always does: cold, efficient and effective. Better yet, he was composed.

McGregor did his best once the bell rang to do the undoable: outbox Mayweather. He threw all sorts of punches at Mayweather during the first half of the fight. Most all of them were blocked, but McGregor was effective at landing some clean shots here and there early on in the bout against Mayweather who seemed content walking the larger man down.

In the end, it was the diminutive Mayweather walking straight toward McGregor, never backing up an inch with McGregor moving backward becoming increasingly tired and ultimately punch drunk by the time the fight was stopped in Round 10.

McGregor as a boxer was a strange animal. He threw punches from unexpected stances and angles, and at times he couldn’t help himself with hammer fists down atop Mayweather head, an illegal punch in boxing. And while McGregor did his best impersonation of a real boxer for as long as he could, once the bell rings on fight night there is a marked difference between an imposter and the real thing. As spirited an effort as he gave, McGregor isn’t quite the real thing—at least not yet. Should he decide to ditch the MMA scene and focus on professional boxing, one certainly must admit he has a bright future despite the knockout loss.  

Mayweather, on the other hand, has always been the real thing. He might not be the greatest show on earth, fighting most always in the cautious, risk reduced method for which he’s become famous, but he’s most certainly been one of the most effective winners in all of boxing history.

Mayweather is now 50-0, a record that might go unmatched for decades.

Truth be told, this was not vintage Mayweather. Decidedly no cautious, he was ever moving forward. Mayweather seemed almost lackadaisical in moving his feet and looked to be gunning for the late round knockout from the start.

Who knows the real Floyd Mayweather?

Perhaps all the hoopla and bravado he does everywhere except inside a boxing ring hides his true authentic self. Having spent at least a few moments with him on two separate occasions, I can attest to him not being at all what he seems when the camera turns on. He’s downright polite, if not even a little too needy in want of acceptance and praise from others. Perhaps the aggressive approach he used in this last fight was a final grand play for exactly that.

McGregor accounted very well for himself in the boxing ring. Many have tabbed him the UFC’s version of Mayweather, but it didn’t matter all that much by Round 10. For it was the older sport and older fighter teaching the bright-eyed, bushy tailed youngster one of life’s most important lessons.

Never try to beat a man at his own game.

For in all Mayweather has ever done, he has never put himself in position to be embarrassed like McGregor did. He has never talked himself into a fight he couldn’t possibly win. He has never allowed himself to be seen in a place he might be undressed and humiliated on a worldwide stage.

He has never bitten off more than he can chew.

Because Mayweather is and will always be boxing’s master ringleader. He is the man in charge of the game, however silly and outlandish that game might be. He is the one who makes the bears dance, commands the dogs to fetch bowling pins and corrals the pigs to build a pyramid for all of us to see.

And how silly and outlandish can Mayweather’s circus really be if millions of people end up paying $100 to watch it on television anyway? Didn’t you see those outlandish ticket prices? Didn’t you catch Mayweather-McGregor fever, too?

Man, Mayweather knows how to put on a show.

Mayweather is the preeminent showman in all of sports, and while McGregor can slip off somewhere quiet now with more money in his pockets than he has ever made in his life, the best for which he can ever hope to be remembered—in the boxing world anyway if he goes back to MMA for good—is just another one of Mayweather’s circus minions, a man who was there to help his master put on a show but nothing more.


Kelsey McCarson covers boxing for NY Fights, The Sweet Science, and He also hosts a YouTube show about boxing with his wife, Rachel McCarson, called "Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel".