It’s time for some Boxing Trivia. The answers will follow the questions. Try not to look up the answers on the internet. Here we go:
Okay. Here are the answers:
- Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor; 2. Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor; 3. Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor; 4. Floyd Mayweather Jr.; 5.. Conor McGregor; 6. Conor McGregor; 7. Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor; 8. Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor; 9. Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor.
I know you aced that quiz. Don’t you wish all your tests were that tough!
The record books will show that on August 26, 2017, Floyd Mayweather Jr. stopped Conor McGregor in the 10th round.
Upon closer look, one will see that Mayweather went into the fight with a record of 49-0. McGregor went in making his debut. It was a mismatch from the very first time it was mentioned. But it was a (mis)match made in Promoter’s Heaven. It was a (mis)match sold on social media. The overall numbers were staggering:
- The PPV fight was second only to Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao (4.6 million) in the number of worldwide views (4.3 million).
- The fight, held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, attracted a live crowd of 13,094, contributing to a live gate of $55,414,865.
- Mayweather’s guarantee was an astouding $100 million, while the debuting (as a boxer) McGregor was guaranteed $30 million. With sponsorships, endorsements and other revenue streams thrown in, Mayweather’s numbers were closer to $275 million and McGregor’s closer to $85 million.
Now, after a crushing, 40-second stoppage of “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone on Saturday night, the chances are excellent that Mayweather-McGregor II will happen later this year. Here we go again!
There are numerous questions to be asked as Mayweather-McGregor II is discussed. In fact, there are more questions now than when the first (mis)match took place.
To start with, the first fight WAS a mismatch. It was a mismatch on paper going into the fight and it was a mismatch throughout the fight. The only part of the promotion which wasn’t a mismatch were the press conferences. In those face-to-face collisions, McGregor won. He sold the fight. He sold his chances for victory.
The opening odds on the fight were head-shaking—but closer to reality than the closing odds. When bets were first taken on the fight, Mayweather was a prohibitive favorite—as much as a minus-2250 favorite. McGregor was a +950 underdog. However, as the fight drew closer, the money on McGregor and his (non)chance of winning grew larger and larger. The odds closed. At the opening bell, Mayweather was anywhere from minus-375 to minus-350. McGregor was no longer thought of (especially by the cheering, supportive, believing MMA World) having no chance. He closed at around +250. Even McGregor’s chances of winning by a knockout was only +350 instead of +1000, which it was weeks earlier.
As I did my own workouts in gyms around the country, I found that MMA fans were overwhelming in their choice for McGregor. (EDITOR NOTE: Pundits too. Look how very wrong Brendan Schaub was.) Boxing fans, although not as overwhelmingly in favor of Mayweather as MMA fans were for McGregor, some still were looking at McGregor as a very dangerous foe. McGregor’s minions, however, were vocal and confident of McGregor’s chance to win.
“Mayweather has never faced such an aggressive fighter as McGregor,” one MMA practitioner said to me.
“Mayweather is not going to be able to keep McGregor off of him,” said another.
To the former I answered, “And McGregor has never faced someone as elusive as Mayweather.” To the latter I said, “McGregor is not going to get remotely close—unless Mayweather allows him to get close.”
I found that the MMA World was thinking with its heart. The Boxing World was thinking with its head. But they all found the fight compelling. It was an event they had to see. It was an event they had to watch.
The discussion of “Can an MMA fighter beat a boxer?” has been raised, asked, questioned and debated for years. The answer is simple. Here it is:
In an MMA fight, a world-class MMA practitioner will always beat a boxer. He or she is trained in many different disciplines (striking, grappling, kicks, knees, elbows, choke holds, etc.). In a boxing match, a world-class boxer will win probably 99 out of 100 matches. Somewhere in there, the MMA fighter does have a puncher’s chance of finding his/her opponent’s weak spot, be it their body or chin. With Mayweather v McGregor, the realists knew that McGregor wasn’t going to nail Mayweather and knock him out. The MMA World didn’t have the percentage of realists as did the Boxing World. So, the MMA World’s appetite for the fight was tremendous.
The fight intrigued me.
This was partially because, just two weeks later, a very interesting boxing match was taking place. It would be for the Middleweight Championship of the World, between the unbeaten champion, Gennady Golovkin and once-beaten Canelo Alvarez. The fight promised to be packed with action and drama. Another reason the Mayweather-McGregor (mis)match intrigued me was because of the amount of calls Gerry Cooney and I were receiving on our SiriusXM show from both boxing fans and MMA fans. We asked “Will you be buying both fights?” In most cases, their answer was, “No.”
They would be purchasing just one of those fights: The Mayweather-McGregor fight. The going price was $89.95, plus $10 more for the pleasure of viewing the fight in high definition. Fans were flocking—like a Fan Tsunami,” towards the Mayweather-McGregor (non)fight.
I began calling it the “Pet Rock.”
The “Pet Rock” was a fad item, created in 1975 by Gary Dahl, an advertising executive. After hearing many of his friends complain about their pets being sick and having to clean up after them and walk them at all hours of the day and night and put them in kennels when going on vacation, he got the unique idea of making a smooth rock, which he saw in abundance on a beach in Mexico, into a pet. Facetiously and matter-of-factly he said “You don’t have to feed it, walk it or take it to a vet or kennel. Your pet will never die.” He even created a cardboard carrying case for it, complete with straw (to keep it warm and comfortable) and circular holes (so it could “breathe”). Sold in department stores around the country during the Christmas 1975 season for anywhere between $4-$6, Dahl sold over 1 million Pet Rocks. Can you imagine that many people buying a Pet Rock??!!
Well, 4.3 million people bought 2017’s version of the Pet Rock. They bought Mayweather-McGregor. It was sold as a real boxing match, the top boxer against the top MMA artist. I didn’t buy the Pet Rock in 1975 because I remember thinking, “Why are these people buying rocks? What am I going to do with a rock?” In 2017, I didn’t buy Mayweather v McGregor because I thought “This fight is going to be a joke. McGregor stands no chance of winning. It won’t be close and it won’t be competitive.” Yet, as I took phone calls on my show and worked out in many different gyms in my travels covering boxing, I found fans of both boxing and MMA—combat fans—were buying the fight in overwhelming numbers. And they weren’t paying from $4-$6. They were paying between $89.95-$99.95. Now, that was a stroke of genius for the promoters all the fighters. They had marketed and sold a fight which had as much chance of being competitive as a Pet Rock does of barking (or whatever rocks do) when it wants to be taken for a walk or have its belly scratched!
With Conor McGregor looking phenomenal in putting away shopworn Donald Cerrone away in 40 seconds, the creation and sale of “Pet Rock II” is on.
I can hear the promotion now:
“Conor McGregor is just 31 years old. He is in his prime.”
“Floyd Mayweather is 42 years old. He hasn’t fought in nearly three years.”
“We know what we have to do to beat Mayweather. There’s no secret he doesn’t like pressure. That’s all he’ll see from me now.”
McGregor could take a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov (who beat him in October 2018) or Jorge Masvidal (who owns the UFC record for the fastest knockout, at 5 seconds). Why should he? A rematch against an aging Mayweather will be eaten up, swallowed and digested by the combat world even more than the first fight was.
Yes, 2020 is here. So is the Pet Rock II.
Will you be one of the millions to buy it?
I think you will!
EDITOR NOTE 2: I recommend Gordon’s book, “Glove Affair,” in which he shares about his six decades in the fight game. Fun read!