Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor. Simply uttering it aloud is enough to make most boxing fans cock an eyebrow, even if casual fans have grown accustomed to the spectacle by now.
It’s convenient to immediately seize upon analogies involving NFL quarterbacks battling tennis stars in a swimming pool, or golfers playing pro baseball. They’re not wrong in tone, because Mayweather-McGregor surely has become a runaway carriage — only on fire and engulfing everything it touches in flame. But they’re still off slightly.
After all, in a sport where nearly any fight could be abruptly and irrevocably ended with a punch or so, the proverbial “puncher’s chance” can never be truly ignored. In that sense, Mayweather-McGregor could be described as a world class off-road car racer stepping into stock car racing at the highest level possible; victory is attainable because the basic foundation is there, but exceedingly unlikely due to the specialization required to have sustained success in the latter.
Plus McGregor looks like a flailing epileptic when doing boxing exercises.
In context, this is a very good mixed martial artist making his professional boxing debut against one of the greatest fighters of the last 20 years. While Mayweather hasn’t had a pro fight in almost two years, McGregor hasn’t had one in 29.
It’s a strange event to have to take seriously, and one of the most cynical takes on boxing possible. But whether we wanted it or not, it’s here. And, heaven help us, but we’ll preview it.
But there was real boxing on ESPN last weekend, and Terence Crawford’s crunching win over Julius Indongo challenged a number of boxing fans and pundits to reassess their pound-for-pound lists. Or it simply made them take notice of a very good fighter nipping at the heels of a thick welterweight division.