This won’t take a minute.
Because tomes have already been written and endless terabytes of audio and video exhausted in the Cannonball Run-style sprint to offer THE OPINION about Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor Show of Shite, the less I pile onto the steaming heap the better. Still, there’s this:
It’s not a fight.
Tonight’s main event may be a spectacle, a farce, a money-grab, a put-on, a showcase, a grand dare or a syphilitic fever dream from a Bill Veeck mockumentary—perhaps even all of the above. What it has no business being called, however, is a fight.
Mayweather-McGregor is no more a fight than an aardvark is an element of the periodic table. It is casting a jar of peanut butter in a Cobra reboot. It’s a manatee doing battle with a microwave in a game of Twister to the death.
Let’s be serious for a moment, though, shall we? Why not consider all the possibilities? What happens if, say, Mayweather—now 40 years old—gradually begins to gas out and McGregor—a southpaw, by the way—bides his time and finds a way to land a lucky—
GODDAMMIT, NO!!! Stop! Just stop it. I have more rational hopes for dumping 60 pounds, for the president being successfully impeached, and even for the publishing and widespread distribution of my yet-to-be-written Great American Novel. Forget spirited competition. This may be a public execution. In their first MMA match, McGregor was bombed by some dude named Nick Diaz. Now, mind you, Diaz is tougher than gristle. He is capable of feats of extreme sanctioned violence. But Diaz, like McGregor, is a mixed martial artist who has never fought a single professional boxing match in his career. Pluck either from the Octagon and drop him into a ring, and you have a greenskeeper golfing with landscaping tools. So how in the name of Primo Carnera is McGregor supposed to stand a chance against Mayweather, a generational talent, an all-time great and inarguably one of the best defensive boxers the sport has known?
Funny thing: For all Mayweather’s abilities, his most valuable gift has been revealed over time to be a deft matchmaking touch. For roughly the past decade and a half, Floyd, without fail, fights only on his terms. He fights who, where and when he wants—all in the name of preserving his undefeated record and the veneer of invincibility he believes the numbers in those two columns confer him. For our purposes, it matters not at all whether this approach is cowardly, disrespectful to fans, legacy-tarnishing or whatever your preferred Molotov cocktail critique to lob at Mayweather. It’s business. And Floyd’s business is really, really good.
He didn’t end his two-year retirement to lose. He didn’t choose McGregor as his opponent to fail. He didn’t carefully curate the rules of this event in his favor to stumble now. And for all the talk of his WWE background and the wink-wink prospect of “engineering” a rematch—and thus a second obscene payday—with a vaudevillian dive, Mayweather didn’t come this far to have a defeat tacked onto his record by a mouthy, preening Affliction T-shirt brought to life.
If you stumble off the street and into a tavern where the Show of Shite happens to be airing on the tube in some dusty corner of the bar, by all means, feel free to stare into the abyss. If your buddy purchases the pay-per-view, invites you to the crib and happens to have a fridge full of decent craft beer, go on: be social. But if you take a single step off the path of your regularly scheduled Saturday night, or if you contribute a solitary dime toward this Show of Shite, just know this: You’re exactly the sucker these two goddamn fools—and their cynical, sticky-fingered minions—have been pandering to all along.