On August 26, 2017, a lifeline was given to the sport of boxing. Floyd Mayweather took on new comer to the sport but still an accomplished MMA (mixed-martial arts) fighter, Connor McGregor in one of the most entertaining, and profitable sporting events, not just boxing, to date. Giving the sport of boxing a worldwide stage and recognition of which it hadn’t seen in a while.
Dubbed the “money fight” by promoters, the fight was widely anticipated since its announcing in early June 2017. It was an intriguing matchup one the world hadn’t really seen before. In one corner, you had the legend himself, Floyd Mayweather Jr, a 49-0 boxer, going for the all-time undefeated wins record with a win and with pockets as far as the eye could see (according to Forbes, he has a net worth of 400 million dollars) and another paycheck of a grand magnitude on the way after the fight. And on the other side you had Connor McGregor, whom was making his boxing debut but was already a decorated UFC champion in the MMA world. McGregor is known for his trash talking abilities and before the fight declared he would knock Floyd out in the 4th round or less.
McGregor of course was the underdog, which a lot of people gravitated to him because of that, but in this fight but once the opening bell one it looked like he was right at home in the boxing ring. In the 1st round he landed a couple clean punches on Mayweather, who could be seen visibly affected by them. The fighting was well paced and entertaining throughout the fight and ended in an exciting finish. In the 10th round Floyd Mayweather would connect a 3-punch combination on McGregor thus having the referee to stop the fight and declare a knockout victory for Mayweather. It was a great fight on both sides and the numbers say fans loved every second of it.
The numbers show the fight lived up to its “Money Fight” billing. Floyd Mayweather took home a guaranteed $100 million dollars while McGregor took home an estimated $30 million in guaranteed money, according to ESPN. The fans were also gravitated by this spectacle. According to USA Today the fight had 4.4 million pay-per-view buys, which is good for 2nd all time, with a record 3 million people watching the fight on illegal streaming platforms. According to ESPN this was the most bet on fight of all-time, a staggering $85 million dollars was bet. The fight had the attention of the world and delivered on the biggest stage it had in years.
No, this was not a matchup of heavyweights and big names like before, like Ali or a Mike Tyson or Holyfield, but it did get the world buzzing about the fight due to the charisma and promotion of the participants and the uniqueness of the opponents.
The sport was in a bad place prior to the fight. Ratings were down and judge corruption was becoming a ramped problem. People were shying away from the sport and gravitating towards other things. The sport of boxing was an afterthought for many people.
Mayweather vs. McGregor proved the contrary, that boxing can still be a big-time spectacle and captivate audiences worldwide.
The sport of boxing still lives.