Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor: Why the August 26 Superfight is Must See

So it’s actually, properly happening, in real life. Floyd Mayweather, Jr, versus Conor McGregor is no dream.

McGregor, UFC’s first dual-weight world champion, and undefeated boxer Mayweather will meet in Las Vegas on August 26 for a boxing superfight that not so long ago appeared a fantastical idea at best.

There are plenty of reasons to be cynical about a bout that appears, at least on the surface, to be about money first, ego second, and sport a distant third.

But there are also reasons to be excited, even if the action itself seems an interminably long way away right now. Here are some of the factors to look out for.

The intrigue of MMA vs boxing

Should Mayweather dance around McGregor and outpoint him by a wide margin—which seems the most likely result right now—Mixed Martial Arts is going to look pretty bad to a huge number of casual viewers on the world’s biggest stage.

That perception will be highly unfair, of course. McGregor would surely take Mayweather within a round or two were this a UFC venture. What said casual viewer will see, however, is the world’s most famous Mixed Martial Artist appearing technically inferior to the world’s most renowned professional boxer.

On the other hand… should McGregor land the sweet overhead left that has done for so many of his opponents in UFC, it’s boxing that looks terrible. Bear in mind that no boxer has knocked Mayweather down since Carlos Hernandez did it in 2001. McGregor’s movement will be unique among fighters Mayweather has faced and beaten but it would still be a shock, and a boon for MMA, if he stopped the American.

Money: Lots and lots of money

While the actual purse is the subject of a confidentiality clause, we do have UFC president Dana White’s words from April to fall back on. “If the fight sells as well as I think it can, Floyd makes a little north of $100 [million] and Conor makes $75 [million],” White told The Herd podcast.

As ever with a Mayweather fight, at least in the second half of his career, there is a lurid fascination with the vast sums of money that the fight will undoubtedly gross. Forbes predicts this could become the highest-grossing boxing match of all time, with both Mayweather and McGregor earning over $100 million for their efforts.

That’s music to the ears of Mayweather—whose nickname is “Money,” after all. And whether McGregor makes $75 million or $100 million or even more, this stands to be the biggest payday of his career by a distance.

Will Dana White’s gamble pay off?

It’s not just the fighters that have a lot riding on this fight. UFC president Dana White tweeted a smile on Monday evening to signal his delight at the deal being done, and there is no doubt that White stands to benefit from another significant move from MMA, and UFC, into the mainstream.

Equally, and aptly for a fight being held in “Sin City,” White has taken a gamble. McGregor—the undisputed face of UFC since Ronda Rousey lost her unbeatable aura—has not fought in UFC since he stopped Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt in November 2016.

White will make sure that the UFC name is prominent in the run-up to August 26 but by the time the dust has settled, it will have been almost ten months since McGregor last stepped into the Octagon. White says McGregor will turn around and fight again in UFC before the end of the year but that’s still a hefty period of inactivity for the face of a promotion.

Trash talking turned up to 11

Mayweather has perfected the art of luring people into parting with cash in the hope of seeing him get pummeled.

It’s a strategy that works, principally, because Mayweather is so good at selling an obnoxious personality. Without his ability to talk himself up, often in the third person, his supreme defensive skills would be admired by purists instead of infuriating those casual pay-per-view buyers who tune in to see him receive a comeuppance that never seems to arrive.

McGregor has something of Mayweather’s extraordinary brashness, though he’s an offensive fighter where Mayweather is the master at slipping punches for 12 rounds. We have already seen a little of what to expect from the build-up to the fight, when McGregor tweeted a picture of Floyd Mayweather Sr, Mayweather’s uncle, none too subtly suggesting that his 40-year-old opponent is over the hill.

The noise is only going to get louder over the next two months. Neither Mayweather or McGregor will ever approach the poetry of the great Muhammad Ali but in modern combat sports their voices carry the furthest of anyone. We’re about to find out what happens once they start shouting at each other.