It’s all over folks, the hype train has come to a halt, as the “Money Fight”, watched around the world, finished last night after a 10th round stoppage.
All fights come with hype machines but few have come with such scale as has been seen with the lead up to Mayweather vs. McGregor. There have been many reasons for that; the money involved in the fight reaching an estimated $500 million between the two men (there is a reason they called it “The Money Fight”), Floyd Mayweather coming out of retirement, Conor McGregor going from MMA to boxing, would it be 49 – 1 or 50 – 0 and the list went on. But what really drove the hype and why many other fights don’t see this type of hype, is the two men involved.
In many fights, one of the two opponents is charismatic, they know how to work the crowd, they’re open in front of the camera, even have their own catchphrases, hated and loved in the same amounts, just like in the scripted WWE they know how to play the underdog, villain or good guy. But there are rarely two that can do all this at the same level as Mayweather and McGregor have been able to do it.
Ali was the show, as great as fighters as they were, the likes of Frazier and Foreman weren’t. They sat back and let him speak, throwing in when Ali took it a little too far, but ticket sales were made because of Ali. Even going back to his first fight with Liston, people were there to see Sonny Liston shut up the Louisville Lip. Initially, not as much of a talker Tyson was “the bad man” that would destroy absolutely anything in his path and as his reputation grew, so did his personality and his volatility. Even against the likes of Lewis and Holyfield, Tyson was the show. But for the first time, we had two “shows”, two characters that thrived on that spotlight.
Part of this comes from the fact that they came from different sporting arenas. McGregor would have been unlikely able to thrive as the character he is if he came up in the boxing ranks. Mayweather, his elder, would have shot him down much earlier and he, like many others would have sat back, been the quieter underdog and tried to prove his ability could beat Mayweather. But McGregor didn’t have this, he is a UFC star, the UFC continues to grow off the back of his press conferences and put downs to other UFC fighters. He had no boxing record to live off, his UFC record, although a champion, is far from flawless. So the two “shows” faced off, each driving the hype further and further, stock piling their bank accounts day by day.
In truth, the fight part of this “Money Fight” was a formality. There was always a glimmer of an upset, but when Conor McGregor threw a couple of good shots and Mayweather took them in his stride, barely even acknowledging a powerful uppercut early in the rounds. It was an inevitable outcome. They let it carry on to give the crowd around the world something they could be happy to have watched, but real boxers (such as the commentators that said it early as the 3rd round) knew Mayweather could have brought on that stoppage much earlier than the 10th.
It is yet to be shown if this fight has done much for either boxing or MMA / UFC, but it is true we are unlikely to see what was in truth an exhibition bout, reach the hype and worldwide attention of this magnitude. Though perhaps a shame that what some people would call the ‘real fights’ of the respective sports, do not receive the same type of attention.
Now as Mayweather leaves boxing, for good this time, we are left to wonder who will fill his place in boxing, as McGregor will likely head back to terrorise the UFC as the richest of them all.
Although some questions are yet to be answered, Mayweather is still undefeated and the hype is over.