We saw the biggest fight in sports history when Conor “Notorious” McGregor took on the undefeated Floyd “Money” Mayweather on August 26.
McGregor became a superstar mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter in the UFC – the biggest fighting organisation in the world. A brash Irishman known for his wit, trash-talking and unflappable confidence, he became the first UFC fighter to hold championship belts in two weight divisions – featherweight (145lbs) and lightweight (155lbs).
MMA includes all forms of fighting – punches, kicks, elbows, wrestling, Brazilian ju-jitsu and more. Boxing, on the other hand, involves only punching. And although many believe McGregor’s biggest strength in the UFC is his ability to punch, he had never fought in a professional boxing match.
So when it was announced that McGregor’s professional boxing debut would be against Mayweather – arguably the greatest-ever boxer, with 49 wins and zero losses – many boxing fans and analysts called the match a joke. They said it was a spectacle designed to make money and fool
Nobody thought McGregor stood a chance. After all, he did not get the fight because of his ability to box, but because of his ability to talk a good game.
But, to the surprise of many, the fight was very competitive and entertaining. Even though Mayweather would go on to win by TKO in the 10th round, McGregor was able to win some rounds and, ultimately, performed better than many of the great boxers who had faced the American.
The fight made more money than any other in boxing history, with more than one million pay-per-view buys. More importantly, it brought attention to both boxing and MMA, and taught new fans that there is far more to fighting than senseless violence. There is strategy, mental warfare, technique, and competitive spirit.
Fans who enjoyed the McGregor-Mayweather showcase should be happy that there are many great fights still to come. This weekend there will be another boxing “superfight”, when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez takes on the undefeated Genedy Gennadyevich Golovkin, or “GGG”.
The Mexican Alvarez is an intelligent and patient counter-puncher. GGG, who comes from Kazakhstan, is known for relentlessly attacking his opponents. It should be an excellent clash of styles, especially since both fighters are known for their tremendous power.
GGG is an Olympic boxing silver medallist, with 37 wins and zero losses as a professional fighter. Alvarez has 49 wins and just one loss – which came at the hands of Mayweather back in 2013.
This is a fight that could define the careers of both men.