Preview: When worlds collide; McGregor vs Mayweather

by Danny Dyer, Staff Writer

Believe it or not, it is happening. Saturday, Aug. 26 will be one of the most in recent sports history. Wading passed the piled media doubt and flawed organizing facets, Ireland’s proverbial UFC champion Conor McGregor will tiptoe around the ropes against the undefeated five-division boxing titleholder Floyd Mayweather.

This is a clash of extravagant egos just as much as it is an uncanny combat sports crossover. Because of this, along with many other brow-raising points, people are understandably questioning the legitimacy of this super fight.

Does money overstep logic in this boxing-meets-MMA circus? Almost certainly. Regardless of the reasoning, the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas may be hosting the sport-crossing battle of the century.

If Mayweather walks out of the ring in usual fashion, physically unscathed and boasting an impressive stat sheet, he will expound on his already unreal 49-0 career record.

If McGregor exits victorious, he will debatably surpass the likes of Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan as the biggest icon in the catalogue of sports lore.

Mayweather has the obvious advantage because it’s a boxing match, a world where he is as comfortable as he is dominant. But McGregor — the poster child of the UFC — built a career on left-hooking the impossible into reality.

And once all the variables are compiled, the outcome of the fight doesn’t seem as expected.  

One of these variables surfaced last Friday, when the Nevada Boxing Commission agreed to McGregor’s proposal of 8 oz. gloves instead of the regulatory 10. Trimming the glove weight is one of the strongest advantages for McGregor’s team, as lighter gloves will compensate for the Irishman’s slower hand speed and heighten the likelihood of a knockout.

“When we were in our original negotiations it was something they would not even talk about.” Dana White, UFC’s President, explained. “I don’t know what changed, but I’m glad it did. It makes it so much more fun.”

Agreeing to fight in the 154-pound weight class is another foothold for the contender —  such a weight division finds McGregor at his most natural bodyweight.

The most notable benefit for McGregor is one that most overlook. McGregor’s unconventional blend of karate and boxing creates a fighting style that is unpredictable. Mayweather will have his hands full for the first portion of the 12-round fight. He’ll have to rattle off his ring rust while also adapting to the McGregor’s unorthodox fighting style.

That being said, Mayweather is the best defensive boxer in his generation, an interesting polarity to McGregor’s offensive-minded approach. With a viper-like counterpunch, a large portion of the Mayweather win streak is attributed to his crafty boxing IQ — known for decrypting his opponent’s striking patterns with a calculated precision.

The hype surrounding this mega-fight etched a divide in the world of fighting sports, with MMA loyalists rooting behind the fenced confines of the Octagon and boxing purists cheering behind the ropes.

McGregor and Mayweather just happen to be their team captains.

One thing lays certain — neither fighter is walking away with a concussed wallet, as the pay-per-view numbers alone project to net in roughly 300 million. With those kind of numbers, it seems as though both men are the winners here.