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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Sign of the times

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
23 Jul 2017



Purists are scandalized at the way Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Conor McGregor are showing disrespect for the sport in promoting their 12-round showdown at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Aug. 26. The fighters have gone beyond the limits of decency in trying to draw attention to what has been described as a circus show.

When Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, made his pro debut in 1960, he turned the fight game upside down. He displayed irreverence by predicting what round his opponents would fall and waxed poetic in praising himself as the greatest boxer who ever lived. Ali’s prose reverberated throughout the world of sport and launched a new revolutionary wave of fight hype. Old-school fans at that time frowned on Ali’s antics, saying his fists and not his mouth should do the talking. But we all know how Ali injected life into a sport that needed a shot in the arm for resuscitation. Today, Ali is revered as the greatest of all time.

Ali wasn’t quite as loose with his words as Mayweather and McGregor are. It’s a sign of the times. Apparently, four-letter words are no longer taboo on TV. No more bleeps to blot out expletives. In fact, promoters seem to be encouraging more irreverence, more disrespect and yes, more four-letter words. When Mayweather and McGregor took to the stage in promoting their fight in Toronto recently, they traded below-the-belt insults and curse words to make even the most hardened bad-mouthers cringe. As expected, the fans loved it.

I’m not condoning the use of foul language or disrespectful behavior. I still believe in preserving the integrity of sport. But let’s face it. The world has changed and whether it’s for the better or not is subject to debate. Social media thrives on irreverence and irresponsibility which are unfortunately selling points in attracting public attention.

****

Mayweather and McGregor are pushing the envelope a little too far. They’ve jumped on the bandwagon of unconventional behavior. Pro wrestling has gotten away with it for decades although there is no widespread tolerance for four-letter words. Now, it’s boxing’s turn to throw decency out the window for a fistful of dollars.

Would I pay good money to watch the Mayweather-McGregor fight? Of course. It’s a spectacle, certainly out of the ordinary. Mayweather is the ultimate villain of sport, the idol of the bad guys. A lot of fans would pay to watch Mayweather go down. He’s a brash show-off who’s everything you don’t want in an employee profile if you’re an employer. McGregor is actually a loud-mouth himself but he’s the lesser evil.

The fight is set for 12 rounds. McGregor has never fought beyond five and he did it only once in his mixed martial arts career. By the way, an MMA round has a time limit of five minutes while in boxing, it’s three. They’ll use 10 ounce gloves which carry less of a jarring impact than eight ouncers. Boxing rules will apply, meaning no MMA tactics. That’s fine with McGregor who’s more of a striker than a grappler. Six of the Irishman’s last seven wins came by knockout or stoppage because of punches. He has scored 18 KOs in a 21-3 record. His three losses were via submission, something that Mayweather has scoffed at since in boxing, a fighter rarely surrenders.

****

Age will be on McGregor’s side as he’s 29 and Mayweather is 40. Mayweather hasn’t fought since outpointing Andre Berto in September 2015 so the long layoff could be a problem. McGregor last fought in November. The weight limit for the fight is 154 pounds, the superwelterweight ceiling. Only thrice has Mayweather weighed in for a fight at 150 at least----154 for Oscar de la Hoya in 2007, 151 for Miguel Cotto in 2012 and 150 1/2 for Canelo Alvarez in 2013. He tipped the scales at 146 for Manny Pacquiao and Berto, both in 2015. McGregor is the reigning UFC lightweight champion and in the UFC, the lightweight division has a weight limit of 155.

The expectation is the fight will eclipse the record of 4.4 million pay-per-view buys for the Mayweather-Pacquiao duel. That could mean PPV sales of about $500 Million. Live gate could pull in close to $80 Million with a capacity of 20,000 and a ticket price range of $500 to $10,000. If the figures shoot up to the max, Mayweather could walk away with as much as $230 Million and McGregor, $70 Million.

Both Mayweather and McGregor are PPV magnets. McGregor has fought in four PPV events that brought in at least a million subscriptions while Mayweather has figured in eight, including three that went beyond two million. McGregor is making his pro boxing debut. In 1957, Olympic gold medalist Pete Rademacher fought Floyd Patterson for the world heavyweight boxing title in his first pro appearance and lost by a knockout in the sixth round. Rademacher floored Patterson once but hit the canvas six times. McGregor could suffer the same fate but it’ll be worth the setback if money fills his pockets. In the end, that’s what counts in pro sports in the now generation, a sad turn of events and a reality in today’s world.


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