As a doubter who didn’t believe a UFC fighter like Conor McGregor had a shot against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr, I have to admit I was shocked by his performance even though he got stopped in the tenth round he really put it on Mayweather.
Some say Mayweather carried him in the night, some say Floyd just aged, I think it’s a mix of both, Mayweather was older and slower, but he also carried Conor to make it look competitive and not farcical. Conor tried to take advantage of Floyd’s aggression but gassed out in the later rounds letting Mayweather pick him off and get the ref to stop it
What impresses me even more than the Irish UFC champion going 10 hard rounds with the best pound for pound boxer in the world, is his ability to captivate an audience making them believe he is this great fighter who predicts his fight outcomes.
Don’t get me wrong, McGregor is a tough fighter, but he isn’t the greatest MMA fighter I ever seen, but he is the greatest hype man in MMA, he was able to make people believe he was the best and they bought into it, and 4.4 million ppv buys shows a lot of people believed his words.
I gave in, I shelled out to purchase the PPV last moment, what lured me was the sparring footage of him beating up Paulie Malignaggi, he was man handling the former world boxing champion in the short clips.
Also, the day before the fight when I saw a segment on the news showing his KO of Jose Aldo and his fight with Eddie Alvarez when he beat the champions by stoppage for the featherweight and lightweight titles; he looked sensational.
He looked like an unstoppable force. During the pre-fight build up for his boxing debut, he kept repeating that Mayweather was tiny, he would weigh 170 pounds on fight night and his power was otherworldly compared to the likes of previous Mayweather foes, like Manny Pacquiao, Marcos Maidana and the like.
The fight happened and the first few rounds I actually started believing he had a shot, but later I realized Floyd was walking him down to tire him out and finish him off later. Floyd later admit in post fight interviews that he wanted to give the fans a show and he could have easily outboxed Conor but decided to walk him down to tire him out and go for the KO as he promised before the fight.
After the fight Conor McGregor was getting drunk off his own brand of Whiskey, and was happy, he knew he was getting 100 million dollars, and couldn’t wait to spend it with his friends and family.
Mayweather retired, and that left the top draw in boxing position open, with Manny Pacquiao on his way out and no longer doing big numbers, that leaves Canelo Alvarez who just did 1.3 million PPV buys with Gennady Glovkin, but if you really think about it, the real cash cow is Conor McGregor he just did 4.4 million ppv buys in his very first boxing match.
McGregor put on a valiant effort against Floyd, a lot of casual fans were impressed, they believed Conor was winning on points and the ref stopped it too soon. He didn’t lose any value because he really came to fight and didn’t get humiliated but held his own and did better than many of Mayweather’s previous opponents, whether Mayweather let him or not.
Conor probably won’t be able to beat the likes of Canelo, Golovkin or any strong and young top level fighter at 154 or 160, but he is likely to draw the biggest numbers in boxing if he decides to continue on in the sport.
Like Mayweather said, Boxing is a business, its prize fighting, and Conor holds the cards thanks to Money Mayweather giving him the massive crossover exposure then retiring leaving Conor as the cash cow.
He doesn’t have to fight top guys like Jermell Charlo or Erickson Lubin, he can fight fading legends and still draw. I see a Paulie Malignaggi vs. Conor McGregor doing well over 1 million PPV buys if they decide to fight. Paulie wasn’t even fighting, yet his beef with Conor and sparring session was the most talked about topic heading into the Mayweather McGregor bout.
Paulie and Conor will sell the fight, they will trash talk at pressers and people will buy it, its also a winnable fight for Conor since Paulie is old, washed up and can’t really bust a grape. That would be stoppage waiting to happen and it will build the hype for Conor to fight someone like Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito or Ricardo Mayorga and pad his record while gaining experience against big name past prime former champions.
If Conor is as great as they say he is, I give him 5 more boxing matches to fully adapt and get comfortable, if he can get past 5 cherry picked yet credible opponents then face a belt holder at 147 (if he could still make the weight), 154, or 160 and beat them, he is the real deal if he loses he retires with several paydays over 20 million each so its a win-win situation.
If he does fight someone like Canelo Alvarez that fight could break 3 million ppv buys, it would be massive. An Irish looking Mexican with a rabid fan base, and a trash talking Irishman with his own crazy fan base, it would be huge.
At the end of the day, whether we like it or not, boxing is a business and Conor McGregor with a record of 0 and 1 is the biggest draw in the sport. I hope other boxers study his approach and realize self promotion is huge, even if you aren’t the best in the world as long as you can make people believe they will buy into it and that’s the reason Conor McGregor is the biggest star in the UFC and Boxing, he can make you believe.