Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are the two best promoters in their respective sports of boxing and mixed martial arts, and after months of putting those skills to good use, the two have converged on Las Vegas this week for this Saturday’s mega-fight at T-Mobile Arena on Showtime PPV.
Mayweather is the heavy favorite, and for good reason as an undefeated, 49-0 boxer going up against someone that’s never been in a boxing ring as a professional. Despite the fact that Mayweather opened up as a -1100 favorite, the public, in the face of nearly every expert saying he has no chance, has been shoveling money onto McGregor at sports books to drag the odds down as low as -500 for Mayweather. The public’s insistence on buying in to this fight being competitive has to do with the incredible promotional abilities of both fighters.
McGregor has unending self-confidence that, despite this being his first boxing match, he can come in and take down one of the all-time greats of the sport, and talks the talk better than anyone in the business. Mayweather matches that talk, but has been wise enough — as he has against fighters of a lesser talent than him for years — to constantly mix in talk of how dangerous McGregor is with his own trash talk. In doing so, he constantly legitimises this fight as being a competitive bout between near equals, when in fact, few in the fight world would genuinely believe that.
Not only has Mayweather touted McGregor’s abilities, but he’s also made claims that he will step forward and attack the UFC star, despite years of evidence to the contrary. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is a boxing fanatic and few in the media world that know Floyd Mayweather as well as him, so ahead of Saturday night’s bout, Uproxx Sports spoke with Smith about the spectacle of the event, the fight itself and why he won’t completely rule a McGregor win out, and why despite all the evidence that Mayweather will be defensive and pick his way to a lopsided, relatively boring win, millions continue to turn out for his fights and purchase his pay-per-views.