JOHANNESBURG Is it a gimmick? A money-spinning publicity stunt that actually makes a mockery of the fistic art? While many a boxing purist holds that view, the entire world is seemingly excited and will nevertheless be up to watch The Money Fight.
Floyd Mayweather’s clash with MMA multiple-champion Conor McGregor at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in Nevada on Sunday morning (SA time) is going to break all kinds of records, with the purse money on offer for the two pugilists ridiculously high.
Going for a record 50th win in as many fights, Mayweather is set to make no less than 100 million US dollars - the fact he is fighting a man who has never boxed professionally notwithstanding.
But what do South African boxing experts think of the fight? Do they view it is a serious boxing match or a staged affair to help Mayweather stand alone as boxing’s greatest fighter with his 50 and 0 record? Will they be up to watch?
Independent Media canvassed views from a few renowned boxing men and this is what they had to say.
Colin Nathan - Hotbox Gym trainer
Of course it’s not a serious fight. It is all about money and hype. Yes the average person who knows little about boxing will be excited. But I am really not for this because how can you take a fight between a legend of the game, a man with the impressive record of 49-0, and an upstart of zero fights.
Yet boxing has way too many problems, doesn’t it? We have about 16 sanctioning bodies and each one has its own world champion; you have bad decisions being taken at almost every fight. It is not a clean sport. It is controlled by money and that’s why you can have a fight such as this one. Don’t get me wrong. I love boxing. It has given me the life I have.
The Money Fight? It has intrigue, doesn’t it? Does McGregor have a chance? It’s boxing, so there’s always a chance. He can get a lucky punch and knock Mayweather out. Remember McGregor has lost fights (in his own sport) while Mayweather has not. So there is no way Mayweather will ever want to lose this fight, especially to an MMA fighter. I think McGregor knows he can’t win but he has such an ego he won’t admit it. Besides with that kind of money, how could he admit he stands no chance?
Brian Mitchell - Ex-world champion and now boxing publicist
This is a big event, great entertainment for the whole world, and for me it is a real fight. Sure McGregor has never fought a boxing match, but he is young, he is strong and he is very talented. He is taking on a man who is now 40 years old and has not fought in two years. That plays the odds down a bit and means McGregor has some chance.
Of course the rules are not going to suit him because he is used to cage fighting. But he is a talented boy and he has trained very hard for this because he knows he has an opportunity to make an even bigger name for himself. Personally, I think Mayweather will win because of his great speed. But I don’t really think the win will reflect well in terms of records. He will surpass Marciano yes but I’d rather he got that record having fought against a real boxer.
Still, who are we to argue? This is a fight the whole world seemingly wants. And I know I am going to be up to watch.
Phillip Ndou - Former world champion, who fought Mayweather
It’s a joke of a fight. I would not classify it as a proper boxing match because the other guy is not a boxer. But don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why Mayweather would agree to such a fight. Even I would come out of retirement if there was so much money to be made, I wouldn’t care if I lost or won because I’d be set for life.
I think Mayweather is taking a big risk because McGregor can damage him. Mayweather doesn’t like brawling and that young man might just do that to him and there’s a chance he might just shock him.
One thing that makes it such a highly anticipated fight is because a lot of people would love to see Mayweather get beaten. I actually think people are hoping for it. But he is a very clever boxer; I think he will know not to get careless. But even if he wins, I for one will not take his 50-0 record seriously. That guy actually fought very few people in their prime and he even refused to have a rematch with me because he knew the risk. Am I going to watch? Of course, I am actually going to be analysing for TV.
Watch build-up to the fight on SuperSport’s dedicated pop-up channel 213 which will also show the fight live early on Sunday morning from 3am