This article was originally featured in Fighters Only issue 142. You can get a free subscription by clicking here.
Worrds: Gareth A. Davies
Floyd Mayweather Jr’s latest potential venture involving UFC president Dana White, and two of the fight organization’s biggest stars curled the lips of a few folk in mixed martial arts recently. This is the notion that Floyd might just fight Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov in one day – morning fight, evening fight – andgenerate $600 million dollars. For himself alone.
It would be boxing, of course. It sounds preposterous, let’s face it. Without saying that this will never happen, it’s a pretty strange concept. But the truth is, if it is do-able, and the metrics say it will make mega-bucks, don’t rule it out completely. These things have a way of crawling out of the ground and becoming a reality. Especially in Las Vegas.
If we recall, boxing’s record-breaking moneymaker, Mayweather retired in August 2017, after stopping the UFC’s superstar Conor McGregor in the 10th round in Sin City in a mega-event that did indeed capture the world’s attention in a major way and, as it grew legs, it blossomed in good, bad, and ugly ways into the second-biggest event ever in terms of revenue generated. Estimates put it at $600 million. It was the second biggest pay-per-view event of all time in the USA, certainly. It had a global tour. People bought in. McGregor even looked half decent against the best boxer of the last decade and a man undefeated in gloves in a ring across 50 fights, and five weight divisions as a world champion.
Mayweather had returned after a two-year retirement, but in recent weeks, Mayweather has been open about the possibility of fighting again this year. Khabib and Conor seem to be the whispers, the chatter bolstered by UFC President Dana White revealing that he is looking to work with Mayweather this year and that White has consistently said that ZUFFA Boxing will be a real thing, having teased its launch for over a year.
The White-Mayweather axis have even put it out there confidently that something will happen in the last four months of 2020. The latest was Mayweather confirming on a speaking tour in the UK that White has approached him regarding the possibility of a boxing match with Khabib Nurmagomedov and a boxing rematch with McGregor.
Mayweather having earned a reported $300 million for the fight with McGregor, believes he can now double it. Improbable, you might think. But the twist would be to fight the two warring UFC fighters on the same day. That is certainly a new concept…
Here’s Floyd’s exact words on the subject: “We [him and White] talked about the Conor McGregor fight, we talked about the Khabib fight. For myself, the number is $600 million [to face them]. If I’m going to go out there and risk it, it’d have to be worth it. In the boxing world as of right now, it doesn’t make sense for me to fight any ordinary fighter. I’m a businessman. The Conor McGregor fight made sense. If it makes money, it makes sense. I don’t fight fighters or compete against competitors that only have cities behind them. If I’m going to fight you, you have to have a whole country behind you. The first fight [with McGregor] was entertaining. It’s an entertainment business.”
Sure is, but is there really an appetite to see this again? I’m not so sure there is.
Jeff Mayweather, the boxer’s uncle, who trains boxers and MMA fighters, went even further, telling VegasInsider.com: “Floyd could beat both of them back to back, one in the day time, one in the night time – it doesn’t matter, they’d have no chance, it’s easy for him. He’d knock Conor’s a** out early because if he knows he has a second fight coming, he’s not going to put on a show like last time. He’d beat the s***t out of Conor. You pick any UFC fighter in the damn world, they’re not gonna touch him. Simple.”
Soon after these soundings, I found myself in conversation with John Kavanagh, McGregor’s coach, in New York. He found it pretty amusing, and answered thus: “Boxing is it? Maybe it would depend on the order Floyd does it. Maybe if he did Khabib first, but he couldn’t do Conor first and then Khabib.” There you go. Sounds interested, doesn’t he?
It’s ridiculous, I know. Just don’t rule it out altogether.