“The Sweet Science”
There was a time, when I was young, that I considered boxing, along with wrestling, to be the most sacred of the ancient sports. (See: Sparta)
Sadly, many fisticuff battles of modern times have been sullied through the years. Fixed fights, viciously exploitive “promoters” and repeated head blows have badly damaged many All-Time greats, and eventually lead to complete system failure and death, (Yes, at least a century before today’s millionaire-athlete-heroes discovered a new legal cause of action – these facts were well known.)
There have been legendary bouts throughout history – many just in America in the recent 20th century. I won’t attempt to name them all – just the best one, which I happened to attend: “The Fight of The Century”. Two undefeated Olympic and Professional Heavyweight Champions, who (at least publicly) hated one another – complete with political overtones, racial undertones, and seemingly deep personal animus. If you don’t know what fight I refer to, don’t ask.
OK, here’s my ticket stub.
However, the spectacles abound. As recently as: Ali-Inoki; Wepner-Andre the Giant; Foreman vs. Five in Canada. Go to Youtube.
In the mid-70’s, I pined to see a fight between Ali and Dan Gable, arguably the greatest college wrestler of all time. That would have been legit. And Gable would have killed him, if they didn’t make him wear gloves.
But the hucksters who run boxing didn’t want to see a legitimate inter-disciplinary fight. Especially one in which the “Greatest”would likely be trounced.
Wasting some time on this topic – how many bar fights have you seen that resulted in a one punch knockout? On the other hand, how many went to the ground immediately and resulted in the more accomplished grappler controlling his adversary and prevailing. That’s how Gable would have beat Ali. And that’s why MMA guys – most of whom are former Division I wrestlers – would destroy a boxer (if permitted to use their wrestling/MMA skills).
I’ll give Conor McGregor this: he is perhaps the greatest promoter since Tex Rickard or P.T. Barnum. He has somehow convinced at least part of that public that he can beat track star and defensive genius Floyd Mayweather. In a feeble attempt to defend this theory, we must revert to the age-old hope of the underdog – “the puncher’s chance”.
Could it happen? Yes. Conor can punch. But he’s used to 4 oz gloves with almost no padding, with fingers protruding for manhandling an opponent MMA style. He is also used to softening up oponents with side kicks, arm bars, or chokes. Here, he will be a one dimensional version himself.
Fighting pursuant to the Marquis of Queensbury rules represents a massive, and foolish, challenge to the Irishman.
On the other hand, Conor is a legit middleweight (using boxing standards – he has to come in at 154 but he’ll weigh far more when the bell rings. Floyd is a welterweight – 147. Big difference.
Floyd’s big fights are usually strategical spaced. HIs last 10 or so have been in either May or September. But – he hasn’t fought in 2 years. Now, Floyd’s not the kind of guys who takes much punishment, so it’s not like he’s a shot fighter. But he is 40 years old, and his career KO percentage is only 53% – with most of his stoppages year ago. And the bigger, substantially more padded gloves will be an advantage to Conor in further diminishing Floyd’s power. It should also be noted that Conor’s losses came by submission – ha can take a punch, even with 4 ounce gloves.
Do I Want to See this Fight?
Is the fight tempting to buy? Absolutely. Will I? No way. First, Floyd is a thug with whom I came very close to having professional contact years ago. He would not have prevailed that fight. I don’t want to see a penny of my dough go into his pocket.
Moreover, I see this as a lose/lose for a sport I love – and, candidly, hate at times.
If Conor gets lucky and pummels Floyd what does that say about professional boxing? A guy beats the “great” Floyd Mayweather in his very first fight?
Then what? McGregor takes on Canelo Alvarez or GGG? No way!
And if Floyd wins, well, he was supposed to. Then he uses this farce to claim a better record than undefeated Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano – whose knockout percentage was 88%.
This debacle, which will result in the biggest purse in history, is reminiscent of the 1976 Ali -Inoki shin-kicking contest, part of a memorable doubleheader in which Andre the Giant literally threw journeyman heavyweight Chuck Wepner out of the ring at Shea Stadium – again, I commend you to Youtube. The carnival did nothing to enhance the stature of boxing.
Conor gets tired of chasing Floyd. He gets frustrated, and he get his Irish up. So he throws a kick, takes Floyd down, tries to choke him – and is disqualified. Floyd saves face – “McGregor cheated”. Conor saves face “the punk ran and I had to make a fight of it somehow for the sake of me fans”.
The odds are 9-1 against a DQ. I rarely bet, but I might take a chance on this one.
However, for the sake of boxing, I wish this fight had never been made.