I’m not a fan of wordy headlines but I had to break that rule a couple of years ago when I wrote, “MMA fighter with zero pro boxing experience to fight undefeated Floyd.” I was incredulous that the fight was happening but knowing boxing, I knew why it was happening.
And I know, too, why it’s happening again.
The same MMA fighter who lost his lone pro boxing fight will take on Manny Pacquiao, a fight that will have a lot of boxing purists shaking their heads, saying, “This is what’s wrong with the sport.”
Some fights, even if they are matches made in heaven, need a bit of drama to sell, hence you hear the ridiculous things fighters say in press conferences or the mini-scuffles during weigh-ins. But this Conor McGregor vs. Manny Pacquiao fight is a drama that will sell itself.
Pick your angle.
Will Manny do better than Mayweather and stop McGregor earlier than the 10th round? That’s something the thousands of Pinoys in Qatar, the fight’s reported venue, will be willing to dole out their money for. That’s something too, that Pacman’s strong base in the US—and I’m sure the fight will be scheduled for US primetime—will pay for too.
Or will McGregor beat Pacman and earn the distinction of becoming just the second fighter inside a decade to knock out the legendary boxer? Well, based on the social media posts from the pro McGregor camp, that’s the story they’re angling at.
Or, as I suspect it would be, like Floyd, Manny will carry McGregor in the early rounds before his speed simply overwhelms McGregor. We’ve all seen that happen a few times in the past, when Pacman was at his peak. Some say it’s the religious guy in him and that he got too nice that he won’t go for that killer KO. Weren’t there a few fights when he was caught looking at the ref as if to say, “Come on ref, what do I have to do for you to step in?”
Pacquiao’s maybe 41 years old and McGregor’s a scary character but this is boxing. If this was an MMA fight, politicos who laughed their way to the bank with the Ombudsman’s ruling on SALNs will be betting all their millions on McGregor tapping out the Pacman.
But a boxing match?
No fookin’ way to paraphrase McGregor.
This fight will sell though. This is boxing and as Al Mendoza has mentioned before, there’s a sucker born every minute in this sport.
But will it be good for the sport though? Nah, that hasn’t been a factor in boxing. Money is all that counts in boxing.
If what’s good for the sport was or is important, we wouldn’t have all these alphabet soup bodies, all these catchweights or regional titles which can sometimes have boxers not from the region fighting for it.
And of course, we wouldn’t have had Pacquiao vs. Mayweather in 2015. We would have had it at least four years early if those running the sport pick fights for the good of the sport.
Money talks and McGregor vs. Pacquiao will make a lot of money. And my money will be on the Pacman, but we are going to hear, in the next few weeks, how McGregor will stop the Pacman inside 10 rounds, how he has learned enough boxing and how he has studied Pacquiao’s weakness to do so.
The Pacman will just smile because he knows he can laugh all he want when he’s in the bank.