This Saturday in Las Vegas the stage will be set for one of the biggest boxing matches in recent memory. If you’re going by ticket count and Pay-Per-View sales, it could be the biggest fight ever. Floyd Mayweather, who is 49-0 and has won titles in five divisions, is coming out of retirement to fight Conor McGregor, who is the current lightweight champion in the UFC. While Mayweather opened as a huge favorite, there has been steady action flowing in on the Irishman to knock the price down.
Mayweather is still a sizable favorite at -400, although it was definitely higher when the odds were first revealed. McGregor comes in at +300. People are giving him more of a chance since the pictures and video of his sparring sessions with Paulie Malignaggi came out. Malignaggi was a two-weight champion who retired earlier this year, but was hired to train with McGregor in the lead up to the fight. There had been debate that McGregor’s power – one of his advantages – will be subdued in boxing gloves but the video showed McGregor as the aggressor, even knocking down Malignaggi.
Malignaggi, who will be ringside commentating during the fight, says that it was actually a push and not a knockdown caused by a punch. Malignaggi also said that he was rushed into the sparring session after taking a long flight, but he also said that he still dominated McGregor and wants the entire video released.
As for Mayweather, we’ve seen him change his tune of late. Is it legitimate or is he trying to hype the fight? He has given many interviews in which he gave McGregor credit, saying that the UFC star was younger, which could be an edge. We also saw on the Showtime All Access series that Mayweather looked tired during preparations. Many people are under the impression that he is simply building up McGregor to promote the fight more, which is definitely possible as Mayweather is a master promoter.
It has also been announced that the two will fight in eight-ounce gloves as Mayweather is used to fighting in 10-ounce gloves and McGregor uses four-ounce gloves in the UFC. There are a couple of ways you could look at this. McGregor’s knockout power can be used more in eight-ounce gloves, but they’re still heavier than the ones he is used to. It could also add more to Mayweather’s hand speed and make his knockout power more pronounced. If there is a knock on Mayweather, it is that people don’t believe he has KO power; his last win by KO came against Victor Ortiz in September 2011 and that was controversial, to say the least.
Outside of betting on the outright winner, there are all sorts of props on this fight. You can pick the method of victory (McGregor is at +325 for the knockout), you can bet on which round it will end, will either fighter lose their mouthpiece and whether or not Lil Wayne will wear a shirt when he walks Floyd Mayweather Jr. into the ring. Yes, it’s become a Super Bowl-like event.
The record for PPV buys is 4.6 million, for Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao (Mayweather is featured in each of the top three, while McGregor is listed twice in the top 10 for his fights with Nate Diaz). The fact that the odds are closer than they were before could mean that more people will buy the fight just to see if McGregor can pull off one of the biggest upsets of all time. The city of Las Vegas is going to be a madhouse on Saturday night from sun up to sun down, so get ready for one of the biggest spectacles that you’ll see in sports all year.