After months of hype, Mayweather-McGregor fight actually happening

Conor McGregor prepares for a fight in T-Mobile ArenaA fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor could either be a watershed moment in combat sports, or a cynical cash-grab masquerading as a boxing match, but one thing is certain: it’s happening. Mayweather and McGregor both confirmed they have signed a contract putting them on course to meet in the ring at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 26th for a 12-round fight that promises to be the height of spectacle (if nothing else).

The fight, which is expected to generate more than $500 million in revenue, has been rumoured for a long time. It started with some trash talk by McGregor at the peak of his UFC career, when he briefly held championship belts in two weight classes. Mayweather, who retired for a second time in 2015 after improving his professional record to 49-0, seemed initially dismissive of McGregor’s boasts and taunts, but as the speculation continued and the public interest in seeing the two fighters clash became more and more apparent, the potential for a big payout was too much to ignore.

Mayweather enters the fight as the clear favourite due to his perfect record and two decades of professional boxing experience, while McGregor’s fighting career has taken place entirely within the realm of mixed martial arts. The 154 lb light-middleweight limit seems to slightly favour McGregor, who won’t have to cut weight as much as he would have at the initially rumoured weight of 145 lb, but everything from the shape of the ring to the length of each round will be an adjustment from his UFC experience. One big adjustment: UFC gloves weigh a maximum of 6 ounces, and the standard 10-ounce boxing gloves McGregor will be wearing against Mayweather should take some of the sting out of the knockout power he’s known for.

As tempting as it might be, McGregor must not default to his MMA instincts and kick Mayweather during the fight, due to the terms of the contract. According to UFC president Dana White, any kicking would expose McGregor to a potentially massive lawsuit and put his share of the purse in jeopardy. While boxing’s strict rules of engagement might feel limiting to someone like McGregor who is used to leg kicks and takedowns and submissions, Mayweather has made his career out of working inside those rules with ruthless efficiency, often leading to effective but boring victories. If McGregor spends any time in the ring thinking about what he isn’t allowed to do, Mayweather should be able to pick him apart with ease.

The bout is scheduled exactly three weeks before Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez will fight in the same arena. September 16th was originally rumoured as a potential date for Mayweather-McGregor, but Golovkin and Alvarez took it when they announced their middleweight title fight a few weeks before Mayweather and McGregor had finalized their contract.