And so the plot now thickens.
Last Friday, the world of boxing and MMA turned upside down when a British tabloid reported that a bout featuring Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor is in the works:
— Sun Sport (@SunSport) May 6, 2016
The rumor gained steam when McGregor’s coach teased on Twitter and the betting gods formally established a betting line for the bout:
It's really fine mayweather we're having here pic.twitter.com/gUF73OUOer
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) May 6, 2016
— Bovada Official (@BovadaLV) May 6, 2016
However, UFC President Dana White immediately doused water on the fire and denied the reports. Said White:
“It’s not true; it’s just a tabloid story. And as far as I knew, Floyd is retired and he’s been on a world-wide vacation and hasn’t even been thinking of fighting.”
White had a point. In recent weeks, Mayweather’s been on a trip around the world and has been documenting his travels for all of us to see:
Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired in September 2015 after beating Andre Berto and as photographic evidence shows, he seems to be happily retired enjoying the spoils of a long and hard fought boxing career. Or is he?
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 1, 2016
50 is just a small number for someone who according to Forbes.com earned $700 over the course of a 19 year boxing career. But it may mean more than any number he has in his bank account.
When Mayweather retired, he ended his career an unbeaten 49-0. That mark is tied with the legendary boxer Rocky Marciano’s record when he retired as heavyweight champion in 1955. While tying Marciano’s record was a huge feat, skeptics believe that Mayweather-who calls himself TBE or the best ever, will not be content with being tied with someone for a record, not even Marciano. On September 13,2015, Floyd said he was done:
“My career is over. It’s official.”
His statement was definitive. But if we take a look at history, Mayweather already said that before. And returned to the ring two year later.
Going for win #50 is logical for Mayweather. Filing for two trademarks related to the number 50 is very interesting. We know that Mayweather is just as good as a businessman as he is a boxer. Like in boxing, every business move Mayweather makes is precisely calculated.
On April 30, Showtime’s Jim Gray asked Mayweather what could lure him out of hibernation. Boxing’s Money Man gave this reply:
A nine figure payday? Going back to Friday’s tabloid rumor, the report said:
“Money Mayweather — currently retired with the joint best boxing record in history of 49 wins from 49 fights — is set to earn £100million in the boxing bout, while McGregor will take home £7million. “
If you connect the dots, the rumor does make sense because number one, it says Mayweather will earn a nine digit pay and number two, Conor McGregor is at odds with the UFC following his expulsion from July’s UFC 200. Sure, McGregor has a contractual obligation with the UFC, but once Zuffa gets involved with the financials, it would be hard to say no because of its magnitude. If Mayweather-Pacquiao in 2015 obliterated PPV records, imagine what this super fight would make. Having said that though, the UFC has continued to deny the rumor. But what’s intriguing is that the parties involved are now “confirming” its possibility.
First was Floyd’s dad who said that he “heard Li’l Floyd talk about an MMA fighter”. Said Floyd Sr:
But what makes this story a good sell is that Floyd Jr. himself told reporters during Saturday’s Canelo-Khan bout that the reported bout with McGregor may not be a rumor at all:
And yes, McGregor didn’t have to be cryptic about his response to Floyd. He simply posted the fight’s first ever poster on Twitter:
MMA Vs Boxing. pic.twitter.com/qgl8tKvT5s
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 8, 2016
MMA vs Boxing. That isn’t impossible. James Toney vs Randy Couture happened at UFC 118. Roy Jones Jr. vs Jon Jones was brought up. Tyson Fury challenged Cain Velasquez recently. So why not pit the biggest names in both sports for the biggest fight in all of combat sports history? Mayweather and McGregor are synonymous to money. Mayweather vs McGregor would mean unimaginable money. So why not make it?
They say where there is smoke, there is fire. Somehow, unlikely as it sounds, this Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Conor McGregor bout may be closer than what we think from happening.