Why Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor is a mirror for these unpredictable times
Given the wider context, it's a sensitive time for a black champion and a white pretender to be facing off.
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After a long day Wednesday, I decided to reward myself with some standard Las Vegas treats.
Armed with a ridiculously tall novelty cocktail, I wandered out into the night, sauntered through various cartoon-like casinos and, of course, gambled.
Following several failed attempts to become filthy and instantly rich, I fed my last two crumpled dollars into an electric slot machine. The neon lights twinkled, the colourful dials spun, and I walked home delighted with 70 bucks American in my pocket. Against the odds, I greatly multiplied my meagre stake and although a small victory, I did beat the Vegas Machine.
Conor McGregor is facing unfavourably long odds of his own heading into at T-Mobile Arena Saturday night. Let’s not fool ourselves: Floyd Mayweather is undefeated in his entire career while the Irishman has never fought professionally. McGregor likes to call himself a “ghost” in the UFC octagon but he is facing the archetype, the undisputed master of dodging punches.
Laying a solid glove on Mayweather is like trying to catch smoke.
As a fellow Dubliner, I’d love to witness a historic and unprecedented McGregor victory but the most realistic scenario is the American builds on his untarnished 49-0 record. Even if McGregor lands a hard shot, it will likely be absorbed by Mayweather. Yes, the Irishman has what George St-Pierre’s trainer Firas Zahabi calls “the touch of death”, but so did several of Mayweather’s past opponents.
“(Manny) Pacquiao had bombs, Canelo (Alvarez) had bombs, Shane Mosley had bombs, but I have a great chin,” Mayweather reminded all at Wednesday’s news conference.
Floyd is the obvious choice to prevail.
McGregor’s greatest advantage is that he is a wild card. Only a select few have actually seen him box. Everyone is in the dark about his style. He’s as unpredictable as a roulette wheel so striking early is a must for McGregor. If they go into the late rounds, Mayweather is sure to figure out and “download” his patterns.
Regardless, it’s fascinating encounter in a speculative sense and the fact it’s likely to be the most lucrative bout ever money-wise attests to that.
The fight comes at a strange time in the United States. With the wounds from Charlottesville still fresh and Donald Trump continuing to spew bile while apologizing for overt racists, it’s a sensitive time for a white man and a black man to be facing off.
After some irresponsible remarks from McGregor last month, the two fighters have uncharacteristically started to show love, or at least respect here in Sin City.
On Wednesday, Floyd commended Conor for “being a great competitor” and while Conor’s massive ego wouldn’t allow him to return the compliment, it has been documented that the Dubliner idolized Mayweather growing up.
That admiration has been evident in how “The Notorious” has promoted his major fights. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Their often ugly, cringe-worthy, and bile-soaked four-city press tour in July is revealing itself to have been mere theatre to sell their product. Once the fight is over, the competitors will surely step back out from behind their respective personas to reveal themselves as human beings again.
If McGregor’s past clashes are anything to go by, the two will likely hug and even converse once it’s all said and done.
Hopefully, this hypothetical embrace sends a message and, at the very least, does not further stoke the fire that divides.