WHERE YOU CAN GO TO WATCH BATTLE OF THE CENTURY
THE moment of truth draws ever closer as Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather prepare for their extraordinary fight tomorrow morning. It is gearing up for the final round of mickey-taking and questionable trash-talking, and tomorrow the unretired American boxer Mayweather will face UFC Conor McGregor in Sin City.
Crowds will pack the T-Mobile arena, but millions more will be glued to the fight via TV around the world.
Following a long period of speculation about whether this fight would ever take place, the last few months have featured high levels of animosity on both sides.
This will either be a boxing bout for the ages or a cross-code money-spinning abomination, depending on your point of view.
Whichever camp you’re here’s all you need to know about the fight between the man with a 49-0 boxing record and the Irish fighter who has never taken part in, in professional boxing. And while the times haven’t been announced, it will certainly be a late night or very early start for viewers in South Africa. Supersport will televise the fight and will cross to Las Vegas at 3am for the action-packed undercard, with the main bout expected to start just after 5am. The bout will be housed in the T-Mobile arena on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada. The venue has held major fights in the past, including UFC 202, in which McGregor beat Nate Diaz on points. Fight promoters have breathlessly talked about the bout surpassing the ß508- million (almost R8-billion) generated by Mayweather’s 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao, insisting that interest has been off-chart. “This is the biggest event that has ever happened in combat sports,” MMA’s Ultimate Fighting Championship chief executive Dana White said. “This fight will reach over a billion homes worldwide.” Ringside seats were being offered on secondary ticket markets for an eye-watering $100 250 (more than R1.3-million) apiece as of Thursday, even though some 1 700 seats in the 20 000-capacity venue remained unsold. The sense of anticipa- tion has endured despite an unrelenting chorus of disparagement across the boxing world.
Farce. Freakshow. Circus. Mismatch. Rip-off. Bad for boxing.
Mayweather, 40, is one of the most skilled boxers of his generation, a master of ring craft who retired in 2015 after a glittering 21-year career with a perfect 49-0 record.
McGregor, a two-time world champion in UFC, has never boxed professionally and has looked awkward and ungainly during training camp sparring sessions.
Yet the millions who will gladly part with their cash to watch the fight in the arena or on television do not appear to be bothered by the possibility that they may be taken for an expensive ride.
Stephen Espinoza, the head of cable network Showtime Sports, which is selling the fight on pay-per-view in the US, said many would tune in on the off-chance of witnessing “something incredible”.
“We did some focus group testing, and the casual fans were absolutely adamant,” Espinoza said.
“Their response almost universally was ‘We don’t care if it’s a mismatch. We don’t care if it’s non-competitive – if there’s a .01 chance that something incredible could happen, we need to watch it.”
Irrespective of the outcome, the two men at the centre of the action will be laughing all the way to the bank.
If pay-per-view targets are met, Mayweather could earn as much as $200-million (more than R2.2-billion), pushing his career earnings towards $1-billion (more than R13-billion).
McGregor, who four years ago was living off unemployment benefit in Dublin before his emergence as a star of MMA, could pocket $100-million (more than R1.3-billion) .
A gaudy “money belt” is also up for grabs to the winner, comprising 3 360 diamonds, 600 sapphires, 300 emeralds mounted in 1.5kg of solid gold and set in alligator leather.
Both fighters engaged in a global pub- licity tour to drum up interest. McGregor insists that he is ready to stun the sceptics by knocking out Mayweather inside two rounds. “I will go forward and put the pressure on and break this old man,” McGregor said. “I don’t see him lasting two rounds. I think I could end him in one round if I want. Everyone is going to eat their words on Saturday.” A relaxed-looking Mayweather was unfazed by McGregor’s warnings of impending calamity, instead reminding the Irishman that he had faced plenty of explosive punchers through his career – and emerged victorious. “We can both do a lot of talking, but it comes down to the skills,” said Mayweather, a 1/4 favour
ite with some bookmakers. “After 21 years I’ve been hit with everything and I’m still right here.
“I go out there and do what I do. I’ve been here before and fought many different fighters with different styles.
“There have been plenty of guys who talked a lot of trash, but when it’s all said and done, I came out victorious.” – Daily Telegraph, TimesLIVE and AFP