The gaudy May­weather-mcgre­gor cir­cus rolls into town

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IDON’T re­call award­ing just one pal­try star to a fight I was pre­view­ing be­fore, but then we have never seen any­thing like this be­fore. Un­for­tu­nately, in a few days’ time, this one-star con­test will have been seen by mil­lions upon mil­lions (as ad­verts for box­ing go, this is off the scale) when the great­est fighter of his gen­er­a­tion makes his come­back (while al­most cer­tainly break­ing Rocky Mar­ciano’s sa­cred 49-0 tally) against a hideously over­matched op­po­nent (who has never boxed pro­fes­sion­ally in his life).

For those of you who have just re­turned to civil­i­sa­tion af­ter spend­ing the last two years buried deep in­side the moon, and are now won­der­ing why there is a loud tat­tooed Irishman do­ing weird Ma­trix-style shiz­zle in train­ing while threat­en­ing to take over the sport, well, get ready for this: On Satur­day night (Au­gust 26), cocky 40-year-old Floyd May­weather, multi-weight king and one of the best of all time, will em­bark on his 50th pro­fes­sional out­ing against the even cock­ier Conor Mcgre­gor – an MMA su­per­star mak­ing his box­ing de­but – in a 12-round su­per-wel­ter­weight con­test, sanc­tioned by the Ne­vada State Ath­letic Com­mis­sion, at the T-mo­bile Arena in Las Ve­gas. And those watch­ing at home will likely pay record-break­ing fees to Sky Sports Box Of­fice in the UK and Show­time in the USA.

Per­haps I’m still miss­ing the point of this ex­trav­a­ganza. Such ex­po­sure should el­e­vate this event beyond on­es­tar, no? The spec­ta­cle ap­peal, of which there is ob­vi­ously plenty, is the real rea­son peo­ple are buy­ing this hog­wash, af­ter all. To para­phrase some­one on Twit­ter, who ob­jected to my ob­jec­tions about May­weather-mcgre­gor tak­ing place, ‘We’re not go­ing to watch this to see who wins, we’re go­ing to watch to see how he wins.’ In­deed. With the out­come al­ready a given, then, we just want to see how sav­agely the big favourite de­cides to beat up the big un­der­dog? No, I’m sorry, I still don’t get it. This is not what box­ing should ever be about.

At least their per­son­al­i­ties were made for each other. Rarely have two egos com­bined to cre­ate such a toxic racket, yet – for a cer­tain kind of hu­man be­ing – this meet­ing of minds has al­ready been ir­re­sistible en­ter­tain­ment.

Dur­ing the course of their in­creas­ingly ob­scene four-day f **kfest of a world tour, the pair swore, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent Thomas Hauser re­port, 173 times. In­sults were spat, splut­tered and screamed while ac­cu­sa­tions from naysay­ers about racism, ho­mo­pho­bia, sex­ism and, above all, ex­cep­tion­ally bad taste, were largely ig­nored. Who cares about such mi­nor quib­bles? To hell with any­one who might be of­fended be­cause, bot­tom line for any­one in­volved, this event is go­ing to make mil­lions. Bot­tom line for the sport, though: this hideous mis­match will be the most-watched event in his­tory. Isn’t there some­thing deeply trou­bling about that?



FRANKLY UN­BE­LIEV­ABLE: The stats on the right­hand side say it all

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