(Editor’s note: Please send prayers and, if able to, resources to the people in the Houston area suffering through Hurricane Harvey.)
We’re still here. After The Money Fight, The Sham of the Century, The Big Bankroll and other names that would rival Daenerys Targaryen of HBO’s Game of Thrones, we are privileged to still be around the next day. Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated Conor McGregor by 10th-round TKO last Saturday night in a boxing exhibition that fooled similar people who still believe WWE wrestling is unscripted.
But what did we watch? What did most of us who watched pay a hundred dollars to see this on television actually see? We weren’t gifted with either extreme of the spectrum. Aside from more than a few hammer fists, McGregor never completely forgot he was boxing and didn’t resort to tactics reserved for the Octagon. There were no kicks, serious takedown attempts or Superman punches. Conor McGregor, for the most part, fought fairly and squarely.
Just because the boxing match didn’t run off the rails does not mean the fight was competitive. Casual onlookers were entertained as they gleefully devoured McGregor’s early pressure. Scores of punches thrown by McGregor gave the appearance that he belonged in the ring with Floyd and was actually a worthy challenger. Neither of those factors are true, as Mayweather proceeded to demonstrate after the fourth round. If you are looking for more boxing analysis, it will not be here because that is not the reason we watched this event.
Event is a much better word than match. Outside of the ring, we are given all the theatrics we normally see from the two combatants who headline Wrestlemania. The smoke and mirrors generated to sell this fight came from two fighters whose gimmicks reflect each other and whose mouths were doing nothing but spewing profanity-laced carbon dioxide. This was an illusion, and a poor one. Or it was the best trick, if one lives by the saying, “the best place to hide is in plain sight.” To anyone – to everyone – this was a masquerade ball with no disguises. The Money Fight, by sheer name, was not concealing its true identity. The circus came to town, with cheap and old-fashioned carnival rides, and millions of us lined up for a chance to see it, if only to avoid being those who missed the spectacle.
The Money Fight did not kill boxing. Boxing’s credibility was not on the line with this event. As much of a sham this was in the name of competition and combat, this exists outside of the realm of both boxing and mixed martial arts. Again, we knew what we were watching. Had this been a close, good fight along the lines of Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev’s two wonderful bouts, we would have been disappointed. The casual fans among us would have boasted that boxing has finally died off and there is no more reason to watch the sport.
Do not compare or juxtapose Mayweather-McGregor with the upcoming September 16th clash between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. The Money Fight was not a megafight because of skill, and Alvarez-Golovkin will not be a spectacle. There won’t be a four-city tour filled with vulgar barbs aimed at each other. Instead, treat The Money Fight as an isolated exhibition–a moment in time in which millions of us wanted to watch something we know is mindless, just because the event was too big to ignore.
We went to the circus. However the circus made us feel, the circus was just that. And now it’s over. Let’s remember and discuss it as the money-making divertissement it was. In the words of TSFJ pioneer Dr. Kenneth Masenda, “Wrestlemania came twice this year.”
Poemer. 8-time Hug Champion. Pick&Roll Enthusiast. Guardian of Logic and Tact. Apocalypse’s good Brother. Collector of muted souls for Mt. Filtermanjaro.