Mayweather-McGregor: The Postmortem

By Paul Magno on August 28, 2017
Mayweather-McGregor: The Postmortem
Well, Mayweather-McGregor happened. And boxing is still here. (Isaac Brekken/AP)

Fights like Mayweather-McGregor happen because there’s a market for big-time prizefighting in America, yet a dearth of big-time prizefighters…

Well, Mayweather-McGregor happened. And boxing is still here.

Actually, if the so-called “purists” would’ve unclenched their butt cheeks for about an hour or so, they might’ve had a good time with a good little spectacle.

At the very least, now these defenders of boxing’s sanctity can ditch the obnoxious grandstanding and go back to tolerating mismatches and cash grabs as “quaint” parts of the hard-knock boxing milieu.

The fight, itself, played out pretty much like I imagined it would. Mayweather carried an earnest but overmatched McGregor for a few rounds and then gradually ratcheted up the pressure until the Irishman fell to pieces. Mayweather fought at 40% and it was still 30% more than he needed to put McGregor away.

But this mega-spectacle was never about the spirit of competition, even though UFC faithful and casual-curious fight fans swore that Conor had a real shot at stopping Floyd.

No, this fight, at least for the non-participants, was about opportunities and the chance to realistically reach the type of sports fan who hasn’t been interested in boxing since the non-weepy, non-wacky, non-gentrified Mike Tyson walked the Earth.

The world was watching on Saturday and, surprisingly enough, Mayweather didn’t disappoint. All in all, the event was as legit as such a thing could ever be. Everyone on the “Money Fight” end of things executed honorably (again, as honorably as could be expected from such an event).

The only ones who DIDN’T come through for the sport were the aforementioned boxing “purists,” who griped, whined, and pretend-boycotted their way through the fight’s entire build-up and then griped, whined, and pretend-boycotted some more all throughout fight night.

With a huge wave of new and impressionable fans showing up right at their doorstep, eager to consume, boxing’s self-appointed keepers of its sanctity chose to insult their intelligence and do everything possible to chase them away. In boxing terms, it was like your opponent serving his chin up to you on a platter…and you respond by hitting YOURSELF.

With Mayweather-McGregor, we saw a scenario play out where a boxing event could become the biggest of all time without the support of its most loyal, hardcore fans. Think about that. What would it say about the state of football if the Super Bowl continued to prosper, but was no longer driven by the actual sport of football?

Boxing fans, with their snobbery, myopia, and prejudices have marginalized themselves to such an extent that they no longer matter. Simply put, they are dying off and are no longer the engine that drives the motor of promotion. Any boxing promoter worth his salt will tell you that the real money in boxing these days comes from selling the fights to the “casuals” and not to the hardcore. It wasn’t always like that, but it’s certainly like that now.

Decades of shutting itself off from the mainstream has created a culture of exclusion among the hardcore base. Boxing’s base is now elderly (or elderly at heart), cranky, and mega-resistant to change. They are a group that would rather grasp at memories of yesteryear than try to understand the here-and-now.

And because they clutch at the past so desperately and fight so hard against dealing with present tense reality, they have allowed the world to pass them by.

The silliness of decrying the sordid cynicism of Mayweather-McGregor in a world built on sordid cynicism was frustratingly absurd. And the fact that many would protest a cynical mismatch in Floyd vs. Conor by throwing their support behind its same day competition, Miguel Cotto vs. Yoshiro Kamegai, a brutally cynical mismatch in and of itself, was testament to just how out of touch many of these gatekeepers of boxing’s integrity have become.

Fights like Mayweather-McGregor happen because there’s a market for big-time prizefighting in America, yet a dearth of big-time prizefighters. It’s really that simple.

It’s not about the “dumbing down of society” or any such pompous nonsense. It’s about finding a way to sell the sport to the masses when the masses have been chased away from the sport in droves.

Boxing’s hardest of hardcore fans have allowed for corruption, convenient ignorance, and criminal negligence to rob the sport of its credibility. They have allowed boxing to fester and spoil and seldom raise their voice in anything above a token protest. They have allowed the sport’s promoters to grow fat and lazy on easy money culled from bait and switch hustles rather than push them to actually promote the sport beyond the already-sold base.

Yet they have the nerve to emerge from their decades-long nap to protest a silly novelty fight between a retired legend and a UFC star?

Give us all a fucking break.

Mayweather-McGregor was never ideal, but it was real—at least in the sense that it created the opportunity to bring new blood and fresh faces to the sport. The fact that the bout seemed to satisfy many of these newcomers is a good thing. Maybe some will be back.

Whether this mega-spectacle will have any long-term benefit for the sport remains to be seen. Maybe it won’t. But, again, it was real and it was something—and much better than boxing’s current strategy of nothing and nothing when it comes to crossing over into the mainstream.

Boxing “purists” should be ecstatic at any chance to bring some new life to the sport. But they aren’t and they won’t be. They are happy with the sport being their own private club and will continue to fight against the realities facing them until they either die or are chased away by a sport that no longer fulfills their raging man-fantasies.

Good things are happening in boxing right now. There’s a worldwide expansion in progress and TV deals that offer real chances for mainstream expansion are starting to pop up. People want to embrace boxing. It’s just too bad that so many of the sport’s die-hards refuse to be part of any movement forward.

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  1. Anonymous 05:29pm, 08/29/2017

    This is the kind of thread Boxing.com needs more often

  2. Arthur Forman 05:28pm, 08/29/2017

    made a great deal of $$$ and I am grateful for the winner’s donation to Houston Relief efforts
    the Club Onyx must have made an impression ;-)
    just wondering how Mayweather would have fared had the fight been done under MMA rules/auspices
    such a match would almost certainly garner an even bigger purse

  3. Carlo Simotti 02:17pm, 08/29/2017

    @Paul Magno, I didn’t insult you, just expressed my legit opinion about the article and briefly explained it. Not only you wrote a list of nonsense with a finger pointed to boxing fans with arrogance, you even allow yourself to insult people that disagree without offending your person. You are an ineducated idiot whose lack of respect is the best synthesis of lack of the basic spirit of boxing and love for the sport, respect being its first principle. You are also a very bad opinion provider in assuming the level of a discipline is given not by its own technical-physical level and credibility, but by the hype and occasional viewers drafted into a one-shot farce. What mined boxing was exactly this - overhyped bullshit like burned Tyson’s sad clowneries by Don King, for example, or to make another even some ducking and cherrypicking by Mayweather himself avoiding fights the moment supremacy setting and “purists” asked for them, with the “casuals” you like so much probably watching Barcelona or Miami Heat or playing videogames. I’m not interested in starting a conversation with you, so another surely vulgar reply from you is not relevant. Oh, and Cotto vs. Kamegai was not fixed. Now I wait for Mc Gregor to quit MMA for boxing, being much more rewarding and him ready to face Errol Spence jr or Pacquiao or Ortiz or Khan, after performing so well in a REAL BOUT against Mayweather

  4. Buster 01:59pm, 08/29/2017

    Oh, and has anybody mentioned the presence of Mauricio Sulaiman, scion of the infamous WBC dictatorship? This character actually created a WBC “championship belt” belt for the occasion and was seen in the ring after the fight. I would not be surprised if he requested a “sanctioning fee”. This fucking “sport” is beyond hope.

  5. Buster 01:47pm, 08/29/2017

    I disagree with the boxing morons who diss this fine and accurate article by Paul Magno. He gets it! The boxing nitwits criticizing him don’t. The only disagreement I have with Paul is that boxing’s true “hard core” old time fans (especially those over 60) abandoned their once favorite sport years ago and with good reason. Shit fights, 100+ champions, King and Sulaiman. The “hard core” complaining about the WWE/Boxing spectacle Saturday night are not really knowledgeable about boxing because if they were they would have abandoned it by the mid 1990s. Today boxing is dead to true “hard core” fan.

  6. Paul Magno 12:49pm, 08/29/2017

    @Carlo…No intention to hate, but you are a moron….A fight isn’t “big” just because it tickles your own titties… I’m talking about a clear downward trend in ratings and mainstream coverage over the last 30 years or so….a ratings bonanza on HBO now, would’ve been an embarrassingly low number just a decade ago…. to deny such clear, absolutely provable reality says a lot about your own lack of real knowledge…. Boxing IS a business, after all… Please reconsider your own lack of actual knowledge before you come in here and start attacking those who HAVE done their homework….

  7. Carlo Simotti 12:44pm, 08/29/2017

    Oh, and a sport is dead when it needs fake crap like this sort of clownery in order to survive. Luckily, it’s not the case of boxing

  8. Carlo Simotti 12:31pm, 08/29/2017

    Sorry, no intention to hate but not to be hated as well by a boxing website. but this is the most complete list of banality and offensive assumptions based on wrong and superficial judgement I ever saw. And even little knowledge of recent boxing history in itself. Don’t know if you’re informed, but we had some pretty decent fights the past two years (not everyone ducks opponents like Floyd did) and in two weeks another interesting one is coming, pity it’s “marginal” and “no big-time” because no hipster bearded guy from somewhere is calling “casuals” to the ppv. By the way, looking at the wages and attendances, it’s probably some other sport in need of some visibility and newbie-hype. Maybe the author could lend it a hand by switching to it instead of old dead boxing

  9. Kid Blast 11:28am, 08/29/2017

    “In the presser on Wednesday for Saturday’s 154-pound clash, Mayweather had the final say at the podium. “This is what it’s about, the best fighting the best,” he said. “ He’s the best at what he does and I’m the best at what I do.’‘

    The best fighting the best is GGG vs. Canelo.

  10. Keep It Real 11:27am, 08/29/2017

    NYT is the definition of bird cage liner. Honestly, do people still read newspapers? If so, WHY?

  11. Kid Blast 11:19am, 08/29/2017

    Keep It Real, get back to Chernobyl with the rest of the trolls you two-headed imbecile.

  12. Paul Magno 11:18am, 08/29/2017

    ...mainstream is a publication or news outlet that reaches the non-boxing masses…Rolling Stone and the NY Times are the very definition of mainstream press…even teeny-bopper YouTubers were covering the fight…

  13. Keep It Real 11:10am, 08/29/2017

    Ahem, “Rolling Stone” and NYT are no longer “mainstream.” This is 2017, not 1987.

  14. Paul Magno 10:57am, 08/29/2017

    ...and seeing all of the mainstream attention the sport got—full, and mostly positive, coverage from Rolling Stone, Maxim, NY Times, etc…—it boggles the mind that some people are still pretending that this wasn’t,  ultimately, more of a benefit to the sport than a detriment…

  15. Paul Magno 10:42am, 08/29/2017

    @Don…no, the point is that the selective moralists are also lazy moralists and have allowed the sport to fall to shit…and the fact that they were so aggressively self-righteous about this silly novelty fight (while being so silent and compliant about the really important stuff) is sad and pathetic…

  16. Keep It Real 10:38am, 08/29/2017

    This article belongs in the circular file. Kid Blast is a boorish bore or an official sock for the writer of this ridiculous piece. What a boot licker this guy is.

  17. Kid Blast 08:35am, 08/29/2017

    For an ‘ass fart” of an article, it sure seems to be getting some attention. Maybe Magno is on to something here about the manipulation of the fans. Maybe he means it’s a part of the dumbing down process that has manifested itself politically these days. And maybe I’m reaching too far here.

  18. Don from Prov 08:23am, 08/29/2017

    This is a true ass-fart of an article—


    That fans who may want something that at least resembles a true contest means they are throw-backs who don’t/can’t understand and appreciate the cynical manipulation that is our current state & thus, in the case of Mayweather/McGregor are destroying a sport as it stands is your thesis?

    Actually, you may be right.
    But you are not right that the “fight” will bring more fans to boxing—
    (beyond one night anyway)

  19. Kid Blast 07:15am, 08/29/2017

    OK Bond my bad. Sorry

  20. Bond 07:07am, 08/29/2017

    Kid Blast. You must be making a mistake : it’s only the third time I’ve left a comment on this website, and the two other articles I commented on were not written by the author of this one. I have no beef with the author whatsoever, I simply do not enjoy his style or the way he criticizes part of the boxing community. Trolling trolls does not make you any less of a troll.

  21. Kid Blast 07:07am, 08/29/2017

    Soto Karass almost beat Herrera.

  22. Steven Stahler 05:59pm, 08/28/2017

    Clearly, this writer is an embarrassed butt hurt MMA fan. WE WERE RIGHT!!  Own it.

  23. Paul Magno 05:58pm, 08/28/2017

    Haha…If anyone thinks that Kamegai wasn’t chosen because he was the perfect stylistic fall guy for Cotto, they are either dumb or delusional….Kamegai had a puncher’s chance like McGregor had a puncher’s chance…Going life and death with a battle weary Soto Karass is hardly a blue ribbon pedigree…for crissake, Kamegai is a guy befuddled by the skill and movement of Alfonso Gomez! His every deficiency matched up perfectly with all of Cotto’s strengths…He was there to get a highlight reel ass beating..and it was wedged into HBO Boxing as premium content, a mismatch forced into your subscription packages as premium content thatbyou pre-pay for…literally, taking up a spot that could’ve gone to a 50-50, competitive fight…THAT is being suckered….at least nobody forced Mayweather-McGregor on anyone…

  24. Franchot Tone 02:10pm, 08/28/2017

    Paul Magno-Kamegai! Kamegai with his constant pressure and constant punching would KO McGregor inside of five…..no!....make that four….Conor would be gasping for breath after three! That’s what this is all about….it’s not about being a purist and you know it….it was an in your face scam from the git go just like your recent in your face articles, including this one!

  25. Kid Blast 11:37am, 08/28/2017

    Arghh. This guy stopped and drew with Jesus Soto Karass before the Cotto fight. How bad could he be? Plus he is a KO artist. No set up. Could have been very dangerous for Cotto had he showed the wear and tear of his great career.

  26. Paul Magno 11:19am, 08/28/2017

    Blast—what snarky comment? It’s the truth. And Kamegai was selected straight from the “Who would be the perfect fall guy for Cotto” handbook….if you know boxing, you saw this a mile away….Cotto at 60 years old and suffering from a case of the gout, could’ve beaten Kamegai….why are you guys so reluctant to admit that Kamegai was chosen to lose to Cotton, just like McGregor was chosen to lose to Mayweather….it’s the truth… you know it and everyone knows it… boxing is built on this shit… it’s reality…. let’s not pretend to be so outraged at one case of cynical matchmaking, like it’s some sudden and unprecedented assault on the sport…. both fights on Saturday were essentially exhibitions for the A-side’s scrapbook and bank book… I’m not understanding why that’s so hard to acknowledge and why it’s so hard to be even-handed about this…

  27. Kid Blast 10:49am, 08/28/2017

    Paul, what part of “point taken” don’t you get? No one is correct 100% of the time. The argument re Marciano is a compelling one IMO and for you to dismiss it with a snarky comment is unacceptable. Moreover, to call Cotto-Kamega a fix does not square with reality. No one knew what kind of shape Cotto would be in after such a long layoff. That he came in at top form was a credit to him and to Roach. This was an X factor. This was no mystery re CM vs. FM. And the Mayweather that fought on Saturday would lose to several guys out there today.

  28. Paul Magno 10:27am, 08/28/2017

    Warrior Poetry is what happens when 95% of your love for the sport is based in nostalgia and fantasy…and that is what’s happening with so many fans these days…history is important, but so is the present and future…way too many of us are obsessed with the family photo album at the expense of paying the mortgage…and we are paying the consequences…as for the fights…well, a mismatch is a mismatch…and you know as well as I do that both Mayweather and Cotto chose their opposition based on the fact that they were beatable….no difference there…yeah, Cotto could’ve suddenly gotten old and could’ve gotten caught with a wild KO punch…but an airplane could’ve fallen on Mayweather, a snipe could’ve shot him from the balcony….any mismatch can be explained away by pointing at wild “what if” scenarios….it’s bullshit…we’re not going to see many more figh like Mayweather-McGregor…we WILL see many, many bouts like Cotto-Kamegai…so, which is the greater evil? When Kamegai is 50, needs a spotter to tie his shoes, and has nothing to show for being used as chum, where will the purists be? Will he be somhappy to be part of such a “pure” event? I’m fine with people tolerating evil, I’m not fine with people SELECTIVELY tolerating evil….as for the typos in the name, it’s the product of trying to work in a room full of screaming kids, home from school because of the hurricane…

  29. Kid Blast 09:47am, 08/28/2017

    Who is Paul Magnopa?

  30. Kid Blast 09:46am, 08/28/2017

    Cotto-Kamegai was boxer against boxer. Mayweather fought a guy who’s boxing record is 0-0-0. Give me a fucking break here. If Cotto had not been in shape, he would have been in troubled waters late. Sure, the guy took way too many head shots, but at least he had a plan.

    As for your Marciano comment, I don’t quite understand it. We who are aficionado’s of fights that go back to the 50’s know what we know. There are not many of us left, but we were there and we know what happened. So please, save me the “internet savvy” bullshit. What next, warrior poetry? .

  31. Pauk Magnopa 08:53am, 08/28/2017

    As for Marciano’s mark….I will admit to gladly exchanging that record for even a small handful of young, energetic, internet-savvy fans…so, I’m the wrong person to address this concern…

  32. Paul Magno 08:47am, 08/28/2017

    Cotto-Kamegai was every bit the fix as Mayweather-McGregor was…and if you don’t see that, you are a mark of the highest order…and much more dangerous to boxing than those who tuned in to see the mega-spectacle…that was kind of the point…a point that, predictably, is lost on the marks….

  33. Kid Blast 08:13am, 08/28/2017

    Donald Grant and Bond. Give it a rest. I think I know who you are and that you have a personal axe to grind with Paul so enough with the vitriol and either come clean with your real name or be gone..

  34. Kid Blast 08:09am, 08/28/2017

    J Carroll Naish has the best. This was the essence of a fix. Mayweather appeased the betters by carrying CM for just enough rounds and then he appeased his ball huggers by taking out his terribly mismatched and gassed opponent. Now I get your point Paul, but you need to understand that those of us who know what Rocky M did back in the day are distressed by any claim that this farce’s outcome broke his record. It’s asterisk time.

  35. J Carroll Naish 06:56am, 08/28/2017

    Paul Magno-“Mayweather carried an earnest but overmatched McGregor for a few rounds and then….” this is the text book definition of a “fix”....but for some reason that doesn’t seem to register with you. All you want to do is pontificate about “purists” clutching their pearls! YADA YADA YADA! Everybody that knows anything about professional boxing knows that it’s a septic tank that needs to be emptied…..and while we’re at it, don’t think for a minute that Byrd was not conscious of the under 9.5 betting, in fact he probably didn’t get shut out like Floyd did!

  36. Bond 06:50am, 08/28/2017

    The “purists” criticizing the fight all day long look like pretty annoying people, but the author of this g-string of articles seems much worse

  37. Donald Grant 06:26am, 08/28/2017

    Twenty articles - twenty! - on the homepage (forget about what’s been archived) on this cheesy fight. And this author in particular has written the exact same stupid obnoxious article like ten times.

    Soon - if not already - the worst boxing site on the web.

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