By Andreas Hale
Boxing fans won’t have to wait any longer because Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin will go from fiction to reality on September 16th, 2017 at a location to be determine. Although the presentation was a little hokey, fans watching on pay per view and inside of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas rejoiced after being treated to a ho-hum one-sided sparring session orchestrated by Canelo against the son of a legend-turned-human punching bag, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.
Nothing could ruin that moment.
But something could ruin the build toward what should be a marvelous shootout. And that something is Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor.
The freakshow fight that boxing fans could care less about still looms large. And with UFC president Dana White’s admission that Canelo-GGG took their date, which just so happens to fall on Mexican Independence Day, there is speculation that the Mayweather-McGregor boxing match could cast a shadow over Canelo-GGG if it were to be made.
What was originally thought to be a joke seems to inch closer to reality as the weeks go by. For Maywewather, it’s an easy way to cash out against an opponent that literally has zero chance of beating him. For McGregor, it’s a fantasy fight that he’ll be paid handsomely for in defeat. Losing to Mayweather won’t hurt his stature and he’ll head back to the UFC with some significant leverage when it comes to negotiating his next fight. Well, that is if there’s a next fight.
It’s a win-win for everyone involved but an insult to the sport of boxing. Unfortunately, in an era of reality TV stars and talentless musicians, the event that will garner more coverage is the one that shouldn’t happen in the first place. It doesn’t help when your Skip Bayless-es of the world – who are supposed to be “experts” – fix their mouths to suggest that this fight could be remotely close to competitive.
But the real question is whether or not Canelo-GGG falling on a date that Mayweather has fought on regularly for the past half decade pushes the semi-retired boxer to lock the fight in and upstage Canelo-GGG.
Because, nobody upstages Floyd Mayweather. And, to a lesser degree, nobody upstages Conor McGregor, either.
Considering that both Mayweather and McGregor are showman who love nothing more than the spotlight and the bags of money that would be associated with it, one can’t count out the possibility that Canelo-GGG has created a sense of urgency to make this fight happen.
Dana White recently went on record to suggest that the fight has a deadline to be made. But that rhetoric should be taken with a grain of salt considering the windfall of money that the fight could rake in. Unfortunately, Canelo and GGG won’t come close to being the attraction that Mayweather-McGregor would be despite it being a can’t miss fight between two of the best fighters in the world. If the two sides can come to an agreement, the fight will be made. And it will have a significant effect on how well Canelo-GGG does.
If Mayweather decides to be petty, he could make a play for T-Mobile in Las Vegas on the same weekend that Canelo-GGG is scheduled to take place. But Mayweather wouldn’t be that petty to upstage a boxing match that can only help the sport, would he? But even if the fight isn’t made on that particular weekend, the fight being made would certainly overshadow any promotion that Canelo-GGG would have in the build up to the fight. Not to mention that it would force an audience to choose because you know that Mayweather-McGregor is going to have an extraordinarily high PPV price tag on it. It will dominate the small window of conversation that boxing is granted on talking head sports shows and make Canelo-GGG and afterthought of sorts. Not that it will do poor, but it would definitely take the wind out of the event’s sails.
The reality is that boxing doesn’t need Mayweather-McGregor. Only Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather and all parties involved need that fight to fatten their pockets. It proves nothing and overshadows fights that should garner the attention of the buying public. With Canelo-GGG being made, one would hope that a Mayweather-McGregor fight collapses under its own weight. Or, if it has to be made, do it early next year when there isn’t a megafight scheduled in boxing.
It would be in the best interest of the sport to never see Mayweather-McGregor take place in a boxing ring. If people were unhappy with how Mayweather-Pacquiao played out, imagine what that fight would look like as Mayweather proceeds to put on a glorified sparring session for the masses. All of the drama and excitement for that fight would take place in the months building toward it. And while it would be fun to watch McGregor and Mayweather trash talk each other to no end, the fight itself is what matters.
Boxing doesn’t need any more black eyes. It’s had enough. Hopefully, this Mayweather-McGregor fight stalls out and the 40-year-old can enjoy his retirement while McGregor heads back to the UFC and defends the lightweight title he won last November. We’re better off speculating that fight than living through it. Instead, all of boxing’s energy can be placed into the one fight that actually matters.