Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor is, depending on your point of view, either the boxing match of the millennium or a cross-code money-spinning abomination, but what we can tell you with certainty is that the fight is rapidly approaching. Later this month, the once-retired all-time great boxer Mayweather will take on UFC’s biggest star McGregor in Las Vegas.
After all the speculation about whether we would have the fight, the last few weeks have seen much name-calling and animosity on both sides, as the rivalry intensifies ahead of the big day.
Anyway, here’s everything you need to know about the fight between a boxer with a 49-0 record facing a man who has never taken part in a professional boxing fight.
What date is the fight and at what time?
The fight is happening on Saturday 26 August. While the times haven’t been announced, it will certainly be a late night or very early start for viewers in the UK, so expect to be up well into Sunday 27 August, and possibly calling in sick on Monday 28.
Where is the fight taking place?
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.
How has the rivalry developed in the last few weeks?
The pair embarked on a four-day tour last month that took in trips to London, Los Angeles, Toronto and New York.
The tension reached a crescendo at the SSE Arena in Wembley, when after trading profanities, the UFC fighter said: “Four years ago I fought in London at The Forum in front of about 500 people. Now here I am about to quadruple my net worth with one half a fight. Sign me up. No one is going to kick, knee or elbow. And it’s against this little b****.”
There was also controversy in New York when McGregor was accused of racism after saying “I’m half-black”.
What are their fighting records?
Mayweather retired in 2015 with an unblemished 49-0 professional boxing record.
He is widely regarded as one of the best defensive fighters ever, and prides himself on his ability to evade punishment with his skillful movement about the ring while making adjustments against opponents on the fly.
A win for Mayweather would move him ahead of former heavyweight great Rocky Marciano, who also retired with a perfect 49-0 career record.
McGregor, the UFC’s reigning lightweight champion and former featherweight champion, is known as much for his bravado as for his explosive knockout power inside an MMA octagon.
The 28-year-old Irishman became the first UFC fighter to hold two belts simultaneously when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez in New York last November for the lightweight championship.
The UFC stripped McGregor of his featherweight belt shortly after that fight when he announced he would be taking some time off after he and long-time partner Dee Devlin had their first baby in May.
Known for his devastating striking and highlight-reel knockouts, McGregor is also quick and irrational on his feet, but few would back him to beat one of the most complete boxers of all time.
What are the rules of the fight?
The fight will be held under boxing rules, presenting a huge challenge for mixed martial artists McGregor as he faces off against one of the greatest defensive boxers in history.
Adding to McGregor’s challenge, the fighters will be using 10-ounce boxing gloves instead of the smaller UFC gloves and he will not be allowed to use the leg kicks or takedowns that are used in mixed martial arts.
McGregor will weigh in at 154 pounds, UFC president Dana White told ESPN.
What are the odds?
Bookies immediately predicted a Mayweather win. William Hill put the veteran fighter at 1/11 favourite.
Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich said the odds would be even more lopsided if it wasn’t for the deluge of small bets expected to come in from UFC fans on their fighter.
“Realistically if we were just putting up a number and didn’t have to take bets on it, Floyd would be 1/100,” Bogdanovich said. “But this will be a very, very big betting fight for sure, one of the biggest ever.”
What have they said?
Floyd Mayweather Jr
In the first stop of a four-city media tour promoting the fight, told the 20,000-strong crowd in Los Angeles: “I don’t care if it’s a ring or it’s an octagon, I will kick ass. I don’t back down for anybody.
“You line them up and I will knock them down. On August 26, I’m gonna knock this b**** out too.”
McGregor retorted: “You haven’t knocked anyone out in about 20 years.”
Mayweather added: “We talking about from the nineties to now, world champion 18 years, but it is no problem. I’m not the same fighter as I was years ago, but I got enough to beat you.
“You will wave that white flag. You are going out on your face or your back. Which was do you want to go? All you need to do is show up and I will do the rest.
“God only made one thing perfect, and that is my boxing record.”
The Irishman was the crowd favourite at the opening press event as he made fun of Mayweather’s IRS troubles – a lack of cash prompted him to file an appeal with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) regarding overdue taxes – and promised to flatten an aging fighter.
“He’s in a track suit,” McGregor told the crowd of more than 11,000 people. “He can’t even afford a suit anymore.”
“I am honoured to be here, to give you this spectacle,” McGregor said. “His little legs, his little core, his little head, I am going to knock him out inside four rounds, mark my words.
“I am a young, confident, happy man that has worked extremely hard for this.
“I am just up here embracing everything. No-one can do anything to me. I am just enjoying myself and having a good time.
“He will be unconsciousness in four rounds. He has never faced this. I don’t fear him.
“All these rules, all these restrictions, it doesn’t faze me; it amuses me. It is funny to me all these rules.
“All I need is a gum shield. Line me up to the ring and I am good to go.”