This weekend, Andre Ward faces Sergey Kovalev in a rematch of their hotly contested bout from last November. The first fight was the most important bout of 2016. This will be the most important of 2017. The two are vying for status as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. They are both future Hall of Famers and will be mentioned in discussions of the greatest fighters in the division’s history.
You cannot ask for a better matchup than this.
But it’s unlikely you heard much about this fight from the mainstream sports media or even from the ranks of the casual fans. What have they been more likely to talk about this week?
Floyd Mayweather vs. Connor McGregor. True fight fans can only shake their heads in dismay.
In a world with intellectual integrity, this fight would never get sanctioned. McGregor has zero professional boxing matches. Mayweather is the greatest boxer of his generation. A bout between them cannot reasonably be approved as a competitive fight.
Tim Sylvia could not get approved to box Ray Mercer back in 2009. Sylvia is McGregor, but Mercer is even further from Mayweather–especially in 2009, when he was about to turn 48. And at the time of the fight, Sylvia had recently reigned as UFC heavyweight champion.
The fight was instead made as an MMA bout, with a wink-and-nod understanding that it would remain a standup fight. Sylvia got knocked out in 10 seconds.
I don’t think Mayweather would knockout McGregor in 10 seconds. He might not knock him out at all, though I’d be willing to bet that he will. But maybe he would simply turn it into a drawn-out, glorified sparring match, in which he merely embarrasses McGregor.
Get this straight: McGregor sure as hell ain’t knocking out Floyd. Mayweather is one of the two or three hardest to hit boxers in the history of the sport. Future Hall of Famers such as Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley and Ricky Hatton were unable to land enough punches on Mayweather to beat him. On the rare occasion when Mayweather has actually been tagged by a good shot, such as against Mosley, he has demonstrated an above-average chin.
Still, expect this fight to happen. This week Nevada approved August 26 as a date for a Mayweather boxing event. An honest AC would never sanction it, but you can’t be an honest AC in Nevada. The fight would bring a huge windfall of money to Las Vegas. Any Nevada AC that refused to sanction it would likely be dismissed and replaced by a commission that would.