The Money Fight: Mayweather, McGregor in ultimate Vegas blockbuster

Updated: August 25, 2017

In case you’ve been holidaying on Mars in recent weeks, the two biggest stars from the world of boxing and MMA, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor, will enter the ring this Sunday (August 27) for The Money Fight – one of the most anticipated boxing bouts of all time. Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be looking to cement his position as the greatest pound-for-pound boxer in history as he comes out of retirement to take on UFC’s most recognised talent and reigning UFC lightweight champion, Conor McGregor. Despite being out of the ring since 2015, Mayweather’s legacy remains unblemished, boasting an incredible 49-0 professional boxing record. McGregor, known as one of the most dangerous strikers in MMA, will utilise his fierce and competitive nature to overcome his lack of boxing skill and experience.


“The Money Fight”: Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. (49-0, 26KOs, orthodox) v “The Notorious” Conor McGregor (0-0, southpaw)
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, NV, USA
When: Sunday, August 27
Outright market: Mayweather $1.22, McGregor $4.60

Suggested betting: Mayweather inside 7 rounds ($2.75)


TIW says: The numbers attached to this event are staggering. Ringside seats have been spotted going for more than USD $125,000, an anticipated 5,000,000 PPV purchases in the USA alone and a 60-40 revenue split that could earn Mayweather up to USD $250 million and McGregor more than USD $150 million. In Las Vegas, the betting handle is set to smash the record for the previous mark set in the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout of May 2015. The exact handle on boxing matches isn’t tracked by the Nevada Gaming Control Board but it’s thought that the number was near USD $60 million. As a single one-bet market, the Mayweather-McGregor fight will probably only be surpassed for the Super Bowl this year.


The Mayweather vs. McGregor UFC-Boxing crossover has sports fans and bettors gripped for the simple reason that it has no precedent. This provides fertile grounds for debate and speculation but is a huge headache for anyone trying to predict the outcome with any certainty, as predictions rely on the past informing our idea of the future. Weeks ago, when the fight was formally confirmed, we attempted to apply the practices of good prediction. Forget the macro – focus on the micro – what boxing form does McGregor have? What are their respective motivations? What style does McGregor fight, and what is Mayweather’s success-rate against that style? We’ve challenged our prejudices, translated hunches into probability and tried, where possible, to block out the relentless hype.

Mayweather hasn’t been in the ring since September 12, 2015, defeating Andre Berto via 12-round unanimous decision. It was his seventh successive win by decision and the 12th time in the past 14 fights that Mayweather has gone to the judges’ cards. Mayweather has only suffered one recorded knockdown in his storied career and that was more a reaction to breaking his hand on Carlos Hernandez’s face in 2001. McGregor has picked up 18 of his 21 professional MMA victories by way of knockout. Oddsmakers clearly think that his only shot at winning this fight is to KO Mayweather. Mayweather has battled for 387 total career rounds as a professional while McGregor boasts a diminutive 37 overall in the much tougher environment of the Octagon.


Trouble is, this isn’t a boxing contest or a legitimate sporting event. This is show business, pure and simple. We might as well be trying to handicap a Wrestlemania main event (and many attempt to do so). If this event was to be treated seriously, then there could only be one possible outcome: a KO win for Mayweather. The only legitimate question mark we can pose is the condition – physically and mentally – of the 40-year-old Mayweather. He hasn’t fought in two years. But every boxing analyst we’ve consulted don’t give McGregor a chance. And that’s how it should be. Despite what the odds are saying right now, this would be the biggest upset in boxing history.

The market isn’t much help either. Mayweather has drifted from $1.10 to $1.22 while McGregor has been slashed from $7.70 into $4.60. Let’s put into perspective. Punters now think that for every five occasions this fight would be contested, McGregor would win once. That sounds absurd, yet that’s what the market is telling us. Our instinct is that this money is not based on value, but on emotion. That will lead to more wagers on McGregor before the fight. The people betting Conor McGregor truly believe he can beat Floyd Mayweather. And so does the man himself. He is something special – his ability to draw people to his corner is incredible. You must respect that.


This isn’t a situation in which we’re remotely interested in investing. Too many variables and too many question marks to go with the 500lb elephant of the staggering money on offer. If pushed to make a call one way or another, we’re expecting controversy. If a single Mayweather-McGregor fight can generate hundreds of millions in revenue, why not go around again? Mayweather by disqualification is available at $7.50. If we were playing this event straight up as a legitimate fight, a Mayweather win inside seven rounds at $2.75 would probably be our play. Despite the lack of appeal from a betting perspective, we’ll be tuning in – drama is the only certainty!

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