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The fight of the century

Comments Off on The fight of the century 18 June 2017

The fight of the century

“The world is waiting for the Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor fight,” says the entire media. Is that so? Given that I have never seen Mayweather or McGregor fight in their respective sports, the world does not include me. So why should I be excited and why am I not?

I would imagine that for this cross-sports match-up will be something to behold. So far, I understand the undercard is stacking up really well. Phil “The Power” Taylor lines up against Usain Bolt, followed by Ronnie O’Sullivan against the Harlem Globetrotters. This is going to be some night. Except that it isn’t.

I know little about UFC other than the fact that men – or women – get into a cage and smack the shit out of each other until one or the other is unconscious. Boxing is very different though because two men – or women – get into a ring and smack the shit our of each other until one or the other is unconscious. Remember that distinction once you have paid your £25 or whatever it is that Sky charges you.

It appears that both men will receive a purse of something like £80 million for what is, in effect, a boxing friendly match. There will be no titles at stake, just a freak show for people with too much money and too much time on their hands.

The Mail on Sunday chief sportswriter Oliver Holt describes the fight as a “massive marketing stunt”, adding that “it’s a sideshow. It’s an offshoot. It’s a bit like the Battle of the Sexes between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.” If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Well don’t worry about that, Ollie. I certainly won’t. But millions will.

I can understand the attraction of boxing even if I get uneasy watching it. When a fighter gets smacked on the head over and over again, I know it is not good for him. When a rugby players suffers a head injury, he gets a concussion examination. When a boxer gets a head injury, the cornermen chuck water in his face and he carries on. You do not need to be a neurosurgeon to conclude that repeated head trauma will lead to brain injury. It is the noble art, but it is also a noble art that ends up with old fighters suffering from pugilista dementia. Muhammad Ali was the greatest boxer who ever lived but boxing took a terrible toll on his health.

I suspect I am not the only one who could not give a toss about the McGregor/Mayweather fight. It is about as much to do with sport as Big Daddy versus Giant Haystacks and will be every bit as dull.

But Phil Taylor against Usain Bolt. I can’t wait for that one.

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