OK so as a boxing columnist you might think I would have a lot to say about tonight and the contest between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor but I have been quiet. Unlike many, I do see this as a fight and welcome it. I do think it is showbusiness and circus but it is very much BUSINESS. So, before I launch into it – let’s get the undercard out the way…
For me the best business has been that undercard. They have given us boxing fans something to watch that is a genuine boxing treat.
We have Wales’ WBA light heavyweight champion in a first defence title fight against Sweden’s naturalised American, Badou Jack. Nathan Cleverly goes into the ring to welcome Jack into the light heavyweight stakes in an attempt to be the first Brit to beat him. As supermiddleweight both James DeGale and George Groves both failed. Will Cleverly fare any better? We all hope so but Cleverly needs to get past the fact that he is not an explosive puncher but a superior boxer. He may need all that craft and we would not be surprised if Jack makes a very big statement tonight and sets up the Andre Ward fight that Cleverly believes should be his. This is a genuinely tough ask for the boy from the Valleys.
The IBF did have a super featherweight fight between Gervonta Davis and Francisco Fonsera and it was only going to go one way – Davis by stoppage, I think. Davis was a massive presence at super featherweight and I reckon we are in for a display of boxing skills from Mayweather’s protégé that will dazzle and set up an even bigger fight on a smaller stage – there can be no bigger stage than the one he is on tonight… the problem for Davis is that the IBF have stripped Davis as he came in 2 pounds over weight. Only Fonsera can take the belt and I think that Davis shall still win and make that statement. Now, though, we are looking at a different weight division for his next step.
The British Super middleweight Savannah Marshall is up against Sydney Leblanc and has joked during the week that, after this experience she should retire! What could top this? Maybe that rematch with Claressa Shields so she can beat her again? I am very much looking forward to this one…
Finally, at light middleweight Floyd Mayweather Jr v Conor MacGregor tops the bill.
I think we stare reality in the face here which is, boxing is still bigger than MMA but MMA is about to go truly global. Boxing has not had a mouth to replace the Louisville Lip but we might be seeing an emergence of one in Mr McGregor. That lip talked and then his ability in the ring made people listen – that shall be tested tonight.
This is what ought to happen: –
Floyd Mayweather starts slowly and takes a few rounds to find the range and then takes McGregor out. Though McGregor is a supremely fit athlete and does not have a concussive punch better than any other fighter that has shared a ring with Mayweather he will not be able to land it as Mayweather is a master of dodge, weave and counter. Boxing feels vindicated, all get paid and MMA and McGregor find a world stage that they have never been on before and we get on with things.
Will that happen?
We are all fixated on finding out.
This is a truly global event, thanks to Conor McGregor. He has been unbelievably good at getting the fight, selling the fight and turning the boxing community in Celtic knots. Let’s be real – nobody likes Mayweather the person. We all admire the boxer but the guy? Please…
We all love Conor McGregor, but do we want him to win? Erm…
Come the dawn I am sure nothing shall remain the same in combat sports. This has had more twists and turns than can be imagined. I shall hope for a boxing win and prepare myself for the debate that follows.
All we can hope for is both fighters walk out the ring in one piece and love the arguments they leave behind.
In Carson, California we have world title action with that warrior of the ring, Miguel Cotto facing Yoshihiro Kamegai for the vacant WBO super-welterweight title and we hope for a Cotto win but Kamegai is no mug. Also on the bill there is Rey Vargas defending his WBC super-bantamweight title against Ronny Rios with us all thinking Vargas has too much for his challenger.
If you have the time then head on up to Aberdeen tonight where we have super bantamweight Kristen Fraser, super featherweight Darren Traynor up against Jamie Quinn, super welterweight Chris Ryder makes his debut against William Warburton, welterweight action between Liall McKenzie and James Gorman and super bantamweight Billy Stuart is back against Kamil Jaworek. That should set you up perfectly for watching the bigger fights afterwards and I reckon wins for Fraser, Traynor, Ryder, McKenzie and Stuart.
Next Friday the 1st of September, Matchroom are at York Hall with light heavyweight Jake Ball v Joe Sherriff and we are hoping that Ball keeps up his momentum. Super welterweight Ted Cheeseman, is yet to know his opponent but he also should be cementing his future. Then super featherweight Joe Cordina will face the tough Jamie Speight, and to be fair Cordina should be walking away with a win whilst welterweight Connor Benn faces Kane Baker in the next phase of his impressive journey. Sensational light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi, is back – no opponent as yet named and cruiserweight knock out specialist Lawrence Okolie, is also there without an opponent – would you want to face this guy?
We also have middleweight Felix Cash v Fernando Heredia and super middleweight Danny Dignum v Lewis van Poetsch whilst middleweight William Weber faces Sonny Whiting with wins predicted for Cash, Dignumand Weber.
In Blackpool, we also have 2 fights, in Walsall 7 and in Leeds no fewer than 9.
Saturday 2nd September
London – 2 BIBA fights
Doncaster – 8 fights including the return of Curtis Woodhouse
Manchester – 10 fights