Famed boxer Floyd Mayweather announced that he’s coming out of retirement after two years away from boxing. Perhaps even bigger news is the fact that Mayweather wants his first opponent to be UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.
There are other options, including unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman, rising prospect Errol Spence, and super welterweight fighter Canelo Alvarez. But none offer anywhere near the payday as a bout with McGregor.
The Irish MMA fighter, who comes from a boxing family, has proven just as adept at self-promotion as Mayweather. And for this reason, McGregor believes that he’s the same kind of draw.
But Mayweather has said all along that he’s the “A-side” to this prospective fight. He went on a rant about this shortly after announcing that he’s coming back to the ring.
“When I faced Arturo Gatti [in 2005 in Atlantic City], I went to his turf,” Mayweather explained. “He was the A-side, I was the B-side. I beat him. I didn’t cry. I didn’t complain. When I faced Oscar De La Hoya [in 2007 in Las Vegas], he was the A-side and I was the B-side. I didn’t cry. I didn’t complain. I beat him and I became the A-side.”
Mayweather specifically addressed McGregor during the rant and added that he wants the fight to take place in June.
“For Conor McGregor, I’m coming out of retirement, just to fight Conor McGregor,” said Mayweather. “I don’t want to hear no more excuses about the money, about the UFC. Sign the paper with the UFC so you can fight me in June. Simple and plain, let’s fight in June. You’re the B-side, I’m the A-side. We’re not here to cry about money. I’m tired of all this crying about money and saying you want to fight. You’re blowing smoke up everyone’s [butt], if you want to fight, sign the paperwork.”
Aside from bringing up how he’s the A-side again, Mayweather discussed what motivated him to come out of retirement, while managing to diss McGregor at the time time.
“I probably had silk pajamas on and they kept saying that, ‘Conor McGregor wants to fight. Conor McGregor wants to fight. Conor McGregor wants to fight,’” he recalled. “And to be honest, when they kept saying that, I was really like, to be honest, ‘I don’t know who the [expletive] that is.”
Continuing with the idea that he didn’t know McGregor, Mayweather said he needed two members of his security team to show him who the Irishman was through video footage.
“He’s using my name for leverage,” said Mayweather, believing that McGregor wasn’t serious about the fight.
Of course, on the flip side, Mayweather needs McGregor to make a big payday. The latter is the biggest name in MMA, and he’d no doubt complete a massive pay-per-view.
Mayweather hasn’t fought since Sept. 12, 2015, when he ended his career with an easy victory over the lightly known Andre Berto. At the time, there were no more big names for Money to fight and earn a huge payday, given that he’s beaten everybody else within striking range.
This isn’t to say that McGregor will offer any sort of new challenge. Although he’s on top of the MMA lightweight game and a good puncher, he isn’t a boxer by trade. While boxing is part of MMA, it’s far different than lacing up the gloves and taking on the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
Despite the fact that he’s a decided underdog, McGregor hasn’t backed down on his assertion that he can win this fight. He even stirred the pot by tweeting a picture of one of Mayweather’s “The Money Team” vans burning in the UK.
Police assessing CCTV footage after suspected arson attack on Floyd Mayweather's van https://t.co/0L4GIINhVY
— Media Beast (@Mediabeast3) March 6, 2017
While it appears that McGregor has the confidence part down, he’s got a lot of work to do in the boxing department. He’s never boxed as an amateur or pro and would need to put in heavy training before June.
McGregor’s biggest UFC rival, Nate Diaz, lent some surprising support to the idea that the Irishman can win – especially in the earlier rounds.
“I think it is a big publicity stunt, but my take on a boxing match between the two is that McGregor, I think he’s got a good chance to make something happen in the first two or three rounds,” Diaz explained. “If anything, two or three rounds. But he’s got an amateur style where he’s only got the good movement, good punches for six, eight minutes. I think that’s too amateur for Mayweather. I’m just saying he’s got a puncher’s chance, if anything.”
Nothing is in writing yet, and McGregor has yet to respond to Mayweather’s comeback rant. But given the potential money on the table, it may be too tempting for McGregor to pass this deal up.
Assuming the fight does happen, you can bet that sportsbooks will be ringing with wagers on the Mayweather-McGregor fight.