What may be the biggest one-day revenue generating fight in history is just hours away with Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor in a boxing match taking place tonight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The fight, or more accurately, the cash heist, is expected to generate between $600 million and $700 million between all the various revenue streams, or very close to a full year of WWE revenue and more than a full year of UFC revenue.
Advance orders on PPV and iPPV are said to be incredibly strong, although the Mayweather-Pacquiao record of 4.6 million buys was achieved with an incredible number of late buys, and nobody can predict whether that is going to happen today.
It's pretty clear the buzz is enormous and it's all over ESPN, with what has been ostensibly fair coverage portraying the fight as, despite what Bob Bennett of the Nevada Athletic Commission said, would be unsanctionable if it wasn't for the amount of money it would generate given Mayweather is 49-0 and the best boxer of his generation, even if a little past his prime, and McGregor never having fought in a professional boxing match.
Another controversy much talked about is that Rocky Marciano, a legendary heavyweight, finished his career at 49-0, the same as Mayweather, and the feeling that this should not be the fight to break such a hallowed mark.
But the fight was sanctioned by the Nevada Athletic Commission, even though Bennett even conceded other commissioners told him they would not sanction the fight.
Still, saying this would be the biggest upset in the history of boxing if McGregor would win goes greatly against the odds, which on Bovada this morning had Mayweather at only -375 and McGregor at +285. On paper, those odds are ridiculously close for what most experts see as a mismatch and one that McGregor has only a very slim chance of winning, and an early knockout being the best chance.
Between 92 and 93 percent of the bets have been for McGregor, although the biggest money bets, by far, have been for Mayweather, including some bets of more than $1 million. Even though far more actual money has been bet on Mayweather, for the sports books, a McGregor knockout win would constitute a major disaster, beating out the Holly Holm win over Ronda Rousey as the worst night for the sports books in history for a fight.
It has been said, with the volume of betting, that this will likely be the best night in history, or the worst, ever for sports books, depending on the outcome.
Here's tonight's schedule --
There will be two live fights from 7-9 p.m. Eastern on the Fox Network:
- Yordenis Ugas vs. Thomas Dulorme in a welterweight fight
- Juan Hernandez vs. Jose Miguel Borrego in a welterweight fight
The PPV starts at 9 p.m. Eastern:
- Andrew Tabiti vs. Steve Cunningham in a cruiserweight fight
- Gervonta Davis vs. Francisco Fonseca in a junior lightweight fight
- Badou Jack vs. Nathan Cleverly in a light heavyweight fight
- Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor in a super welterweight fight
Mayweather weighed in at 149.5 pounds and looked in great shape at that weight. He didn't cut any weight since the fight is at 154 pounds. McGregor weighed in at 153 pounds, and is expected to go into the cage at 168 pounds, giving him a nearly 20 pound weight advantage.
The fight could be pivotal, as in some circles it's being positioned as boxing vs. MMA, although the history of mixed matches shows in almost every case, it is the rules of the match that determine the winner, and this is under Mayweather's rules.
But the reality is this fight is not as much boxing vs. MMA as the age-old of what is better between booking based on real sport credential or based on emotional fantasy. Unfortunately, the kind of attention this fight is getting and the public interest is one that greatly sways the reality of the modern fan into the latter camp.
For all the talk of UFC turning into pro wrestling, this has been the case in combat sports for a century, and based on the interest tonight, there is no sign at all that the public has changed.
There is a little known story, but this is actually not the first time Mayweather flirted with this kind of an idea. There was at least talk of a fight between Mayweather and Giorgio Petrosyan for May 3rd, 2014. Petrosyan at the time was the best kickboxer in the world.
Petrosyan was 76-1-2 in kickboxing, with his prior loss being six years earlier. But at a show in New York, Petrosyan was knocked out by Andy Ristie, and Mayweather lost interest in the gimmick fight, and fought Marcos Maidana on that date.
Another little known story is that Danny Hodge, before he became a pro wrestling superstar, but as an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling and undefeated three-time NCAA champion and arguably the most dominant college wrestler of all-time, went into pro boxing and there was talk of him getting a shot at then-champion Floyd Patterson.
But Patterson's camp decided to go with Ingemar Johansson, for a 1959 fight at Yankee Stadium in New York, which Johansson won via third round knockout. Hodge had a 7-1 record at the time, but lost his next fight to Nino Valdes and never boxed again.