Life at the Dragon – Mayweather McGregor
Life at the Dragon – Mayweather McGregor
Welcome to an ongoing series of features detailing life at Lucky Dragon Las Vegas.
From our Writer in Residence, Gareth A. Davies of London’s Telegraph:
A Look Into Mayweather McGregor
It was another fascinating week in Las Vegas, staying at the Lucky Dragon and covering the richest fight in boxing history. And, as the dust has settled a week and a half after the fight, it’s amazing to thinkthat Conor McGregor of
the UFC world versus Floyd Mayweather generated more interest across the pond than Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao. I was certainly on call night and day from my suite at the Lucky Dragon, skipping with television news channels, radio stations and with my journalist home, the London Daily Telegraph.
As ever, being parked up The Strip at my home from home in Vegas, the Lucky Dragon, afforded me an oasis of calm, amid the maelstrom of activities taking place at the other end of Las Vegas Boulevard. Over in the UK, and Ireland, the interest was greater than any fight we have ever witnessed. And – in the end – it was Mayweather, briefly allowing McGregor into the early rounds as his fighting brain processed the range against the Irishman, put on a glorified sparring session with McGregor.
Or was Mayweather just old and over the hill after two years absent from the ring and papering over the cracks? There were times when he looked old and slow. He was caught by an uppercut, for goodness sake. Rightly or wrongly, though, on whatever level you choose to call this fun crossover fight for the ages, there was a level of interest from across The Pond even greater than for Mayweather-Ricky Hatton, and Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao. Staggering, really.
Here’s a sprinkling of indicators: the live blog report at The Telegraph, for example, was reaching numbers which not even the UK General Election could match, and as the fight got underway, numbers greater than 10 million were reading the reports live digitally. That will more than treble when the counters are in after those in the UK, and elsewhere, awoke. That trend will have been replicated across many media outlets, and it is not often that I’m called upon to talk about boxing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, a broadcast which features politics and the very heavyweight news of the day. Indeed, all the heavyweight programmes on television on TalkSport Radio and the BBC wanted an ‘in’ on the fight.
McGregor was front, centre and back with all the national newspapers. Again, the Telegraph’s Monday morning Editor’s Comments even ran a section praising the entertainment value. Same pretty much everywhere. The big question, given its mammoth money-making enterprise, is whether it will spawn more of them ? Personally, I think it will. Because it will make enough money to get bums on seats and create downpayments on real estate. British boxer Tony Bellew talked of a fight with the UFC’s Michael Bisping. That would be Liverpool versus Manchester. David Haye was called into a fight with Jimi Manuwa, a big-hitting fighter in the UFC. Both South London men, and a bitter clash. Even Anthony Joshua, the London-based WBA and IBF heavyweight champion, mentioned an MMA fight down the line. In the UK, these contests would put enough bums on seats to make money.
Then, will McGregor be back? I imagine only if it is big enough. Paulie Malignaggi, a loud voice in the spats of news stories, is not a big enough draw in my opinion. Amir Khan might be good, though, and he winked at the idea. Regardless, the experiment worked. Two huge stars from different ends of the combat sports spectrum coming together for Mayweather’s last fight.
But Mayweather could take a return fight with McGregor in mixed martial arts and create a bigger gate and an even larger pay per view, according to Bellator MMA chief executive Scott Coker, who believes the record-breaking event between the two fight sport stars will likely spawn a series of crossovers from both ends the combat sports spectrum. I spoke to him a few days after the fight.
“I think there is tremendous interest in crossover fights. These fights are extremely large fights with big fighters,” Coker explained to me. “Don’t be surprised if Nate Diaz goes in there and has a fight. Don’t be surprised if Paulie Malignaggi comes to MMA and has a fight. You heard Andre Berto say he wants to go to MMA. There’s going to be this back and forth for a little while.” Nothing new, either, believes the 54 year old, born in Soeul, who has spent his life promoting fight sports in Japan, with the uber-successful K1 fighting and with MMA on the USA’s pacific coast. “Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki had that fight in ’77 or ’76 and that was like the first mixed martial arts fight where Ali was boxing and Inoki could throw leg kicks. Then you fast forward to the Randy Couture fight with James Toney (a UFC event in 2010).”
“If a boxer wants to take the time and really learn the art of MMA, and he has a big name in boxing and wants to come over, why wouldn’t we want to see that? If Floyd would fight Conor in MMA I think he’d do a bigger gate and a bigger PPV than boxing.” Coker’s view is that although a McGregor-Mayweather fight would be seen as just as one-sided as the boxing match was perceived, the interest would nonetheless remain huge.
“People will say Conor will probably take him out or choke him out, but those two guys could sell anything. They would sell that fight, people would buy it and I think it would break the record from the weekend before last,” explained Coker. “If Conor takes him down, chokes him out and Floyd taps, there’s no loss of respect there. If you tap out it just means it’s his night and you go on to the next fight. Why not let him do it?” But for me, once was enough. Time to move on, and to a proper boxing match now, on September 16, back in Sin City, pitching two brilliant middleweights together, from diverse continents. Roll up, roll up… The Irish have gone; here come the Mexicans. And so it goes in Sin City. It never really stops.
We’ve had ‘The Money Fight’, now we are on to the biggest fight of the year. But this upcoming battle two weeks from now, will be no glorified spar, on Mexican Independence Day. After all the recent hype, you really do have to believe me. This really is war, the biggest fight of the year. Unwilling to take one step backward, both Golovkin and ‘Canelo’ have declared themselves 100 percent fit and ready for this fight, which has all the hallmarks of an absolute classic, a real fight. That’s why its called ‘Supremacy’. Canelo-GGG sold out the T-Mobile Arena four weeks after the venue was announced. It’s a classic fight which has been on the cards for a few years. A defining fight for both men. Not a fun fight for the ages. This is a proper fight. And I can’t wait to be back at the Lucky Dragon, covering it. Cheers!
Gareth A Davies
Telegraph Boxing Correspondent Gareth A Davies is also an authoritative name on MMA, school and Paralympic sports.