The “fight of the century” between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao held in 2015 was supposed to be a fight that would bring back the glory to boxing and stop the downward curve that boxing had been facing in the years before it. But even though it remains the highest grossing fighting event in history it left fans with a bitter taste in their mouth. The fight on the other hand was considered to be a win of Dana White, the UFC and the whole sport of MMA.
The fight between Conor Mcgregor and Floyd Mayweather when looked at a broader sense could well be termed as the battle for supremacy between two sports in the fighting game, a battle between the champion and a young challenger. Boxing has been the undisputed champion of the fighting game for well over a century but is being seriously challenged by the very dynamic sport of Mixed Martial Arts.
MMA, lead by its premier promotion UFC has been chipping away the market share in the fighting business from boxing slowly but surely. The UFC as a promotion is merely 25 years old. This may seem like a very long time but in comparison to boxing it’s relatively young. It’s much more dynamic and its superstars are much more popular and well recognized than the handful of superstars in boxing.
The richest fight in history may define the future of the respective sports in the next decade. The surprising thing about this fight is that boxing needs to get a Mixed Martial arts superstar who has never fought professionally ever to put some spice and to get people talking about the sport. If and it’s a really big if, Conor McGregor wins this fight or even survives 12 rounds against the pound for pound best fighter in the world, Boxing will completely lose its credibility. If a MMA fighter trains for a year and beats or survives against a boxing legend, it simply means that boxing is just another aspect of MMA and MMA clearly is a bigger sport at least in terms of the skill involved.
The biggest headline fights of the past 5 years maybe had better financial success as compared to MMA but in terms of entertainment it left fans wanting a lot more. The reason boxing is termed as a dying sport is because of the smaller demographic that follows it religiously. The average age of the viewer that watches premier boxing events on HBO and NBC is 53. In contrast, MMA holds the largest and the most important demographic that is 18-34.
As bizarre as it may sound, boxing is a gentlemen’s sport and not just because the referee wears a bow tie. In boxing, a fighter is allowed 10 seconds to recover if he is knocked out and there are much more limitations in terms of what goes and what not. MMA on the other hand is a straight up gladiator sport. The fight does not stop until and unless you knock out the opponent or he submits and every part of your body is a weapon to hurt your opponent. That is exactly the reason why it is much more popular among the younger generation.
The recent Heavyweight bout between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko provided some much needed life into the sport of boxing as it was a fantastic fight between a young champion and a fallen legend. The fight showed why exactly boxing has been so popular because there is nothing more exciting than a fighter who is knocked down in a fight, recovers and then eventually makes a comeback by knocking out his opponent. There is a unique charm and romance when two guys are put in a ring and simply use their hands to do the talking.
But such fights are extremely rare nowadays in the sport of boxing whereas MMA showcases consistent brutality. Don’t get me wrong, the skills and the strength of character needed for boxing is huge but in terms of entertainment it is slowly falling short compared to MMA. The fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather will certainly be a judge of which sport holds the bragging rights and if McGregor wins it might just propel MMA ahead of boxing in the fighting business for years to come.
Also Read: Floyd Mayweather Vs Conor McGregor is on!