Fri, Jun 16, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Mayweather, McGregor agree to fight

AUGUST BOUT:The boxing format pits possibly the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world against a UFC star who has not been in a boxing ring since he was a teen

AFP, LOS ANGELES

Conor McGregor gestures while working out at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Nov. 9 last year.

Photo: AP

Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr and mixed martial arts icon Conor McGregor on Wednesday confirmed plans for a long-awaited showdown, triggering both criticism and anticipation for what is set to be one of the richest fights in history.

Mayweather and McGregor — kingpins of their sports — are to climb into a boxing ring to face each other at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 26.

Forty-year-old Mayweather will be aiming to reach the 50-0 milestone, while McGregor is a heavy underdog in the 12-round boxing match.

A victory for the Irishman would be a monumental upset.

“Floyd is the greatest of all time and Conor is the master of our sport,” MMA promoter Dana White said. “I thought it would be an impossible deal to do, but it was the right fight at the right time and we got it done.”

Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, said the boxer’s team decided to end his 23-month retirement because the clamor for the 154-pound (69.9kg) showdown had been impossible to ignore.

“There is not one place I go to with Floyd where he doesn’t get asked the question: ‘Floyd are you going to fight Conor McGregor?’ All Floyd thinks about is fighting Conor McGregor and whipping his ass,” Ellerbe said.

Mayweather announced the fight on his Instagram account with a graphic saying “IT’S OFFICIAL!!!” showing pictures of both fighters and listing Las Vegas as the location, while McGregor sent out an earlier tweet stating “THE FIGHT IS ON.”

“Floyd said ‘154 is no problem, I don’t want a catchweight,’” Ellerbe said.

McGregor is the top pay-per-view draw in UFC, while Mayweather had been the money-spinner in some of boxing’s biggest bouts, including matchups with Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao and US star Oscar De La Hoya.

Mayweather earned US$250 million for the Pacquiao fight.

“There is a different feel from the Pacquiao fight, Ellerbe said. “It is the unknown factor” of fighting an MMA star.

Neither Mayweather nor McGregor have competed this year.

Mayweather retired from pro boxing in 2015 after defeating Andre Berto, while McGregor (21-3) defeated Eddie Alvarez in November last year.

White said the key to finalizing the fight was luring Mayweather out of retirement.

“Everybody is happy with this deal,” he said. “Nobody is bummed out.”

The boxing format heavily favors the undefeated Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs), whom many consider to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

The 28-year-old McGregor will be entering into unknown territory, as he has not stepped into a boxing ring since he was a teenager.

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