They are vaguely similar, aren't they? Boxing and UFC. They both loosely revolve around incapacitating your opponent with a series of blows to the head and torso. So is it that much of a leap to say that this Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather spectacle might be a legitimate fight? To the naysayers, the boxing mavens, the purists: yes. To people who like seeing topless men tonk each other really hard until one of them collapses: no.
In one corner, we have the Mayweather rationalists, carrying their knowing mantra: "Floyd on points, greatest defensive boxer of all time." In the other, the McGregor optimists, arguing against doubters with the scattergun rage of a stepdad standing on an open DVD case in an empty room where all the lights were left on. McGregor just has this effect on people, brings out something primal – he has become something larger than himself, an ideology, a way of life, like the Meal Deal or Zumba: he's something people believe in. You can argue all you like, but all of the pre-match hype just comes down to one thing: are you a head person, or a heart kind of guy? Logic or passion? Highly poised boxer or Ireland's maddest fucker?
Even without considering the controversies surrounding both men, the fight remains difficult to believe in as a genuine spectacle, largely because there is more at stake for the separate factions of supporters than the two fighters themselves. They can't lose. They literally cannot lose, unless one of them punches the other one into a coma or something. They are earning more money for this fight than you or I will ever know. They just need to turn up, get hit a few times and be life-alteringly rich forever and ever. So with the actual fight itself being rendered null and void, we ask: who wins the fights within the fight? Who wins the Biggest Shittalker award, or takes the gong for best use of Instagram for promotional reasons? Who wins those fights, the important fights? Friends: let us find out, together.
ROUND 1: WHO WOULD YOU CHEER FOR IF THIS FIGHT WAS HAPPENING IN THE PLAYGROUND?Simple concept: if this were a playground fight, fought by tiny children, who would end up winning?
You're never sure how you arrive in situations like this because they always seem to happen so fast, without any real organisation, but here we are: the entire school population has amassed in unison, instantaneously, on the gravelly expanse of the playground. Perfect circle of Head rucksacks, a violent cauldron awaiting its gladiators. What has happened then is this: little Conor McGregor, a cocky, ragtag Year 8 who has been suspended before for stabbing that lad with a double-barrelled last name in the leg with a compass now thinks he has a reputation to uphold, and has decided to go and give the quiet, dangerous, Year 11 boy named Floyd a tie-day. He's doubled-down. He has gone and he has pulled his tie really hard and just completely, irreversibly, fucked it up. It's too tight now. It's far too tight. You're going to need scissors to get out of that one. Instantly, it kicks off.
This is a difficult one to judge, because it's a case of bully versus the slightly bigger bully. The best possible outcome here is both of them beating each other to a bloody pulp, but, crucially, McGregor started this: he's gotta go. He's gotta go head-first into that fucking bin, really. It's only fair. It doesn't matter what realm you're in, the experience and size of a Year 11 always beats a Year 8. Mayweather takes it: McGregor sobs into the tabarded bosom of an understanding dinner lady.
ROUND 2: GROUP CHAT ROASTING ABILITYYou've come back from a family getaway in Devon. You haven't had WiFi for a couple of days and return to 400 unread messages in the main group chat. Two of your friends have been going back and forth, but who earns your respect?
Truth be told: this is a landslide in McGregor's favour. Arguably, Floyd's only memorable line during these verbal shenanigans has been "an elephant doesn't beef with ants", but it's just a bit pedestrian, you know?
McGregor, on the other hand, has put on a shithousing display for the ages. Sure, he types it all out with caps lock, is very sweary and uses the laughing-crying emoji after his own messages, but he is completely aware that kind of sheer, vacuous noise is his greatest strength. The last word is always his. There's that saying about throwing shit to the wall and seeing what sticks: McGregor is some kind of incessant shit-and-glue trebuchet. He laughed at Floyd's backpack, for god's sake, saying it looked like a breakdancer. Bantering something so innocuous and ultimately trivial is absolute textbook shithousery. The man is a master.
The final nail in the coffin: "Let's have a proper knock… under certain rules, to keep you alive" – is just. Maaaaate. That's actually good. Triple fire emoji.Mayweather 1–1 McGregor
We all have that friend that we are very, very wary about inviting out for a drink simply because you have no clue – no idea at all – what sort of outfit they might rock up in, and sometimes it just isn't nice to be stood at the bar all night next to someone wearing a waistcoat on its own, or a tweed blazer or a fedora for no reason. Question: who is less likely to go rogue with their fashion choices?
ROUND 3: WHO DRESSES LIKE THE MADDEST CUNT?
McGregor, to his credit, is hard to beat when he's sloping about in a checked three-piece suit. The problem is how ridiculous he looks in just about anything else. I don't know if it's his exaggerated, cartoonishly muscular body, or the way he lets his arms drag beside him like a clothes-shop mannequin, but nothing else seems to look right, and there is always a very real danger that he goes completely rogue, clothing-wise, as in any one of the following outfits:
Here he is looking like your stepdad on holiday in Egypt browsing the museum gift shop. He takes a photograph approximately every five seconds and keeps his change in a bum bag because "he read about pickpockets on his TA forum".
This is a performance piece by McGregor, dressing up as someone who doesn't know who Danny Dyer is trying to dress up like Danny Dyer.
Shit shirt night at the Rugby Union remains undefeated.
Extreme "the guy who introduces himself as Professional Footballer but plays for Ebbsfleet United and works part-time at Goals" vibes.
You know when you sleep on someone's sofa and have to buy some clothes from the River Island sales rack on the way into work, and something defaults in your brain and you go a bit aesthetically mad, and never wear those clothes again, evidence as they are of a malfunction? That.
Equally, I'm not overly keen on standing in a pub with a 40-year-old man in a snapback, so swings, roundabouts. While Mayweather is no stranger to garish ensembles, at least he doesn't stand in every photo with his arms agape and his buttocks clenched like he's hauling an over-ambitious, imaginary big-shop back from Tesco. If Floyd leaves the TMT gear at home, he wins this round on posture alone.
Mayweather 2 – 1 McGregor
ROUND 4: BATTLE OF THE BRANDSWho's made the most of this shameless marketing opportunity to promote their personal brand?
Generally speaking – just very broadly here – if a large facet of your personal brand is simply "Money", and having lots of money, and spending lots of money, and showing people how much more money you have than them, then, again generally speaking, if that is a significant proportion of your personality, then you are not going to resonate with a lot of people. In fact, if we imagine a pyramid of likeability, with, say, Keanu Reeves near the top and everyone with a LinkedIn profile near the bottom, then what we'll see is, at the very bottom, there, right there, way beneath all the people who wear flip-flops in situations that spectacularly do not require flip-flops, is a man who has given himself the nickname of "Money".
McGregor, who is also guilty of excess and extravagance, at least had his personalised, hand-crafted chess set made out of actual pipes and shit. He was a plumber Floyd. At least he had Juicy playing in his Beats by Dre advert about his humble beginnings Floyd. That kind of thing resonates Floyd. A bit of balance. That's all it is.
Mayweather 2 – McGregor 2
ROUND 5: MONOPOLY RULES O-KSimply: who would win a game of Monopoly, sport of kings?
Monopoly gets off to a rocky start when both man fight over who gets to be the car. In the interest of fairness, each fighter is allowed to select the other man's playing piece. Mayweather opts for the dog and a poorly executed quote from Snatch, while McGregor responds with the top hat… for Mayweather's tiny head. Floyd suggests that he should be banker before turning to camera to explain, with complete sincerity, "because I'm so money".
He is not allowed to be banker. We got someone else to be the banker.
Compensated with first roll, Floyd gets a five. He struggles to pick up his token due to the 8oz gloves he insisted on wearing, so ends up nudging it across the five spaces with a flurry of light jabs. Conor, not showing it, is a huge believer in buying the stations early and desperately does not want Floyd to pick up King's Cross. "No buying first round," he says. Floyd argues that all the rules are in the contract he signed. Conor sucks it up for the time being, remembering that he does not fear any man under any rule set. Floyd weighs up the purchase before declining, claiming he'd rather airports, and did you know he has his own plane? Conor, ecstatic, his veins popping with relief, stands up and screams "Y'ALL DO NUTTIN" before sitting back down on the floor, legs crossed, hunched over in concentration, coiled like a spring, ready to roll.
A few hours later, Floyd has all the green properties and Park Lane, but is now just looping round the board hoping to land on Mayfair. For every purchase of a property, he has taken off his gloves, swapped a 500 note into 1s and then thrown them, individually, at the banker, while saying "money" over and over.
Conor, meanwhile, has houses on the light blues and pinks, undervalued properties, a couple of stations, and has carved a rough sketch of himself upper cutting Floyd in the centre of the board.
As the game wears on Floyd keeps managing to avoid all of his rival's properties. In response, McGregor has turned to desperately hoping Floyd gets sent to jail. As Mayweather reaches over to pick up his first chance card of the match, McGregor can barely contain himself, shaking with anticipation, the sweet, sweet nectar of prime shithousing only moments away.
Mayweather knocks the whole pile over with his gloves. The struggle continues.
Eventually, fatigue sets in for both men. Conor has failed to land a dent in Floyd's finances, while Mayweather has failed to secure Mayfair. McGregor, for reasons unknown, is now clad only in a pair of leopard-print briefs, and has turned his attention towards Instagramming a picture of him burning some of the Monopoly notes to light a cigar. Floyd has been shadow boxing in the corner for the last hour.
We cannot determine a winner because the banker retired after Mayweather tipped the board because the chance card he eventually picked up had him finishing second in a beauty contest.
We cannot determine a winner because we can't count the money; some of it is on fire and the rest of it is in a TMT bag ready for the nearest Bugatti dealership in the morning.
There are no winners here.