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Volume 24 No. 135
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Mayweather-McGregor Need Help From Boxing Traditionalists To Become Most-Watched PPV

For the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight to become the most-watched PPV in history, it will have to "attract a large segment of traditional boxing fans," which begs the question of "will knowledgeable fans pay to watch this," according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. TIMES. Mayweather has never been "considered a puncher, but even a 40-year-old version of him should be able to knock out McGregor whenever he wants." Every "semi-observant boxing fan understands this." But rationality "won’t determine whether these potential customers purchase the fight." Hernandez: "Impulse control will." The current record of 4.6 million PPV buys was set for the '15 Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight (L.A. TIMES, 6/16). In DC, Todd Dybas writes McGregor and Mayweather will provide "excessive layers" of hype for their fight. The main challenge for all involved between now and August is to "make the public progressively embrace the hoopla." There is "so much show here, so much theater, that it threatens to flow over the individual skill each fighter has in his sport" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/16). USA TODAY's Martin Rogers writes selling a fight on PPV has "everything to do with what people do and nothing to do with what they say." Just as long as they are "saying something." Mayweather-McGregor is "making noise, even without either of the fighters talking." Much of it has been "derisory noise, but the fight promotion is off and running" (USA TODAY, 6/16)In DC, Jeff Wagenheim writes the real main event will likely come in the duo’s "verbal sparring sessions in the 10 weeks leading up the fight." When Mayweather and McGregor are together onstage at a news conference dais, "turn on the bright lights." That might be McGregor’s "best hope of producing a fight worth the price tag" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/16).

 ESPN's Michael Wilbon called the bout a "spectacle" and said it is "not going to be a fight." Wilbon: "This is what we have now in America ... driven by things like reality TV and social media. The hype leading up to it will be probably the height of it" ("PTI," ESPN, 6/15). The Washington Post's Kevin Blackistone said it will be a "big flop" and noted the "build-up is going to be bigger than the fight" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 6/15). ESPN's Mina Kimes said, "You know something is a scam when the only people who think it's a good idea are the ones who are making money off of it." ESPN's Dan Le Batard said this will be the "easiest money Floyd has ever taken away" from viewers ("Highly Questionable," ESPN, 6/15). In Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes, "Buyer beware. This is a scam. This is another Vegas illusion, and a chance for you to prove there’s a sucker born every minute" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/16). In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel wrote Mayweather-McGregor "reeks of a three-headed-dog show more than a boxing match, but it’s guaranteed to generate millions of pay-per-view buys." Engel: "Mayweather cares about that more than any record, championship or belt" (, 6/15).

A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME? The GLOBE & MAIL's Cathal Kelly writes the only point to Mayweather-McGregor is that it will "provide something mainstream sport has lost the ability to do well -- create an honest-to-God spectacle." The sports world has "reached the point where the off-ice/field/court stuff is treated with more thoughtfulness and reverence than the sport as it is played, because games last only a couple of hours, two or three times a week, and the Internet requires around-the-clock feeding." Kelly: "I suspect this fight is a harbinger of sorts." When people "tire of the constancy of sport, they will seek out spectacles." And in order to "distinguish themselves, those will become increasingly freakish" (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/16).