Only one winner in Las Vegas money spinner

Alec Swann Columnist

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    You may not have heard of Marc Farnsworth. He is the world number one pool player according to the International Professional Pool Players Association rankings.

    Watch any footage of Farnsworth in action and it is obvious that he is seriously talented. His command of the cue ball is exceptional, his potting ability is top class and his tactical game exactly the same.

    Well, you don’t ascend to the summit of your chosen sport by accident.

    You also may not have heard of Mark Selby. He is the world number one snooker player in the current World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association rankings.

    Take a look at Selby at work and you will see a very, very high-class operator. Revert back to the description of the aforementioned Farnsworth and you will get the idea.

    In a sport riddled with outstanding players, Selby currently stands head and shoulders above the chasing pack.

    So there you have two expert practitioners of their respective cue sports, with talent to be admired.

    However, if you put Farnsworth up against Selby on a tournament snooker table in a competition-length match, he would get thrashed.

    He might have his moments as a high-level ability with a cue counts for something but in a contrasting environment his own standing would count for very little.

    There are nuances to the game on a 12×6 foot strip of baize that don’t exist on a 6×3 foot pool table. The angles are exaggerated, the cloth differs in pace; there is more space to exploit or to come unstuck; a greater emphasis on tactics is needed.

    In basic terms, despite similarities, they are completely different animals. This isn’t to denigrate one at the expense of the other, but it’s just how it is.

    Now you will most certainly know who Connor McGregor is. The mixed martial arts luminary and current UFC lightweight champion is the biggest name in the game in that particular world, with a strong CV and a burgeoning reputation.

    And if you follow sport, even if it is merely a passing interest, the name Floyd Mayweather will have crossed your radar at some stage.

    A five-weight boxing world champion with 15 world titles and a staggering professional record of 49 victories from 49 fights, he is, and this doesn’t really brook any argument, one of the finest fighters ever to grace the canvas.

    A pair of champion performers with an enviable array of skills.

    If all goes to plan and there aren’t any last-minute shenanigans, McGregor will face Mayweather in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena on August 26 and he is going to be given a real seeing-to.

    It is one thing deciding to have a go in another sport at such an elite level, even with talents you believe are transferable, but another entirely to dip your toe in the water against such an opponent.

    Foolhardy? Definitely. Audacious? Certainly. Fearless? Absolutely. Stupid? Probably. Lucrative? Yes, yes, yes.

    And therein lies the rub.

    McGregor, who despite being able to hit with tremendous force has no boxing pedigree to speak of whatsoever, hasn’t got a hope in hell of defeating Mayweather, a pugilist who has made an art form out of not getting hit and attacking at exactly the right moment.

    Many a skilled fighter has failed to lay a hand on Mayweather and it is hard, no, nigh on impossible, to see how a man with zero experience can do any better. Just where does this belief come from?

    Floyd Mayweather

    (Photo: Wiki commons)

    I’m sure he thinks he can win, and so he should with such narrow focus a key ingredient for excellence in any sport, but any measured analysis only points in one direction and it isn’t towards the Irishman.

    But what is in no doubt is that coming together will generate a mountainous amount of cash, in excess of half a billion – pounds, this is – with the pay-per-view numbers expected to be off the scale.

    This is supply equalling demand, an economic theory proving, in a market economy, things are as they should be.

    There doesn’t really seem to be a logical sporting reason for this bout but the reality is there doesn’t have to be. Money is wanted and money will be made; McGregor will take home a fortune and Mayweather will do the same.

    All that is left is to wish the former good luck, because he will certainly need it.

    Alec Swann
    Alec Swann

    Alec Swann is a former Northants and Lancashire opener turned cricket writer. Outside of the joys of a Test match, Newcastle United and golf generally occupy his other sporting interests with a soft spot for the Newcastle Knights.

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