The talking will stop so come on Conor, what have you got?

Alec Swann Columnist

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    In a couple of days’ time one of the most lucrative – for those who like their sporting events to be defined by the dollar sign – boxing matches of all time takes place in Las Vegas.
    Curiously enough, what could be considered the most grandiose of freak shows will occur at the same venue.

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    But this phenomenon isn’t restricted to just the two strands from varying points of the spectrum.

    There is a third which sees one of the greatest ever practitioners of his chosen art in Floyd Mayweather come face to face with the complete novice who is Conor McGregor in, whether you like it or not, a rather intriguing encounter.

    When it comes to underdogs, the Irishman is one of the biggest of them all. I don’t intend to mock his fighting ability as anyone willing to earn their corn in the savage world of UFC, and earn a pretty good corn as well, obviously possesses serious talent.

    But that is that and this is this.

    He’s a fighter, a highly effective (for want of a better description) scrapper; he’s not a boxer.

    This, you might like to think, may encourage a nod in the direction of humility; an acceptance of the challenge laying in wait married to the striking inexperience which will accompany you to the ring at the T-Mobile Arena.

    Not a bit of it.

    If you’ve had the pleasure, and I use the term loosely because it has been car crash TV of the first order, of watching any of the promotional tour then you could be forgiven for thinking this was a meeting of two giants of the Queensbury Rules. Well you’d be half right.

    Conor McGregor Boxing UFC 2017

    (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

    Boxing has a trend of promoting itself with excessively crude, vulgar, and often downright hostile, gathering. Put a couple of blokes, who are intent on doing harm to each other, in front of a microphone and the safe money will be on a flurry of insults, chests being thrust and dripping arrogance ruling the roost.

    It’s as though there is an unwritten script somewhere which boxers are inextricably drawn to that goes something like: fight coming up, engage abusive mentality, pass the baton on to the next duo.

    Yet the Mayweather-McGregor build up has been on a different scale entirely, taking hype and multiplying it tenfold and dragging along the dick-waving bravado in its wake with the challenger being the chief protagonist.

    Turning up to a press soiree wearing a suit adorned with pinstripes that consisted solely of the phrase ‘f*** you’ does not, you would feel, indicate that Christmas cards will be exchanged when the festive season rolls around.

    And while a bulletproof façade and unwavering belief in your own ability can be seen as prerequisites for someone who wants to go anywhere in the fight game, McGregor is coming from such a position that his complete dismissal of Mayweather’s credentials and downright lack of respect is almost unfathomable.

    He has some fighting ability, that can’t be questioned, and I’m pretty sure he can hit and hit hard but what this screaming arrogance is based on is a question for those with more knowledge because I can’t see the evidence anywhere.

    In attempting to come up with a suitable analogy, the only one that came to mind was a football team from outside the professional structure being drawn away to, let’s say, Manchester United in the FA Cup.

    Floyd Mayweather Conor McGregor Boxing 2017

    (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    They would have some players who knew their way around a football pitch and should the stars all align on the day they would have a slim chance of coming out on top. However, if they spent the weeks leading up to the tie calling their opponents all the names under the sun, with next to nothing on which to base their claims, they would be mocked for their uppity attitude and ludicrous bluster.

    And so we’ve had McGregor, with a professional record of 0, verbally assaulting Mayweather who carries a 49-0 scorecard around with the entire notion of knowing your standing being consistently and unmercifully laughed at.

    The American is hardly an innocent party in all of this and sometimes doesn’t do himself any favours but the one thing he does have is tangible proof of achievement and that should carry substantially more weight than the use of insulting language.

    The one good thing about any sporting contest is that eventually the talking, or shouting in this case, has to stop and give way to action and claims made are either reinforced or made a mockery of.

    McGregor has talked an awfully big game and pretty soon will get the opportunity to show they actually do have substance or ring particularly hollow.

    He most certainly has the mouth; we’re about to discover whether he has the trousers.

    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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