What began as talk for a fight many perceived as impossible between a boxing legend and the biggest star in mixed martial arts is now a reality.
Former pound-for-pound king and five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. made the official announcement on social media on Wednesday, confirming that he will exit a 23-month retirement at age 40 to face Conor McGregor, the UFC superstar, in a boxing match on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.
UFC president Dana White, appearing on SportsCenter, said the fight would be at the boxing junior middleweight weight limit of 154 pounds, the fighters would use 10-ounce gloves and the card would take place at T-Mobile Arena.
The fight will be broadcast on Showtime PPV.
“We’ve been in negotiations for a while,” White told SportsCenter. “Negotiations went smooth. Floyd is surrounded by some smart people, and we got this thing done. The impossible deal is now done.”
Moments before Mayweather’s announcement, McGregor sent out a simple four-word statement on Twitter, with a picture of Floyd Mayweather Sr., instead of Mayweather Jr.
White followed the announcement with an emoji.
THE FIGHT IS ON. pic.twitter.com/KhW0u3jRft
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 14, 2017
— Dana White (@danawhite) June 14, 2017
The announcement brings to an end rampant speculation that began two years ago, when McGregor threw out the prospect of the fantasy match during a July 2015 appearance on Conan O’Brien’s talk show, telling the host, “I would box him if the opportunity arose.”
Ireland’s McGregor (21-3), a 28-year-old southpaw, is the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold titles in two different divisions and one of the best MMA fighters in the world, but he will be making his professional boxing debut against Mayweather, one of the greatest boxers in history.
Although no major titles are on the line and Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) is an astronomical favorite, the fight offers both combatants an opportunity to make huge money.
Mayweather is a -1,100 favorite at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, with McGregor paying back +700.
McGregor has been outspoken about his desire for a fight that will dwarf his largest UFC payday, while Mayweather, who earned some $250 million for his record-shattering victory against Manny Pacquiao in May 2015, stands to earn a second nine-figure windfall.
Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) also has the chance to finish off his career at a perfect 50-0 in a bout that few expect to be competitive but has nonetheless piqued the public’s interest because of the boxing-versus-MMA angle, not to mention the big personalities and trash-talk ability of both fighters.
Mayweather has not fought since easily outpointing Andre Berto in September 2015 to retain his welterweight world title and then retiring. But he has been vocal about his desire to exit retirement for only one fight — the big one against McGregor.
The fight seemed highly implausible because Mayweather was retired and McGregor had never boxed. Mayweather and McGregor eventually went back and forth with each other in the media and on social media talking about a possible fight, but making a deal was another story.
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SOURCE: ESPN – Dan Rafael