89°F
weather icon Clear

You have entered the spin zone for Mayweather-McGregor

Updated August 10, 2017 - 9:24 pm

It was three months ago when Mark Kriegel, an accomplished boxing author whose works include “The Good Son: The Life of Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini,” predicted to me how the buildup to a Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight would eventually turn.

His take: That should public interest seem to wane in the weeks leading to Aug. 26 and ticket sales be reported as not-so-spectacular and the ol’ hype machine began inching toward a flatline, the angle would turn to McGregor actually having a legitimate chance.

That one side would begin to talk about the MMA star being younger than Mayweather, having a longer reach than Mayweather, having more power than Mayweather — that the Irishman was every bit capable of winning a fight in which he’s an underdog the size of Dublin.

In other news, I have asked Kriegel to choose my family’s lottery numbers on our next trip to California.

His forecast of how things would be spun to help keep interest strong (and pay-per-view sales rising) is playing out to the last hyphen of hyperbole, a strategy gamely employed by Mayweather’s camp Thursday when the fighter had a media workout.

“I know I’m going to see a fighter, a warrior,” Mayweather said. “I’m not going to overlook him. On paper, everything leans toward Conor McGregor. We know he’s taller, we know he has a longer reach, we know youth is on his side, everyone is saying power is on his side. I never said he’s going to beat me. I’m going to tell the people what I truly believe and what it is on paper.”

I’m not sure he believes anything other than the part about him not losing, but it makes sense his side is going to say whatever it can to give the appearance the farce of a fight most expect at T-Mobile Arena might instead prove one worth paying to see.

It’s all part of a plan to re-energize mainstream fans after a four-city world tour in July that delivered results ranging from ludicrous to successful to distasteful to hilarious.

It’s difficult to fathom any sporting event in which revenues could crawl within $1 billion and a gate producing an estimated $80 million and PPV buys in the expected range of four million-plus could be deemed in danger of underperforming, but that’s the conclusion many drew from reports this week that thousands of tickets remain available.

Silly notion, this.

There were also tweets from folks saying tickets could be purchased at Costco, which doesn’t help those of us without an extra $3,500 after cases of the toilet paper and ginger ale are secured.

“I’m tired of this,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “Right now, we have over $60 million in the box office. You tell me what part of that remotely looks like ticket sales are slow. This isn’t a damn Rolling Stones concert that’s going to sell out in seconds. When you talk about our tickets that go from $500 to $10,000, that’s expensive.

“You guys are always complaining and looking for (bleep) when there is nothing there. Tickets at Costco. We don’t have anything to do with that, that’s Ticketmaster, but is it a bad thing? Opening this up to a housewife in Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, someone who wouldn’t normally have access to our fight? Times change. You have to think outside the box.”

Midwest housewives everywhere rejoice.

Ellerbe was hot under the collar for sure, and not just because someone turned off the air conditioning at Mayweather’s gym. But he’s also correct about ticket sales, given it makes sense that the cheapest (a relative term in this case) would have sold first and those in much higher-priced areas of the arena probably will be grabbed closer to Aug. 26 by celebrities and corporate suits wanting to attend. The gate appears just fine.

Mayweather said he believed it should be considered a victory for McGregor if the UFC champion goes the distance and still loses on points, that one reason both camps have requested of the Nevada Athletic Commission the middleweight fight be contested with 8-ounce gloves instead of the standard 10 ounces is to increase the opportunity for a knockout.

Which begs the question: Should the fight begin and Mayweather sense the odds were correct and McGregor’s skills in the ring are nowhere near able to compete, will the unbeaten boxer try to end things immediately or allow them to go on for a while so as to appease those watching?

“When it’s something of this magnitude, this is not just a fight,” Mayweather said. “This is an event. I think we both owe the fans, as well as the public and everyone tuning in, excitement. I can say that after the fight is over on Aug. 26, everyone is going to be happy.”

I’m sure McGregor will be after he looks at his bank statement.

The rest of this stuff about him having any real advantage: Straight spin zone, baby.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
UFC 251 Recap Video: Usman, Volkanovski, Yan take home title belts
In the UFC's first event on "Fight Island" in Abu Dhabi, Kamaru Usman, Alexander Volkanovski and Petr Yan took home wins and captured titles in the top-billed fights at UFC 251. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masvidal says his concerns with pay were resolved ahead of UFC 251 title fight - VIDEO
Just weeks ago, Jorge Masvidal had expressed concerns that he wasn't being paid accordingly by the UFC. Prior to his UFC 251 welterweight title fight against Kamaru Usman, Masvidal says the promotion has resolved the problems. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holloway says he wants to "etch his name in the history books" at UFC 251 - VIDEO
Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway spoke to the media about competing at UFC 251, which takes place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on July 11, his battles with depression and more. He will rematch Alexander Volkanovski for the division title in the co-main event. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mike Perry says his girlfriend did "great work" as his lone cornerperson at UFC on ESPN 12 - Video
UFC welterweight Mike Perry explains what went into his decision to have his girlfriend, Latory Gonzalez corner him for his fight against Mickey Gall and why that worked for him at UFC on ESPN 12. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What's Next for Dustin Poirier, Mike Perry Praises his Girlfriend's Corner Work at UFC on ESPN 12
Dustin Poirier defeated Dan Hooker in an instant classic at UFC on ESPN 12 and Mike Perry, with his lone cornerperson being his girlfriend, defeated Mickey Gall. Adam Hill and Heidi Fang recap the action from the UFC Apex. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC on ESPN 12 staredowns
All fighters competing at the UFC on ESPN 12 event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 27, squared off against each other following the weigh-ins on Friday. Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker will serve as the main event. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC on ESPN 12 weigh-in results - VIDEO
All 20 fighters competing at UFC on ESPN 12 made weight at the UFC Apex on Friday, June 26. The event, which takes place on Saturday, features a lightweight main event between Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC's Mike Perry on why his girlfriend is his only cornerperson - VIDEO
Ahead of his fight against Mickey Gall at the UFC Apex on June 27 in Las Vegas, UFC welterweight Mike Perry speaks about who will be his only cornerperson – his girlfriend, Latory Gonzalez. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Blaydes decisions Volkov, Emmett takes on Fight of the Night at UFC on ESPN 11
Curtis Blaydes says he's fine playing the heel role after putting on a performance that left fans and UFC president Dana White unsatisfied, and Josh Emmett, though he took Fight of the Night for his performance over Shane Burgos, says he wasn't happy with his fight. The Review-Journal's Heidi Fang and Adam Hill recap the event in this post-fight recap.
UFC couple Tecia Torres and Raquel Pennington take home wins, create Pride fight kit - Video
Tecia Torres and Raquel Pennington, a couple competing in the UFC women's divisions, both took home wins at UFC on ESPN 11, which was also the first time they competed on the same fight card. Torres defeated Brianna Van Buren on the preliminary card and Pennington defeated Marion Reneau on the main card. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White on what could happen with the UFC if another coronavirus shutdown happens, Nunes' possible retirement
UFC president Dana White says he's preparing as though another shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic may occur soon. If that should occur, he says he hopes the Nevada Athletic Commission will see that the organization has proven that they can still put on safe events in the UFC Apex facility. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Curits Blaydes talks about the heavyweight title picture ahead of fight against Alexander Volkov - VIDEO
UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes will face Alexander Volkov on June 20 at UFC on ESPN 11 in Las Vegas. Ahead of the fight, Blaydes spoke about the heavyweight title picture, his status as a contender in the division and more. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC on ESPN 10: Calvillo, Vettori take home emotional wins - VIDEO
UFC flyweight Cynthia Calvillo got emotional in her post-fight victory press conference and discussed her short training period with a new fight camp and about competing in a new weight class. Middleweight Marvin Vettori talked about rebooking of his fight when his opponent failed to make weight. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White would rather keep events at UFC Apex than have half the audience - VIDEO
UFC president Dana White spoke about the promotion's next set of events in Abu Dhabi, the procedures the company is taking to put on the fight cards safely during the coronavirus pandemic, what the promotion has told other leagues trying to relaunch and where else they may hold events in the coming months. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White on Fight Island, Fighters Missing Weight
UFC president Dana White met with reporters ahead of UFC on ESPN 10 at the UFC Apex and discuseed some of the bouts set for Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC on ESPN 10 staredowns - VIDEO
Fighters involved in the 10 bouts slated for UFC on ESPN 10 on July 13 in Las Vegas squared off on Friday after weigh-ins at the UFC Apex. Flyweight Jessica Eye, who missed weight by a quarter-pound, will face Cynthia Calvillo in the main event. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC on ESPN 10: Three Fighters Miss Weight, One Bout Canceled - Video
On Friday during the official weigh-ins, three fighters missed weight, including Jessica Eye who is expected to fight Cynthia Calvillo in the main event of UFC on ESPN 10 on June 13 at the UFC Apex. In addition, Zarrukh Adashev and Karl Roberson, who's competing in the co-main event, missed weight. A bout between Jordan Griffin and Darrick Minner was scratched from the event when Minner announced on social media that he would not be able to cut enough weight to compete.
Jessica Eye's excited to headline UFC on ESPN 10 - VIDEO
After fighting professionally for ten years, Jessica Eye talks about how excited she is to headline the UFC on ESPN 10 fight card against Cynthia Calvillo on June 13 in Las Vegas. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White reacts to Conor McGregor announcing his retirement - VIDEO
Just after the conclusion of UFC 250, former two-division champion Conor McGregor announced his retirement on Twitter. UFC president Dana White reacted to the news during a press conference at the UFC Apex. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nunes makes history at UFC 250, Conor McGregor retires -VIDEO
Amanda Nunes became the first fighter in UFC history to successfully defend both titles in two different divisions, but Conor McGregor attempted to steal her thunder on social media when he announced his retirement following UFC 250. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Alex Caceres says he needs to be a voice and leader after UFC win - VIDEO
UFC featherweight Alex Caceres took a unanimous decision win over Chase Hooper at UFC 250 and spoke about the example he wants to set for others and his community amid protests for Black Lives Matter taking place all over the world. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 250: Weigh-in Results - Video
All fighters competing at UFC 250 on June 6 at the UFC Apex made weight for the event on Friday. In the main event, Amanda Nunes will put her featherweight belt on the line against Felicia Spencer. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former UFC champ looks to reestablish himself in the bantamweight division - VIDEO
As former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt prepares to face Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250 on June 6, he reflects on his past few years of competition and what he's done to improve his fight skills. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gilbert Burns Dominates Tyron Woodley in UFC's Return to Las Vegas - VIDEO
Gilbert Burns established himself as a top contender in the welterweight division after dominating Tyron Woodley in the main event of UFC on ESPN 9 in Las Vegas. Heidi Fang and Adam Hill discuss his performance as well as Mackenzie Dern's win over Hannah Cifers. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC and Top Rank Boxing Approved to Host Events in Las Vegas - Video
For the first time since March, the UFC and Top Rank Boxing have been permitted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to host events in Las Vegas. Sam Gordon, Adam Hill, and Heidi Fang break down what to expect when the promotions return starting with the UFC event on May 30 at the UFC Apex.
Overeem, Gadelha discuss their wins at UFC Florida - Video
UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem defeated Walt Harris in the main event and UFC strawweight Claudia Gadelha took home a victory over Angela Hill in the co-main of UFC Florida. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC's Harris Says He's Fighting for "a different purpose" in First Fight Since his Stepdaughter's Death - Video
UFC heavyweight Walt Harris will collide with Alistair Overeem in the main event of UFC Fight Night 172 in Jacksonville, Fla., on May 16. It'll be the first time Harris competes since his 19-year-old stepdaughter, Aniah, was kipnapped and killed in Fall 2019. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Teixeira Dominates Smith at UFC Jacksonville, Claims Victory - Video
In the main event of UFC Fight Night 171, Glover Teixeira stopped Anthony Smith in the fifth round to claim victory in the promotion's second fight card to take place in Jacksonville in the past week.  (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC's Smith Says He Would Not Allow Home Invasion to Interfere with Headlining Event - Video
UFC light heavyweight fighter Anthony Smith, who lives in Nebraska, says he wouldn't allow the "psychopath" who broke into his home to dictate his return to the promotion. Smith, who successfully fought off the home invader in April this year, will return to headline UFC Fight Night 175 against Glover Teixeira in Jacksonville on May 13. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 249 Event Recap: Gaethje KOs Ferguson, Cejudo Retires - Video
In the first sporting event to take place after shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, UFC 249 saw a new interim champion crowned in the lightweight division in Justin Gaethje and in the co-main event, Henry Cejudo successfully defended his title against Dominick Cruz and then retired.
THE LATEST