Thursday, June 15, 2017

The hype of the century

So Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are going to throw down in a boxing ring come August, and let the carnival barking begin. Two champions! Two disciplines! Two, two, two mints in one!

Or, you know, something like that.

Americans love their bread and circuses, and this one will be doughier and more circus-y than most. Certainly the dough part is going to live up to the billing; a circus like this could not happen unless liberally greased with wads of cash, and this one will be. It will be McGregor's greatest payday by a factor of ten or so (because boxing, eclipsed these days by McGregor's MMA, still commands the big money), and a gold mine for Vegas, which will make piles of greenery from the easy marks who bet on these sorts of spectacles.

And it will be a spectacle. If not much else.

When the news came down this deal was done, see, the Blob didn't see it as Two Mints In One. It saw Bobby Riggs instead. It saw Evel Knievel at Snake River Canyon. It saw a gladiator doing battle with a tiger in the Colosseum, to go back to the original bread and circus.

Like all of the above, Mayweather-McGregor is a novelty act, not an authentic athletic contest. To imagine that McGregor, a non-boxer, is going to somehow beat the greatest pound-for-pound boxer in the world in a boxing match is like imagining unicorns are real. If he can't tackle Mayweather and slap a submission hold on him, what chance does he really have?

Sure, he can throw a punch, which gives him a puncher's chance. So maybe he gets in the one-in-a-million lucky shot. But when he doesn't, and he punches himself out in the first couple of rounds, what happens next?

The glorified street fighting that is MMA won't be much good to him then.

And so this likely will be the Battle of the Sexes all over again, or Evel jumping that canyon. No serious tennis aficionado ever believed tired old Bobby Riggs was going to beat Billie Jean King in her prime, and so of course she dispatched him easily in straight sets. And Evel went up and came right back down. He got no closer to the other side of the Snake River than a well-thrown rock.

McGregor can only hope he gets as close to beating Mayweather in a legitimate boxing match. But we'll watch, just as we watched Evel and Billie Jean.

And why is that?

Because P.T. Barnum was right.

There's a you-know-what born every minute.

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