Something that will always stick in my mind: a high school classmate of mine, someone I hadn’t spoken to in years, contacted me on Facebook a few years back just to let me know that boxing was absolutely, positively dead. Why he felt compelled to communicate this, other than to be a total jackass, is beyond me. But he wanted to let me know; what’s more, he wanted to let me know publicly.
I responded like a normal person, but the story doesn’t end there. For – ironies of ironies – guess who was more than happy to take part in the Vegas festivities during Mayweather-Pacquiao weekend? You guessed it. My old “pal” from high school. The point here is painfully obvious to anyone who takes part in, writes about, or follows boxing. The sport will always be dead – until it isn’t.
For some time now I’ve yearned to see boxing return from the margins and become once again the mainstream sport it was back when I was growing up. But these days, I’m not so sure. For right about now, I’m McGregor vs Mayweathered out. Scratch that. I’m burned out with superfights altogether. Being a boxing writer in the lead up to Mayweather vs Pacquiao was a grueling experience, something I hope to never go through again. And while it’s true May-Mac isn’t quite as intense and I’m not being continually bombarded with megafight matters as I was back in 2015, I’ve grown tired of white suburbanites asking me about “that McGregor guy” with coy smiles on their faces. Mind you, I’m a white suburban guy myself. But enough is enough!
Look, people love spectacles and this Saturday’s big pop culture event is most definitely that. And truth be told, I think McGregor will do better – perhaps much better – than many people think. No matter. I can’t see him winning and ultimately I think this match never should have been made in the first place. But Mayweather vs McGregor wasn’t made for me and, if you’re a regular reader of this fine site, it wasn’t made for you either. No, this fight was made for people who don’t really follow boxing, roughly 98 percent of the people on the planet. And that 98 percent seems beyond happy this most unlikely of matches is happening.
So be it. You won’t see me raging or seething over it. I have no strong opinion of McGregor one way or another and, unlike many boxing scribes, I bear no ill will towards Mayweather, the greatest boxer of at least the last couple decades. But I just can’t get excited about it; nor do I feel I should, as someone who writes about the sport of boxing. The whole thing is a circus and even a stunning McGregor win wouldn’t change that fact. But again, this, evidently, is what people want. And because this cultural event is being disguised as a sporting event, the kind of which I write about, I’m going to have to play along like an adult.
But I’ll be very glad when the whole thing is over, which brings me back to my larger point – I’m not really sure I want the sport I love off the margins anymore. I’ve grown comfortable discussing things with people who share my passion. When events like Saturday come around, I’m somewhat in demand by people who, any other time, really couldn’t give a rat’s ass what I write about, not that they have to or even should. At the risk of seeming petulant, I will admit that at times this can be irritating.
What’s worse is that things can get hostile. I’ve noticed that some people who are rooting for McGregor tend to take it personally when I tell them that he’s a huge long-shot, assuming everything is on the up and up. Yes, I’ve detected a certain testiness, to put it mildly, when I assert an opinion which is really just stating the obvious. The irony is that I only offer up my opinion on McGregor vs Mayweather when I’ve been asked.
So yes, I’ll be happy when this whole thing is finally behind us. I’m waiting for the end, waiting for boxing to move on from everything “May-Mac” so I can turn my attention back to the fighters I really want to write about, guys like Roman Gonzalez and fights like Canelo vs Golovkin. In fact, I might not be entirely unhappy if another massive Floyd Mayweather pop culture superfight never happens again. It’s tiring, folks. And the excitement fizzles away like a Fourth of July sparkler once the event actually is over. To which I am now greatly looking forward. — Sean Crose