Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: A guide to the big fight
Find out all the important details about Saturday's epic showdown
All eyes will be on Las Vegas come Saturday night, where live from the T-Mobile Arena, one of the biggest, craziest, and most-hyped sporting events in recent memory will take place. The two most dominant men in boxing and MMA are set to face off in an unprecedented match, as Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor share the ring. With the fight expected to be viewed and bet on in record numbers, EW has everything you need to know.
Who They Are
Floyd “Money” Mayweather is perhaps the most distinguished fighter of all time. The former Olympian boasts a professional record of 49-0, having defeated high-profile challengers like Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, and Manny Pacquiao on his way to earning countless belts in various divisions and weight classes. Thanks to his undefeated record and business savvy, his fights have become huge draws, resulting in Mayweather being named Forbes’ highest-paid athlete in 2012, 2014, and 2015. Known for betting millions on sporting events, including some of his own matches, Mayweather has vowed to place his biggest wager yet on himself to beat McGregor.
Like his opponent, Conor “Notorious” McGregor is a talker, but the two men come from very different backgrounds. While Mayweather was born in Michigan to a family of fighters, McGregor is from Dublin, where he began working as a plumber’s apprentice. The Irishman soon left that career path behind to pursue mixed martial arts, eventually making his UFC debut in 2013. It didn’t take long before McGregor became the face of the sport. In 2016 he suffered his sole UFC loss, to Nate Diaz, and a few months later got his revenge. After dispatching his next opponent, McGregor set his sights on campaigning for what seemed to be the impossible: a boxing match with Mayweather.
Why This Match Is a Big Deal
For so many reasons — let’s get the obvious ones out of the way. Mayweather is vying to break his current tie with Rocky Marciano (the inspiration for Rocky) to become the first fighter to go 50-0. Also at stake are the right to sport the very snazzy belt displayed below, and of course the millions of dollars being generated. Mayweather, who is no stranger to big purses, is poised to pull in at least $300 million, while McGregor could collect nearly $100 million, which is more than five times as much as he’s ever made from a fight. Not bad for someone who needed to pick up a $235 welfare check just four years ago.
But the biggest reason this match is drawing so much attention is that it represents both a David-vs.-Goliath situation and the answer to a hypothetical question you’d debate with your friends (like “Who’d win in a fight between Superman and The Hulk?”). It’s easy to say, “What’s the big deal? They’re both fighters.” That’s true … kind of. Boxing and mixed martial arts are completely different beasts, so McGregor switching to a sport he’s never fought in professionally to face maybe the best pound-for-pound boxer in history is bold. Among the challenges facing McGregor are the inability to use his legs to strike, being required to wear much heavier gloves than in UFC, and the possibility of going seven more rounds than he’s accustomed to. All these factors make Mayweather an overwhelming favorite, meaning an improbable McGregor victory would be hailed as a historic upset.
Who Will Be There
Who won’t be there? Nothing attracts celebrities like a big fight in Vegas, and with this being an one-of-a-kind spectacle, it’s safe to anticipate a packed house of high-profile names. Demi Lovato has already been tapped to perform the national anthem before the main event. Also in attendance will be Diddy and Mark Wahlberg, after the duo recently shot a video in which they re-enacted the end of Rocky III and made a $100,000 bet on the fight.
Among the others reportedly expected are Angelina Jolie, LeBron James, Drake, Denzel Washington, Charlize Theron, LL Cool J, 50 Cent, Jamie Foxx, Michael Bay, Rick Ross, and Adam Levine. And there will surely be more that have yet to be confirmed or reported.
One big name unlikely to be there is Justin Bieber, who until recently was in Mayweather’s inner circle. The Grammy winner had been a close friend of the fighter and has even walked him to the ring at previous fights. Yet with Bieber seeking spiritual guidance through his church, TMZ reported that he has distanced himself from “bad influences,” including Mayweather and his party lifestyle, much to the boxer’s chagrin.
How You Can Watch
Well, if you don’t have $2,520 for a pair of nosebleed seats, don’t worry because you still have plenty of viewing options. You could always watch with fellow interested parties at a neighborhood bar, but the downsides include the possibility of a cover charge (on top of food and drink costs), plus how early you’d have to show up, considering that there are seven fights before the main event, which should start around 11 p.m. ET. An alternative is the classic stay-at-home option, which would run $99.95 for Showtime’s pay-per-view broadcast. Or to get a real big-screen experience, Fathom Events and Mayweather Promotions have teamed to bring the fight to select movie theaters across the country.