COULD it really happen?
The UFC’s brightest, most bankable star Conor McGregor vs. one of the best pound for pound boxers of all time Floyd Mayweather Jr in the boxing ring!
Well, guess what?
McGregor has just been licensed by the California State Athletic Commission to make the switch from the Octagon to the boxing ring.
And that has re-ignited talks of a dream super fight between the brash Irishman and the American brawler.
And when there is talk of a fight that could be worth over $1 billion, the online bookmakers come calling.
WilliamHill.com.au has released a market on the fight and, understandably, Mayweather is a red hot odds on $1.10 favourite.
He has never been beaten in the ring. Never.
That’s 49 fights, for 49 wins with 26 of those by knockout.
He is arguably the best of all time. But time catches up with all the greats.
Mayweather’s professional career spans all the way back to 1996. He’s 39 years old and has not fought at all since September last year, when he defeated Andre Berto to retain his crown, before hanging up the gloves.
The retired legend says he would put the gloves back on for the super fight.
“If I do fight (again), it’s only against Conor McGregor . . . not against nobody else,” Mayweather said earlier this year.
“Because this match-up is so intriguing.
“You have (a boxer) against an MMA fighter – one of the best MMA fighters to ever stand up and do it.
“He’s a strong fighter, and when I look at his fights, he’s a little faster than I thought he was.”
Notorious is at $6.50, but write this guy off at your own peril.
California State Athletic Commission executive officer Andy Foster has confirmed McGregor is licensed and was hopeful he would participate in a big money fight.
“He got a license today and a federal ID,” Foster told MMAFighting.com.
“He’s a California boxer now.”
“He’s qualified (as a boxer).
“I’d love to see him fight in California.
“It just needs to be the right opponent.
“Certainly a high-level opponent.
“We’re happy to license him.
“We’re happy he’s a California fighter.”
These two guys are not only among the two most bankable stars in history, but there is no love lost between them.
Mayweather reckons there’s an element of racism in McGregor’s success: “They say he talks a lot of trash and people praise him for it, but when I did it, they say I’m cocky and arrogant.
“All I’m saying is this: I ain’t racist at all, but I’m telling you racism still exists.”
McGregor hit back with a challenge in the ring.
“Floyd Mayweather, don’t ever bring race into my success again, I am an Irishman,” he said.
“My people have been oppressed our entire existence. And still very much are. I understand the feeling of prejudice. It is a feeling that is deep in my blood.
“If you want we can organise a fight no problem.
“I will give you a fair 80/20 split purse in my favour seeing as your last fight bombed at every area of revenue.”
McGregor said he would “crush” Mayweather and knock him out in 30 seconds.
And that melting pot creates a fight that is set to break all records.
It’s almost too obvious, with WilliamHill.com.au setting the odds for it to break the pay per view record of 4.6 million buys – ironically set by Mayweather in his fight with Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao in May last year – at a measly $1.20.
The problem with the fight here is that Mayweather has spent his entire career fighting as a boxer.
While mixed marshall arts has elements of boxing, there is a much broader focus on different fighting styles.
If the fight was to occur in 2017, McGregor has plenty to learn and he would have to do it quickly.
The plus for the Irishman is that he is 27 years old and basically at the peak of his fighting powers.
He held two belts simultaneously in two different weight divisions.
But he was stripped of the featherweight title only last month, when UFC boss Dana White decided that 11 months was long enough without a defence.
He is still the lightweight champion, but he was not happy with the UFC’s decision.
And that may even have been the catalyst for his move to become a licensed boxer.
He hasn’t exactly been on great terms with the UFC of late, the title stripping coming in the wake of McGregor being removed from the fight card at UFC 200 after he refused to interrupt his training and fly to Las Vegas to promote the fight.
That left him with a bitter taste in his mouth and he jokingly “retired” on Twitter before obviously stepping back into the cage and winning a pair of titles.
Could the Notorious be boxing’s next big star?
Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather fight markets
Head to head:
Floyd Mayweather ($1.10)
Conor McGregor ($6.50)
Must fight under Marquess of Queensberry Rules in 2017
Will fight break the pay per view record?
Fight must go ahead and break 4.6 million pay per view buys set by Mayweather vs. Pacquiao in May 2015
*Odds provided by WilliamHill.com.au