There was a brief span over the last few years when critics believed that the sport of boxing would ultimately be buried alive by the blossoming Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). But there’s been a new twist recently as it appears the UFC might actually spice things up in the boxing world.
A decision over the much-hyped potential matchup between UFC star Conor McGregor and retired boxing champion Floyd Mayweather could happen this coming week. It’s been a drama-filled proposition as some critics oppose crossing the two sports, while others favor the suggestion. Boxing hasn’t produced the same interest since Mayweather retired, but a mega-bout with McGregor could revive the sport. Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate whether Mayweather vs. McGregor needs to happen.
Riley: Yes. Simple as that. Boxing needs this fight more than anything right now. Boxing lacks the pizazz that it’s traditionally known for, while the UFC has grown in fame thanks to its brashness and physicality. It’ll be unprecedented in spite of it having a strong chance of falling on its face, but for revenue purposes, Mayweather and McGregor absolutely needs to happen.
Green: The proud history of boxing often compensates for its lackluster present. And while interest and fanfare for the sport has been waning for years now, mixing UFC with the sport of boxing would jeopardize the prestige of a rich past-time. Great names and great fighters decorate the history of boxing like no other sport; commingling street fighting with classic boxing could turn even more people off instead of turning them on.
Riley: If you’re a fan of boxing, then the potential of Mayweather and McGregor shouldn’t turn you off one way or another. Past greats like Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson may feel insulted by the idea, but boxing wouldn’t be welcoming the fight if the sport didn’t need it. The fact is, there aren’t many great boxers highlighting the sport anymore, while several UFC and mixed martial arts fighters such as Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Ronda Rousey have developed real star power.
Green: That’s not totally true. Former boxing star turned promoter, Oscar Dela Hoya just inked a mega fight between Camelot Alvarez and Gennady “Triple-G” Golovkin. This is the fight boxing fans have been itching for – two heavy-handed sluggers who will stand in the middle of the ring and throw down! Also, there’s Floyd Mayweather’s protege, Gervonta “Tank” Davis, who is undoubtedly the future face of boxing. Davis not only has some of the quickness and defensive skills that his mentor, Floyd, had, but he also has huge punching power to knock out opponents in grand fashion. And there’s also Anthony Joshua, a 27-year-old British heavyweight who currently holds the IBF, WBA and IBO titles. I believe the sport of boxing will be just fine without a cheesy amateur like McGreggor tainting its image, and I hope the fight never happens.