Bridget Bennett / The New York Times

Floyd Mayweather Jr. left, and Conor McGregor face off after their weigh-ins at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Aug. 25, 2017. In a city of illusion and circuses, Mayweather and McGregor pulled off a boxing spectacle in Las Vegas fit for the times.

August 28, 2017

McDEVITT | Boxing’s Next Great Main Event

Print More

Want to keep up with everything Cornell sports? Sign up for our biweekly sports email newsletter and stay up-to-date with the Red. Click here!

On Saturday, in the what was the most anticipated boxing fight in years, Floyd Mayweather precisely met expectations with his 10th round technical knockout of UFC superstar Conor McGregor. All eyes were on the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as McGregor made his professional boxing debut against one of the greatest of all time. McGregor likely stood no chance against Mayweather, and the fight’s final result was poignantly predictable. But the fight itself was entertaining and lively, and McGregor exceeded expectations.

Millions across America watched the super welterweight bout, as is standard for a fight marketed by Mayweather Promotions. Mayweather’s fights against Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez were similarly hyped, but neither came close to the entertainment level on Saturday.

Mayweather said on Saturday that, “tonight was my last fight, for sure.” He has said this before, but at 40 years old, Mayweather is likely telling the truth. His departure from boxing means that the sport no longer has its highest consistently successful revenue generator. There is perhaps no moniker in sports more suitable than Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Whether endearment or epithet, Mayweather earned that title for a reason. He revolutionized the way that boxing is marketed, and made himself and the sport hundreds of millions in the process.

But now Mayweather is gone, and boxing needs new faces and superstars to entertain, and, more importantly, boost the bottom line. The sport will not have to look very far, as the superfight to fill the void left by Mayweather’s blockbuster programs is already scheduled. And you should definitely be watching.

On Sept. 16, Canelo Alvarez — a 49-win boxer whose only loss came in a split decision to Mayweather — will enter the ring with Gennady Golovkin. Better known as GGG, Golovkin is an undefeated champion who has defended his title 18 times, knocking out 33 of his 37 opponents. These are two of the most powerful pound-for-pound fighters of this generation; the winner will likely be crowned as the undisputed greatest boxer in the world. Three title belts are at stake.

Much like the fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao, this fight has been built up for many years. Long disputes over the weight at which the two would fight has been the chief cause for delay. But in the time that it’s taken to schedule the bout, Alvarez has grown tremendously as a fighter. His most recent defeat of Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., was a display of his crushing dominance, proof that the 27-year-old Alvarez is entering his prime with an already extraordinary career behind him and perhaps his best years ahead.

At 35, Golovkin is in the twilight of his career, and the younger Alvarez may have the perfect opportunity to take over the world of boxing. But if there is anyone left on earth with the power and stamina to take him down, it’s Golovkin. In either case, these two are undoubtedly on the highest level of the sport, and their showdown next month is sure to be entertaining. Perhaps this fight can provide the intensity that fans were supposed to enjoy from Mayweather’s overhyped and overall boring fight against Pacquiao two years ago.

With Mayweather out of the picture now, this is exactly the kind of event that boxing needs. Following up the McGregor fight with something big could be great for the sport, and this fight has all the makings of an instant classic