Mayweather/McGregor: Will you take the bait?
This is a notoriously slow time in sports. Aside from the "dog days" of baseball, professional golf and futbol's second-tier Major League Soccer, we're left with NBA free agency, football training camp and tennis to satisfy our athletic fix.
So while you're fondly recalling the winter bliss of the NFL, NBA, hockey and a college bowl game or 20, and simultaneously salivating at the idea of football's triumphant return in roughly six weeks, think long and hard about whether you want to spend your hard-earned money on a "fight" that's hard-selling itself to everyone dying to take the bait.
That's right, I'm talking about the circus show that is Floyd Mayweather versus the UFC's Conor McGregor, the made-for-TV super-fight that looks great on the marquee, but will almost certainly fall flat in regards to a return on what will be a record consumer investment.
One is 40, while the other is 29. One is arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the history of boxing, while the other doesn't box. And one is retired, while the other is a UFC loss or two away from being another Mixed Martial Arts superstar to ride off into the sunset of the fast-moving revolving door of UFC stardom.
Does that sound like a competitive fight?
Sure, the smooth-talking Irishman is fun to watch and even more fun to listen to on a stage, in a suit and in a room full of reporters champing at the bit. But in a ring with a skilled boxer the likes of Mayweather, he'll be nothing more than a sideshow looking to land a lucky punch on a guy who's made a career of avoiding them.
I'll admit it's interesting. I watched last week's press conferences and chuckled at the childish banter between the two. It got out of hand and on more than one occasion crossed the line of human decency, but the thought of two great fighters of two entirely different disciplines facing off in a manner never quite seen before intrigues me. But should it?
The answer is no. In general, Mayweather isn't entertaining and even the best fighters have had trouble getting their paws on him. He's made a career out of dodging punches and hundreds of millions of dollars by scoring points. He rarely gets hit and even more rarely knocks anyone out, so why in the world would I think a mixed martial artist with amateur boxing skills could do what 49 professional-level fighters couldn't do before him?
Many expect this to be the biggest box-office bout in the history of fighting. Mayweather said he expects to make upwards of $300 million, while McGregor said he foresees quadrupling his current net worth (which is estimated at $22 million). But is this going to be a fight worthy of such acclaim, or just the latest dose of snake oil targeting suckers like you and I, desperate to buy what even we know can't be real in lieu of the sports fix we need?
I know the answer. It's simply a matter of whether I can sell myself on the truth.