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Mayweather vs. McGregor: Ignore the Hype

Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: Ignore the Hype

By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

When you go back throughout history and look at big fights, you'll notice how little the prefight hype really counts. At the end of the day, fights are determined by skills and how each fighter's attributes and deficiencies play off of each other. There are certain realities all fights are bound to that can't be disregarded. When it comes time to tune into a fight, all that talk, hype, buildup, and jive goes out the window. It's about skills—nothing less and nothing more.

In the buildup to the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor extravaganza on August 26, the hype-train will be off-the-rails. We will hear some of the most-bombastic trash-talk ever heard building up to the fight. It's hard to not be impacted by it. And truth be told, some fighters have been psyched-out during this kind of hype designed to pump up an upcoming fight. With Mayweather, however, we're dealing with a fighter who was on top for two decades. It's not like we've ever seen the pre-fight hype do anything negative to his fighting. With Conor, he's a 2-division UFC champ and not the kind of guy you'd suspect to melt under the hype.

It's important for those betting on Mayweather vs. McGregor to drown out the hype and pre-fight back-and-forth. Or at the very least, it shouldn't play a focal role in you deciding who to bet on August 26. The pre-fight banter isn't designed to be a forum for fighters to speak their mind as much as it's a tool to simply pump up the revenue for the fight. And that's how people betting on the fight need to perceive it.

There has been a shift in the sensibilities of boxing fans, mostly due to the explosion of social media and the increased accessibility to the thoughts and words of fighters. There was a time not too long ago when there would be a press conference and then you wouldn't hear from the fighters until fight-night. With Twitter and all the other social media outlets, we're in closer contact with the fighters. As a result, more attention is given to what fighters say.

Combat sports, whether it is boxing or MMA, is unique in that the participants can settle their issues squarely. When you see other people or athletes debating on social media, it very rarely manifests into an actual physical confrontation. In the fight biz, things are going to get physical. These are the last real men in a lot of ways. They go to war with each other physically, while the rest of the world goes to war verbally.

So why are we trying to reduce these great warriors to the lowly standards of the typical social media verbal warrior? You see things like people actually scoring the Mayweather-McGregor press conferences, arguing on who got the better of it in the argument. It's as if they're not fighters and just a couple of rival music producers battling it out on Twitter. But unlike the people in that example, these guys are going to fight. And when that's the case, it puts the verbal sparring on a backburner. For us mere mortals, the back-and-forth on the internet is the fight. Maybe some of us have transferred that mindset to analyzing fights. That could be a mistake.

In other words, we have been conditioned to look at arguments as the fight itself. That's how it works now. For every pair of men swapping punches to settle their disputes are a million keyboard warriors. And no one is really above it. We've all battled it out with someone on the internet. Some people do it so much that they've come to view conflict as a computerized endeavor.

Fighters are the last bastion of true men. While they may engage in heated debate and flex their muscles on social media, they know the end-game is the fight itself. That's where legacies are built. Fight history doesn't record who won the press conference. Legacies are not built on who came up with the best one-liner, what Tweet got the most "likes," or who won the crowd over in the various media tour stops.

With the increased awareness and emphasis put on what fighters say, attention is taken off of what fighters do. And fighting is a "do" business. A lot of people want to reduce these great warriors down to their level, where it's all about talking and earning distinction in the form of a debate. But this is fighting. It's not two jerks going back and forth on the computer. It's not an election. It's a fight. And that's how it needs to be perceived—nothing more and nothing less.

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I suppose the takeaway from all this is that when breaking down the Mayweather-McGregor fight, you're better served to look at clips of the men fighting and not the press conferences. Fighting is a bottom-line sport based on action. It's based on doing, not talking. That's all window dressing, intended to get more people interested in the fight. It can be entertaining, as well. It's just not a reliable fight handicapping tool. In today's age of increased importance on what people say and not so much what they do, it's easy for some to be thrown off-course when breaking down fights.

In a recent press stop, McGregor promised he'd stop Mayweather in four rounds or less. Next thing you know, there's a prop bet posted at the book on whether or not that will happen. So we see the connection between pre-fight hype and gambling is becoming tighter. But to really form a solid analysis, it must be done with almost a total disregard to all the lip service leading up to the fight. If a debate were to be taking place on August 26, then we would need to look at the pre-fight dialoguing closer. But it's a fight, not a debate. So let's act accordingly as we form our wagers for the Mayweather vs. McGregor battle.

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