Floyd Mayweather Jr’s 10th-round victory in a boxing match against MMA’s Conor McGregor, when it finally happened in Vegas after months of insane hype, left a lot of people relieved.
The boxing pundits, both those who’ve spent years studying the sport and those who became instant experts after reading five Twitter posts, are breathing a sigh of relief. If McGregor has defied all predictions and beaten the undefeated former world champion, there would have been a lot of egg on a lot of ‘expert’ faces.
The boxing industry itself will feel it’s dodged a bullet; a McGregor win would have confirmed all the delusional trash-talk the Irishman’s devoted supporters were throwing around before the fight, and left an embarrassing question mark over boxing’s claim to be the ‘superior’ sport.
Mayweather’s more vocal fans, who were giving as good as they got on social media, escaped the biggest online burns of all time when their hero came through. Had he lost, the McGregor loyalists would have made their lives online an absolute misery.
McGregor Saved Face
Even Conor McGregor ought to be pleased that he didn’t actually come out on top. Had he won, once the crowing over his invincibility had died down, he would have realised he now had a boxing title to defend, and a choice to make between two disciplines.
As it is, he put on a respectable showing, especially in the first three rounds, and held off the Mayweather TKO longer than most people expected him to. He certainly made a fight of it, and impressed a lot of boxing fans with his refusal to give in, even after being outclassed for seven rounds.
Having saved face by not disgracing himself, The Notorious can now return to dominating UFC, with his fans even more star-struck by his reputation as ‘the man who went 10 rounds with an undefeated boxing champion in his first boxing match ever’.
The owners of Pay Per View concessions were also happy to see the fight go to Mayweather. Sure, they already had their $99 from every PPV punter, even if the fight had ended in the first round. But if Mayweather had been bested in a huge upset, fans would have been screaming ‘fix’, and it might have become a lot more difficult to get them back for the next superfight gimmick.
Mayweather Avoided Humiliation
Given his record, not to mention his massive pay cheque, it’s hard to believe Mayweather was ever seriously worried about the outcome. Even when doing his best to match McGregor’s overblown rhetoric in the pre-fight promotional tour, The Money gave the impression of a guy who was too sure of his superiority to bother with much trash-talk.
Had the MMA legend landed a lucky punch in that flurry in the opening three rounds, however, it might have been a different story. To come out of retirement a second time, obviously for the money, and destroy a flawless 49-bout record, would have been a massive humiliation for Mayweather.
So although he may never have been seriously worried by the outcome, as the fight dragged on and McGregor refused to go down, a tiny niggling doubt must have crept in. So add The Money to the list of people relieved when the ref stopped the fight.
And given the pathetic odds the champ was being offered at, the big spenders who decided the only way to make any decent return on a bet was to go big on Mayweather would also have been hugely relieved by his win. There were reports of some punters putting bets as big as $1-million on the boxing ace, so there would have been hearts in mouths aplenty when McGregor was looking so dangerous in the first three rounds.
Bookmakers Probably Most Relieved of All
Embarrassment, humiliation, and loss of face: if the result had been reversed, these would all have been painful consequences for everyone championing the superiority of boxing and Mayweather. But the folks who would have been hit hardest, where they hurt the most, would have been the bookmakers.
By far the biggest bets were wagered on Mayweather; an average of $8,832.00 per bet, with an average return of just $1,261.00. The average bet on McGregor winning was smaller, at $200.00, but had he won, that bet would have paid out $1,000.00, at McGregor’s final odds. Bets placed on him earlier would have netted even more.
Had the unthinkable happened, and in those first three rounds, they must have begun to think it was thinkable, sports books in Vegas alone stood to lose an estimated $50-million, if not more. Although they ended up paying out all the Mayweather bets, their total losses were more than offset by the huge volume of losing bets on McGregor. But that, of course, is how the odds are calculated in the first place…