Despite what is expected to be a massive financial coup for Floyd Mayweather when he steps into the ring on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas to face UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, there is a lot on the line when it comes to Mayweather’s legacy.
Much has been made about McGregor leaving his comfort zone of the UFC and putting on a pair of boxing gloves to square off with the man who is recognized as the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of our generation. However, Mayweather realizes that there is a great risk that comes with putting his pristine 49-0 record on the line against a man who has never boxed professionally. Of course, Mayweather is the betting favorite, and for good reason. But in a sport where it only takes one punch to change everything, Mayweather admits that he can’t take his opponent for granted, or else he’ll destroy his own legacy that he worked so hard to build for the past two decades.
“I truly believe I’m taking the bigger risk,” Mayweather said Thursday on a conference call. “But it’s a big reward for both. I have the 49-0 record. When a fighter has lost before, if he loses again, they say, ‘Oh, it’s nothing. He’s lost before.’ But when a fighter has been dominating for 20-some years — never lost — everything is on the line; my legacy, my boxing record — everything is on the line.”
Although McGregor will be lacing up the boxing gloves professionally for the first time, he’s received a lot of support at the sports books and is less of an underdog against Mayweather than other fighters, who were former world champions. According to Sportsbook Review, Mayweather can be found as low as a -400 favorite against McGregor. Mayweather was as much as a -3000 against Andre Berto.
Nevertheless, Mayweather is still seen in boxing circles as a massive favorite to win the fight. But with someone who has proven themselves in mixed martial arts as a two-division world champion with heavy hands, nothing can be taken for granted.
“It’s all about taking risk,” Mayweather said. “I wouldn’t be where I’m at if I didn’t take risk. So I don’t mind putting the 49 and 0 record on the line. I don’t mind putting everything on the line, for this fight. I feel like it’s worth it.”
If nothing else, the payout will certainly justify the risk on Aug 26.
More Mayweather-McGregor coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• A more measured Mayweather regrets gay slur
• Mayweather vows to make McGregor pay for racist remarks
• How 5 years, fate led to Mayweather-McGregor superfight
• How Mayweather-McGregor could be a betting ‘disaster’