Tuesday 28 January 2020

Comment - Why Katie Taylor may be asked to help give the Mayweather v McGregor 'farce' credibility

Katie Taylor and Conor McGregor
Katie Taylor and Conor McGregor
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

WITH a little over ten weeks to go until Floyd Mayweather steps into the ring with Conor McGregor at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, fight organisers are scrambling to piece together an undercard to give the event some credibility - and the name of Katie Taylor is likely to be raised in their discussions.

As a host of high profile figures in the boxing world have been pouring scorn on the prospect of unbeaten boxing champion Mayweather taking on McGregor in an event that will be impossible to sell as a serious sporting contest.

Former six-weight world champion Oscar De La Hoya fears boxing ‘may never recover’ from what he describes as ‘the farce’ of a contest between Mayweather and McGregor, while Taylor’s promoter Eddie Hearn told Independent.ie last year that the Dubliner had ‘no chance’ in a boxing contest with the American legend.

With Mayweather Promotions appreciating that they need to appeal to a huge audience of boxing fans in America is this fight is to gross the kind of record breaking numbers they are hoping for, the drive will now be on to piece together a bill that will entice punters to part with their cash.

While Irish fans can expect to be charged up to €30 to watch Mayweather v McGregor, US fight fans have got used to paying up to $99 for pay-per-view boxing events, which include a month of build-up to the fight and extensive behind the scenes access.

It is difficult to know whether hardcore boxing fans will have an appetite to watch Mayweather against an opponent making his professional boxing debut, so the undercard fights will be vital for selling the show.

IBF super-featherweight champion Gervonta Davis and former WBC super-middleweight champion Badou Jack are being tipped to make an appearance in Vegas, with both currently being promoted by Mayweather Promotions.

Yet with such a huge interest from an Irish audience in this event, the temptation to add some Irish names to the undercard will be pressing and Taylor’s name will leap to the top of the list.

McGregor’s coach John Cavanagh suggested on Twitter that Irish Olympic stars Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes, along with professional boxing star Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan should be included on an Irish-dominated undercard.

Yet it is the prospect of enticing Irish boxing’s golden girl Taylor to enter the ring in Vegas that will focus the minds of fight promoters, with sources close to Taylor telling Independent.ie that she could appear on the bill if the right offer was made.

Mayweather Promotions will take charge of assembling the undercard, so they would need to approach Taylor’s Matchroom Promotion stable in London to assess her availability, as well as providing an opponent for what would be her sixth professional fight.

British world champion Savannah Marshall has recently become the first female fighter signed up by Mayweather’s promotional stable, highlighting their eagerness to embracing the rising interest in women’s boxing around the world.

With Matchroom eager to give Taylor some exposure to an American audience in the coming months ahead of what they hope will be a world title fight in Dublin around November, a spot on the Mayweather v McGregor bill could just fit in with their masterplan for the Bray fighter.

Taylor is hoping to make her US debut in the coming weeks and the prospect of fighting in Las Vegas was raised after her win against Nina Meinke in April.

“I’ve never been to Vegas, so it would be cool to fight there,” stated Taylor, as she spoke to Irish reporters in the pressroom at Wembley Stadium after the fifth win of her professional career.

A double bill of McGregor and Taylor would certainly generate a huge audience in Ireland and if there is a danger of pay-per-view numbers failing to deliver in America, Irish fans may become crucial in ensuring one of the most ambitious boxing events of all time is a commercial success.

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