'Our sport might never recover' - Boxing legend makes a plea to halt Mayweather v McGregor 'farce'
Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya has called on the boxing community to unite in a bid to stop Floyd Mayweather’s proposed fight with Conor McGregor, after describing the potential showdown as 'a circus'.
The six-weight world champion turned promoter has described the prospect of a bout between unbeaten boxing king Mayweather and Ireland's UFC champion McGregor as 'a joke of a fight', as he suggested his sport has a duty to ensure the pair never face each other in a boxing ring.
In a Facebook letter that he hopes will resonate with an sceptical American boxing community already sceptical about the prospect of a fight that would be more of a showbiz event than a serious sporting contest, De La Hoya suggested his sport would be harmed by the spectacle.
“I write in the hopes that together we can protect the sport of boxing,” he began in a long and passionate message.
“With each passing day, it looks more and more likely that the circus known as Floyd Mayweather Vs. Conor McGregor will be coming to town in the near future.
“As undercard fights start to take form, athletic commissions give their blessings in exchange for millions of dollars and the fighters start counting even more cash, one group will eventually be left to make sure this farce doesn’t occur.”
De La Hoya’s sentiments have been echoed by several high profile members of the American boxing media, yet their scorn has not stopped Mayweather and McGregor closing in on a deal to fight in Las Vegas later this year.
Now the intervention of one of the sport's biggest names may focus some minds, as he argued a Mayweather v McGregor fight would leave a lasting stain on the sport’s image.
“Just wait until the best boxer of a generation dismantles someone who has never boxed competitively at any level - amateur or professional,” he argued. “Our sport might never recover.
“I fully understand the initial attraction from any fan of combat sports. McGregor is almost certainly the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter. Floyd is Floyd - the most dominant boxer of his time.
“But success in one sport does not guarantee success in another. Far from it. And let’s be clear, these are two different sports - from the size of the gloves fighters wear, to the size and shape of the ring, to the fact the one sport allows combatants to use their legs to strike.
“Furthermore, it’s not like McGregor would be fighting a good fighter, let alone a mediocre one. He would be fighting the best.
“To use a bit of an extreme analogy, I happen to be a pretty good golfer. Could I potentially hold my own on one of the second-tier tours? Maybe. But would I be able to compete with Rory McIlroy, Jordan Speith or Sergio Garcia? Of course not. Nor would I think to try.
“Floyd’s and Conor’s motivation is clear. It’s money. In fact, they don’t even pretend it’s not. But it’s also a lack of consequences for when the fight ends up being the disaster that is predicted.
“After this fight, neither of them will need us anymore. Floyd will go back to retirement - presumably for good this time with another nine-figure paycheck - and Conor will go back to the UFC.
“It’s a win-win for them. It’s a lose-lose for us. We’ll be $100 lighter and we will have squandered another opportunity to bring boxing back to its rightful place as the sport of kings.
“At this point, only we can shut the circus down by making it clear that we won’t pay to see a joke of a fight and telling our casual-fan friends that they shouldn’t either.”
De La Hoya’s comments are likely to spark a debate over whether genuine boxing fans would be prepared to pay big money to watch Mayweather v McGregor, with their financial input vital to the success of the event promoters hope will generate record breaking revenue for both fighters.
UFC chief Dana White is trying to finalise a deal with Mayweather that will turn this fantasy fight into a reality and only then will we discover if enough boxing fans wants to watch what is almost certain to be a sporting mis-match.