MAYWEATHER MCGREGOR ALL ACCESS A LET DOWN?
By Tom Watt on Aug 24 2017
Anyone who has followed Boxing for a few years will be well all too familiar with the lead up to a Floyd Mayweather fight and the circus that follows it. Most will have, at some point, spent time watching the ‘All Access’ (and 24/7 during his time with HBO) promotional shows during said build-up. These shows are there for several reasons, obviously they are there to promote the fight, but there is a much more nuanced role they play and that is to promote the challenger so that the fight seems like a real fight. And as we have become accustomed the build-up, so we have become accustomed to the result, a wide, unanimous decision victory for Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather.
As far back as the Ricky Hatton fight, these behind-the-scenes shows have been designed to make fans believe that Mayweather is not as impervious as we believe and that his challenger may finally be the one to break the so-called ‘May Vinci code’. As Mayweather’s resume and perceived untouchable status grew, the editors had to work harder and harder to put together a narrative that lends itself to an upset and incredibly, they almost always do.
However, watching the 4 episodes of ‘All Access’ for the upcoming McGregor fight I have been left somewhat disappointed – aside from seeing a lot of already-seen content, there was nothing in all 4 episodes that truly made me believe the Irishman has anything other than snowball’s chance in hell at leaving the ring with his arms raised or even with much dignity. From the Malinaggi sparring dramas to the questionable movement in the open workouts, nothing that was revealed has indicated that McGregor has anywhere near the skillset to trouble the greatest fighter of our generation.
And so, the narrative has instead focussed on ‘Money’ Mayweather, showcasing his lavish lifestyle and family trips to roller-skating, golf and horse-riding – all in an attempt to fool fans into thinking that, in his older years, Floyd has moved away from his ‘Hard work and dedication’ and is no longer the fighter he was when he bowed out of the sport. Perhaps he isn’t, and perhaps he really has lost half a step in his 2 year absence from the sport, although it seems unlikley. In fact it’s worth remembering that this will not be the first time Floyd has returned from a lengthy hiatus (there was an almost 2 year lay-off prior to one of his most dominating performances against future Hall-of-Famer, Juan Manual Marquez) and on each occasion he has shown no signs of ageing and has actually looked stronger.
In failing to sell McGregor’s chances of victory, All Access has failed in it’s most basic of purposes. Not once did I utter ‘maybe McGregor can actually do this’ during the entire four episodes and although I’ve watched every single iteration of All Access and 24/7 through the years, knowing in my heart of hearts that Mayweather would be victorious, I always allowed myself to be sold on his opponents - ‘maybe Hatton can out-hustle him’, ‘maybe Canelo has the youth and the power to cause him problems’, ‘maybe Maidana’s style will unsettle him’ – but this time round all I can muster is a ‘maybe Conor’s confidence will carry him through a few rounds’.
In fairness, selling this circus as a real fight was a thankless task – and there hasn’t been a need to sell the usual narrative as the hordes of MMA/Crossover fans that are blindly backing their man have pushed this fight into the mainstream and their gambling has given some of the best odds on a Mayweather fight for decades. And as disappointing as the ‘All Access’ episodes were, the build-up to this event with the four-city media tour and the seemingly endless drama has been incredible to keep track of and, as we lead in to the final few days there’s a feeling that there will be at least one more major controversy before that first bell rings!