Mayweather, 50-0 (27), seems to be making a smart business move but it is not one that will please the boxing fraternity. Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomanchenko has already called the fight “disrespectful” but conceded, “from a business perspective it’s superb”.
Khabib is more marketable than ever after his defeat of MMA icon Conor McGregor. However the violence that erupted after the fight has seen Khabib suspended. He has already threatened to quit the UFC.
Mayweather versus Khabib remains wholly un-appetising to boxing fans though. The McGregor versus Mayweather bout set a new bar for money-spinning business-over-boxing fights. It was widely labelled a farce but McGregor has much more boxing pedigree than Khabib, whose combat strengths do not lie in his ‘striking’.
‘Striking’, or punching as it is sometimes known, seems fairly important in boxing. Logically then, a fight with Khabib would likely be even less watchable than Mayweather’s victory over Conor McGregor, who is known for his ‘striking’.
It will have to be boxing though if the two are to meet. The American holds all the cards and is unlikely to come out of retirement for anything other than a traditional boxing bout. Mayweather told TMZ Sports: “He called me out, so you have to come to my world… I seen in an interview, he said when he hit Conor McGregor, he knocked Conor McGregor down. He said I didn’t knock him down. OK, Khabib. You got my leftovers. Whoop-dee-do.”
Unfortunately the fight seems increasingly certain. Mayweather said: “we’re fighting… I’m my own boss. I can’t say what’s going on on Khabib’s end, but on my end we can make it happen”.
If the fight does go ahead it will doubtless attract a media circus and a large fan following. For out-and-out boxing fans though, this may be a case of ‘once bitten twice shy’. Any boxing fan who paid the money and stayed up into the early hours to watch Mayweather’s last regrettable outing is unlikely to do so again.