In typical Floyd Mayweather fashion, a simple social media post accompanied by a supporting a GIF confirmed his showdown with UFC superstar Conor McGregor will take place on August 26 in Las Vegas. The event—which will be sanctioned as an official boxing match and fought under professional boxing rules at a maximum weight of 154 pounds—will be produced and distributed by Showtime Pay-Per-View in association with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
McGregor also confirmed the news, although using the moment to take a shot at his upcoming opponent by posting his own picture alongside Floyd Mayweather Sr.
The location has yet to be announced, although for the moment Mayweather Promotions has reserved MGM Grand in Las Vegas. A request for a venue hold was part of the monthly agenda for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, with the latest hearing held Wednesday morning at NSAC headquarters in Las Vegas and the request approved.
Mayweather (49-0, 26KOs) will return to the ring for the first time since announcing his retirement following a Sept. '15 points win over Andre Berto. McGregor—a two-division champion in UFC —will be making his pro debut as a boxer, but surprisingly only comes in as a +650 underdog according to sportsbooks opening odds.
An official announcement from all involved parties is forthcoming, but the news dropping at this point takes a sledgehammer to all boxing plans between now and fight night. This week alone, the light heavyweight championship rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev—which airs live this Saturday on HBO Pay-Per-View—has already struggled to generate any sort of buzz on its own, and will now only drown in the latest trending topic in combat sports.
Meanwhile, Mayweather kills two birds with one stone as the timing of the fight impacts two separate boxing events involving Golden Boy Promotions.
The August 26 date was crucial as it lies exactly three weeks prior to the titanic September 17 middleweight championship battle between unbeaten, unified titlist Gennady Golovkin (promoted by K2 Promotions) and Golden Boy's top-selling boxer, former two-division champ Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez. Golden Boy and K2 Promotions announced the fight in the moments immediately following Alvarez' 12-round shutout of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. this past May at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas—a venue that remains an outside possibility to land the Mayweather-McGregor spectacle as well.
Golden Boy rushed to announce the fight when they did to block this event from falling on that date, which according to UFC's Dana White was in fact the plan during preliminary talks. There is also a deal in place that states the hosting properties cannot get involved with such an event within three weeks of Alvarez-Golovkin, with August 26 placed just outside that window.
While Alvarez-Golovkin remains the very best possible fight to be made in boxing and will undoubtedly perform well at the box office, there is no doubt that the latest news will overshadow the promotion at least through late August.
Fight night itself will also go head-to-head with another Golden Boy event, as the date was already confirmed for the ring return of Miguel Cotto. The former four-division champion from Puerto Rico ends a 21-month ring hiatus as he faces Yoshihiro Kamegai live on HBO's flagship network from StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Mayweather owns ring wins over Cotto and Alvarez, scoring decision victories in May '12 and September '13, respectively.
His win over Alvarez established box office records for the highest-grossing PPV event of all-time as well as the biggest live gate in the history of any combat sports event to take place in Las Vegas. Such marks have since been shattered by Mayweather's 12-round win over Manny Pacquiao in May '15, which set financial benchmarks that figured to never be touched at least in this lifetime.
It remains to be seen just how much cash this money grab rakes in, but it will undoubtedly surpass any boxing event that can be staged in the foreseeable future–including all of those it will overshadow over the course of the summer.