Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather will meet UFC champion Conor McGregor in a fight that has been described as a “farce” and a “circus” but could earn both men as much as $100m (£78.4m).
American Mayweather, 40, has posted a video on Twitter confirming the bout will take place in Las Vegas on 26 August, with the message: “It’s official.”
Irish UFC lightweight champion McGregor, 28, also confirmed “The fight is on.” UFC president Dana White told ESPN: “The impossible deal is now done.”
The light-middleweight bout will be one of the richest in boxing history. Mayweather, a former five-weight world champion and widely considered the best boxer of his generation, retired unbeaten in 2015 after 49 bouts.
That followed a successful defence of his WBC and WBA welterweight titles, a victory that meant he equalled Rocky Marciano’s career record of 49-0. Mayweather retired for the first time in 2008 after 39 fights.
McGregor, who has never boxed professionally, became the UFC’s first dual-division champion in November 2016 and has previously challenged Mayweather to a fight under mixed martial arts rules. His boxing licence was granted by the California State Athletic Commission in December, allowing him to box in the US state.
The biggest pay-per-view fight ever?
The fight would take place at the T-Mobile Arena and would be at 154lbs, one category up from Mayweather’s last bout in September 2015, when he gained a wide points win over compatriot Andre Berto.
When Mayweather defeated Filipino Manny Pacquiao on points in May 2015, the fight set a new American pay-per-view record of 4.6 million buys. That figure is expected to be beaten.
“It’s definitely going to be the biggest fight ever in combat sports history and probably going to be the biggest pay day ever – all sides involved are pretty happy with their deals,” he said.
Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, added: “There is a different feel from the Pacquiao fight. It is the unknown factor. There is not one place I go to with Floyd where he doesn’t get asked the question: ‘Floyd, are you going to fight Conor McGregor?’ All Floyd thinks about is fighting Conor McGregor.”
McGregor has won 21 and lost three of his 24 MMA contests, and White said his style would cause problems for Mayweather.
Speaking last month, boxing legend Oscar de la Hoya said the contest was “a farce” and “a circus” and feared the impact it would have on the sport. “My interest is in the health of boxing as a whole,” said De la Hoya, who won world titles in six different weight categories, in an open letter posted on Facebook.”
This is also being tipped as an absolute mismatch. McGregor is a terrific mixed martial artist, a sensational grappler, sensational at all of these things in five-minute rounds – but what he’s absolutely hopeless at – and every now and again we see glimpses of it – is boxing.