The much-ballyhooed showdown between the boxer and the UFC star is the latest in a long line of one-off publicity stunts foisted on the gullible masses
On Wednesday it was announced the finest boxer of his generation, unbeaten in 49 paying fights and 26 world championship contests with titles in five weight classes, will fight a scheduled 12-round boxing match against an opponent with no professional boxing experience. It doesn’t take a expert to know how this one will play out.
But we groundlings love a sideshow and always have, making us susceptible to promotional stunts like these for as as long as anyone can remember. There was Muhammad Ali’s risible fight with the Japanese pro wrestler Antonio Inoki in 1976, widely regarded as the most embarrassing moment of the Greatest’s career. There were Jesse Owens’ lamentable match races against thoroughbred horses, a humiliating comedown for the Olympic hero who had stared down Hitler in Berlin. There was the much-ballyhooed 150m race between Donovan Bailey and Michael Johnson at Toronto’s SkyDome to determine the title of world’s fastest man, a made-for-TV event that went down 20 years ago this month.