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Morning Report: Showtime commentator Al Bernstein says Mayweather vs. McGregor feels even bigger than Mayweather vs. Pacquiao

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you already know that this weekend, Conor McGregor will cross over to boxing to take on Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in the biggest fight of the year. But Showtime and the UFC have higher aspirations than just “biggest fight of the year;” they’re hoping this will end up being the biggest fight of all-time, and according to one of the commentators for the event, MayMac is certainly heading in that direction.

Showtime boxing commentator Al Bernstein (who also previously did commentary for EliteXC) is in Las Vegas making his final preparations for the upcoming superfight he’ll be calling. Speaking on a special edition of The MMA Hour on Wednesday, he said feeling in the city and around the world feels even bigger that before Mayweather’s fight with Manny Pacquiao in 2015.

“My first thought was that it would be something of a spectacle, and guess what, that’s exactly what it is. . . I think the amount of attention that’s being paid to it, the amount of energy concentrated on it is actually more than I even thought it was going to be and, to be honest, even more than for Pacquiao-Mayweather.”

Mayweather-Pacquiao is the most lucrative combat sport event in history, selling 4.6 million pay-per-view buys, generating over $400 million in revenue, and bringing in a record $72 million live gate. Early projections for Mayweather-McGregor have it outselling Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and Las Vegas odds have the fight as a two-to-one favorite to break the 5 million buy mark, and Bernstein says he can see it happening because everyone is interested.

“I do. The hardcore boxing fan will say, ‘Oh he’s equating it!’ and I’m not equating it in the ring necessarily but just the sheer amount of attention it’s getting. Quantitatively - this isn’t a scientific way of looking at it - my phone’s blowing up more than it did for Mayweather-Pacquiao. I have a friend who’s not even a sports fan, he doesn’t even watch the Super Bowl, and he’s buying this fight.”

Both boxing and MMA find themselves without many established PPV draws, and though boxing in particular is having a good year, the idea that an MMA star can just show up and be the biggest draw in boxing has led to a narrative that this fight is bad for the sport. Moreover, many have suggested that a McGregor upset would be catastrophic for the Sweet Science. Similarly, some have suggested that if McGregor is embarrassed on Saturday, MMA will suffer a blow. But Bernstein says this is all ridiculous, that neither sport will come out of this worse for wear, and that we should all just sit back and enjoy the ride.

“I see it as a one-off, so I’m not worried about the 50-0. I don’t even consider this. If you’re going for a record, you don’t fight a guy that’s 0-0 if the record is the idea. . . This is a one-off. This is a specific event that you can look at on its own and decide if you think it merits your attention or doesn’t merit your attention and look at it that way.

“Boxing’s had one of its best years in 2017 so my feeling is this doesn’t diminish boxing, it doesn’t diminish MMA. It’s a one-off event.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Run it back. Jon Jones’ agent believes Jones’ failed drug test result of “another tainted supplement.”

Nah. Mayweather says McGregor is having trouble making the weight limit.

P4P. McGregor believes he’ll be the best pound-for-pound boxer after beating Mayweather.

Ostentatious. Mayweather and McGregor will fighting for “the money belt.”

Excuses. Dana White is ready to hear excuses after McGregor KOs Mayweather.


VIDEO STEW

Embedded 3.

There is no one who was ever involved with boxing that they didn’t get to comment.

He’s not wrong.

Chael perfectly outlines MayMac.

MayMac battle rapping.


LISTEN UP

Heavy Hands. Mayweather vs. McGregor getting the full preview.

The MMA Circus. A.J. McKee interview and JDS and JBJ discussions.

Jordan Breen Show. Breen goes in on Jon Jones and his decision making.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

DC still just being the best guy.

Thank you all for the overwhelming support. Let's give Jon time and what he's entitled to, due process. Thanks again. DC

A post shared by Daniel "DC" Cormier (@dc_mma) on

Malki’s statement.

The amount of hate that everyone has towards jon jones with out any due process is beyond me. The messages I keep...

Posted by Malki Kawa on Wednesday, August 23, 2017

People are awful but this guy is more than we deserve.

Ngannou.

Bet accepted.

Not sure anyone is too into this.

Standing on the “Jon Jones has solid judgment” corner is an interesting but popular choice these days.

Ummm.

Words to live by.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Demian Maia (25-7) vs. Colby Covington (12-1); UFC Fight NIght 119, Oct. 28.

Patricio Freire (26-4) vs. Daniel Weichel (39-9); Bellator 188, Nov. 16.


FINAL THOUGHTS

2 days. Almost there.

Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.


If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.