Saturday, August 26 is almost here, and the end of the Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather saga will finally be upon us. There will be no more trash talk, no more accusations of racism, no more making light of domestic violence in a public forum, and no more scrutinizing the fallout of sparring sessions. There will just be two widely-loathed men beating the hell out of each other in a boxing ring for a couple hours.
If you don't like either guy or have a rooting interest in the fight, maybe you should consider the outcome that would produce the most possible chaos. And that is, without a doubt, McGregor coming out on top and shocking the world. And it wouldn't just shake up the boxing world, it would also devastate an entire industry in Las Vegas if Mayweather does not win on Saturday.
In a new story about the Mayweather vs. McGregor odds on ESPN, several casino executives opened up about the disparity in betting between the two fighters, driven by how long the odds are for a Mayweather loss. Jay Rood, the VP of MGM Resorts race and sports, said the money is being placed on McGregor at a 25-1 rate compared to his opponent.
"This is like hanging -3 on the Super Bowl and seeing the line move to -8," said Rood. "This could be the worst loss in the history of MGM Resorts."
If you let the oddsmakers tell it, there is almost no precedent for a fight of this kind, with an undefeated, all-time great boxer going up against a total amateur in the sport. Because of the disparity in betting, managers at some of Vegas' top sports books are talking about the impact it could have on their entire year, and not just a stretch of it.
"Ultimately, we want to be in a position where we win a significant amount on Mayweather, but we don't want to be destroyed if McGregor wins," said John Murrary, the manager of Las Vegas Westgate Superbook. "We don't want this fight to cost us our whole year."
To plan for the worst, odds have fallen precipitously since betting opened this past winter. At Westgate, Mayweather has gone from a -2500 favorite in February to a -475 favorite in August, the change coming in order to offset disaster if in fact McGregor comes. Oddsmakers are still heavily in Mayweather's corner, but they don't want to be exposed more than they have to be for a fight like this.
Very few people in the boxing world believe McGregor has a chance to win. Retired fighter Tyson Fury made waves when he said in June that McGregor would knock Mayweather out in one round, claiming, "I think Conor McGregor will knock him out in the first 35 seconds like he did to Jose Aldo, to be honest." Aside from that, most of McGregor's supporters come from the MMA side of fighting, and the boxing community as a whole is skeptical he'll even be a factor.
If you ask the oddsmakers for their honest opinions, the odds for this fight aren't anywhere near as close as they're being made out to be.
"Truthfully, this thing should be 50-1," said oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro. "To me, it's absurd."
He and his Las Vegas pals better hope they're right, because if McGregor pulls off the upset, it won't matter how confident they were about a Mayweather victory, and the money will be gone.