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This boxing fan won’t be watching Mayweather-McGregor

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Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Conor McGregor, of Ireland, pause for photos during a news conference at Barclays Center Thursday, July 13, 2017, in New York.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Conor McGregor, of Ireland, pause for photos during a news conference at Barclays Center Thursday, July 13, 2017, in New York.

Frank Franklin II, AP

The Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor promotional tour was like nothing we've seen before. It was foul-mouthed, loud, NSFW, controversial and sometimes just goofy.

The actual Aug. 26 bout will probably end up as a footnote to the nutty things witnessed at the so-called press events.

For better or worse, Mayweather and McGregor have punched high above their weight class to try to make their fight a must-see sporting event. Many say it will be the most lucrative in boxing history.

Now Mayweather and McGregor's four-city, three-nation tour is over — and they almost convinced me to add my $99 to the HD pay-per-view totals. Almost … but no.

I can’t remember the last time I didn’t take the bait on a high-profile prize fight. I’ve spent enough cash on boxing tickets and pay-per-view events over the past 25 years to buy a reliable used car.

It’s been money well spent.

I’ve witnessed the classics (think Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns) and endured plenty of stinkers (remember Mike Tyson’s back-from-prison fight against Peter McNeeley? Bought it. Watched it. Regretted it.)

But I’m not buying Mayweather-McGregor. And I won’t regret it.

Patronizing the sweet science is my family tradition — and that includes the in-laws. Some families camp and fish. Others play golf. The Swensen-Munoz clans watch boxing.

I once drove with my dad and a couple of brothers to Wendover just to catch a professional fight card headlined by Butterbean (King of the 4 Rounders!). The great Mexican champion Juan Manuel Marquez was somehow relegated to the undercard.

Meanwhile, my Colombian wife’s family long ago introduced me to the many skilled Latino boxers who typically ply their trade in the lighter weight divisions. My father-in-law was a Julio Cesar Chavez fan. My mother-in-law’s heart belonged only to Oscar De La Hoya.

But tradition aside, I won’t buy/watch Mayweather-McGregor.

Why? Despite the viral social media hype, McGregor’s bombast and my curiosity to see Mayweather’s return from his two-year retirement, this event simply defies legitimacy. Even a longsuffering boxing fan like me requires more than mere spectacle to hand over both a C-note and a late summer Saturday evening.

Not quite lost among the bluster and noise of the news conferences is this indisputable fact: On Aug. 26, McGregor will make his pro boxing debut against arguably the best boxer of his generation.

Yes, McGregor is an elite mixed martial artist. And yes, he’s claimed titles in multiple UFC weight classes. But placing him in a boxing ring with the undefeated Mayweather is as outrageous as LeBron James stepping into the batter’s box with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.

Mayweather-McGregor looks enticing on a fight poster — but these two simply don’t belong in the same athletic competition.

McGregor made his bones in the UFC octagon using his fists, elbows, knees, feet and a variety of grappling moves. In the boxing ring, he’ll be limited to hands encased in 10-ounce gloves. And his opponent will be Mayweather — a defensive savant whose face in the 12th round is almost always as clean and unmarked as it was at the opening bell.

Over the past two decades, some of the world’s most technically skilled boxers have tried to break through Mayweather’s defense. None has been decisively successful.

Mexican fighter Canelo Alvarez, for one, is among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. But Mayweather’s defensive shrewdness left him frustrated and confused in their 2013 fight. Mayweather’s bout against an aging but still dangerous Manny Pacquiao was more of the same.

If boxing greats such as Alvarez or Pacquiao looked silly trying to get to Mayweather, what are the odds of a boxing rookie finding Mayweather’s chin?

My fight prediction:

Mayweather by decision after 12 boring rounds. The maddeningly elusive Mayweather will do little to engage his opponent — and a game McGregor, restricted to using only his gloves, won’t be able to do much about it.

My extreme doubts of McGregor aren’t a slight of mixed martial arts. Several years ago my son became an MMA fan. He even started training at a local jiu-jitsu gym. So we’ve watched plenty of UFC fights together. I don’t entirely understand the sport, but I do appreciate the grit and skill of its top combatants — including McGregor.

And if the sports were reversed — if Mayweather was meeting McGregor in the octagon — Mayweather wouldn’t last a minute. Imagine, this time, Kershaw trying to cross over James atop the key.

There are some great fights on tap in both boxing and MMA. The aforementioned Alvarez will soon meet Gennady Golovkin in a middleweight title bout that promises to be special. Meanwhile, two of the world’s top MMA fighters — Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones — will stage a rematch later this month for Cormier’s light heavyweight title. Both pay-per-view events will be worth the money.

Mayweather vs. McGregor?

Save your spectacle dollars for the next WrestleMania.

jswensen@deseretnews.com @JNSwensen