Before MMA caught fire, my friends and I were left with unanswered questions like: ‘‘Could a kickboxer take on a karate dude?’’ ‘‘Could a wrestler beat up a boxer?’’ We had no real answers. We just had Hulk Hogan vs. Rocky Balboa in Rocky III.
Now it’s 2017, and we have our answers. Except for one: ‘‘What if the most polarizing mixed martial artist in the world took on the most polarizing boxer in the world?’’
With tonight’s Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather bout/circus, we are about to witness the 21st Century’s biggest superfight to date. Mr. 49-0 will step into the squared circle against Mr. UFC. It’s the checkered past vs. the checkered tongue, with each superstar taking home the GDP of Gambia.
And it’ll probably blow.
But we’re okay with that. We’ll pay the $99 because we can’t turn away from a superfight. Scientists have discovered their key ingredients trigger intense intoxication in Americans. The next day’s hangover is guaranteed, yet we can’t just say no.
Here are six superfight ingredients that we’ve ate up before.
#1 — Ingredient: The Hype Machine
– Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock
– Year: 2015
The hype machine works best when it can build power like an avalanche. This fight was scheduled for 2008 but happened in 2015. Original UFC badboy, Ken Shamrock, taking on the (now-late) street fighting legend, Kimbo Slice, could’ve been somewhat interesting in ‘08. But was it worth the wait? Only
if you like it when the Dominos guy shows up a week after you ordered pizza. RIP Kimbo.
#2 — Ingredient: The Styles Clash
– Riddick Bowe vs. Levgen Golovin
– Year: 2013
In the ‘90s, Riddick Bowe was a dominant heavyweight boxer. In 2013, he was certainly not a muay thai fighter. Yet somehow I’ve watched this fight on YouTube more than once.
#3 — Ingredient: Past Their Prime
– Butterbean vs. Larry Holmes
– Year: 2002
At 52 years young, Larry Holmes, went 10 rounds with American lunchbox, Eric ‘‘Butterbean’’ Esch. It was the like seeing two ‘‘Before’’ pictures that never made it to ‘‘After.’’
#4 — Ingredient: The Celebrity Factor
– Karl Malone & Diamond Dallas Page vs. Dennis Rodman & Hulk Hogan
– Year: 1998
Back in high school my friends and I pledged allegiance to the WWF. However, we all agreed to take a night off from our oath for WCW’s 1998 Bash At The Beach. The North Korean Worm and The Mailman were why.
#5 — Ingredient: The WTF Factor
This is where superfights are hardly super and barely fights. These car crashes are the best of the worst.
Jose Canseco vs. Choi Hong-man
South Korea kickboxing’s answer to Andre The Giant made quick work of the American steroid pioneer.
Joey Buttafuoco vs. Chyna
No description required.
#6 — Ingredient: The Classic Superfight
There have actually been a few of these and they’ve lived up to the hype: Ali vs. Foreman, Leonard vs. Hagler, Ali vs. Frazier, and Ali vs. Frazier once more.
Will Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather produce such a classic? You already know the answer. But you’ll still watch. Same as me.
Caleb Bacon is a Los Angeles-based television writer, Red Zone addict, and recent dad. Follow him on Twitter: @CalebEatsBacon.