In the early hours of Sunday the 27th of August an Irishman will be involved in one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Dubliner Conor McGregor is set to take on unbeaten boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.
This fight is unique for many reasons, one being that the stadium it will be hosted in was built with private funds. The build-up to the fight has also been a step into the unknown for boxing, with a "world tour" and stops in North America and the UK used to promote the fight.
While many are excited about the prospect of MMA champion McGregor facing Mayweather, others have spoken about the mismatch in pitting the two against each other. Mayweather has boxed 49 times as a professional, with his first bout in 1996. The Grand Rapids native also had a successful amateur career, culminating with a bronze model at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. McGregor has never fought a professional boxing fight.
Mayweather's lifetime earning also dwarf that of the Dubliner. The American reportedly earned $250 million for his fight with Manny Pacquiao in May 2015. McGregor received an estimated $8 million for his most recent UFC fight.
This hasn't diminished interest, and despite the mismatch in some statistics, one that is much closer than people might expect is the pay-per-view buy-rate. The graphs below illustrates this for the fighters five most recent bouts.
It should be noted, Mayweather's earnings include the record 4.6 million pay-per-view buys from his Pacquiao fight, followed by the collapse in interested associated with his 49th fight against Andre Berto, which generated just $400,000. McGregor's support has been more stable and constantly on the rise.
The graph on the right removes the Pacquiao and Berto outliers (one high, one low) and calculates the average earnings from the other three fights considered. This shows just how close the interest in both fighters is.
I doubt the contest itself will be as close.