The war of words between Dublin middleweight Luke Keeler and professional controversy-master and occasional fighter Conor McGregor has seemed increasingly like a soap opera script over recent weeks. To give McGregor credit where it’s due, it. Is actually “Coolhand” Luke who has been the more vocal, alluding to McGregor’s run ins with the law and suggesting that his would-be opponent is more likely spend time in a prison cell than a boxing ring.
Still, the latest public statement from Keeler gives the impression that he might be up for the bout after all. His suggestion that McGregor should “stay sober” long enough for the pair to resolve their differences in the ring has got fight fans salivating. As well as guaranteeing a substantial payday for the combatants, it would get even those with only a passing interest in boxing logging on to sites like ComeOn to place their bets. After all, despite his many indiscretions, McGregor remains one of the best-known names in the sport and has a strong fan base.
A long-held grudge
It is generally believed that the animosity between the Keeler and McGregor stems from the recent incident in Dublin in which McGregor was captured on CCTV punching an older patron. However, the pair have history that goes back much further.
Last week, Keeler met Alan Dawson, a journalist who writes for Business Insider for coffee at Dublin’s Colosseum Gym. He told Dawson that the recent incident was par for the course for McGregor. He explained that the most famous man in UFC had punched one of his friends in the face three or four years ago, and had been “acting the gangster” in and around Dublin ever since. Asked about the continuing list of misdemeanors and the latest incident, he said: “I don’t think he’s in the right frame of mind.”
But will it happen?
Keeler has from the outset been the first to admit that a fight against McGregor would be a money spinner. However, he is not short of options, and there is the argument that the professional fighting world has moved on since McGregor was last in the ring.
Before he can seriously consider the match up, Keeler will be eager to dot the i’s and cross the t’s regarding a title bout against Demetrius Andrade on St Patrick’s Day. Keeler acknowledges that he will be going into that fight as the underdog, but says he has Andrade’s measure. If he could take the belt away from the man from Rhode Island, it would open up a world of opportunity for the Irishman.
Of course, the likes of Saul Alvarez would suddenly be on his radar, but it would also make the potential fight against McGregor even more compelling. Settling their differences in the ring is something all of us want to see deep down. But to do so with a title at stake? Now that’s a proposition that might just bring the entire world to a standstill for the evening.