Ryan Burnett hits out at Mayweather-McGregor “money-making scheme”

In news confirmed on Monday afternoon, Conor McGregor‘s professional debut will be shown on this side of the Atlantic by Sky Box Office.

The Dublin light middleweight looks to pull off, by far, the biggest shock in sporting history when he takes on five-weight boxing champion Floyd Mayweather [49(26)-0] at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday August 26th.

Such is the nature of modern boxing, and the need to promote the fight, the mega-money clash certainly is not being presented as a mismatch between a boxing expert and a novice coming in from the top of another discipline, with ways McGregor could make an impact being emphasised rather than straight-out analysis. Indeed, some online gambling sites in UK have McGregor as short as 7/2.

Some more level-headed commentators are focusing on the ‘event’ nature of the fight, rather than its merits as a sporting contest, while others are just happy to see an Irishman lining up against one of the best boxers of this century.

On the other hand, Ireland’s only world champion Ryan Burnett [17(9)-0] does not have much time for the fight at all.

The Belfast boxer was in the Sky Sports News studios yesterday to announce the first defence of his IBF bantamweight title – a unification with WBA champ Zhanat Zhakiyanov on Saturday October 21st at the SSE Odyssey Arena.

As Sky Sports will be showing both bouts, Burnett was inevitably asked about the ‘MayGregor,’ match-up – and his response, live on SSN, certainly didn’t toe the party line.

The Antrim Road man plainly stated that “personally, I don’t think it’s good for boxing. I think it’s just a money-making scheme for the two guys.”

“Still, everyone’s going to tune in and watch it, but personally-” continued Burnett before being quickly interrupted by presenter Pete Graves who asked him if he was picking a Mayweather win.

“Definitely Mayweather” said Burnett.

“I’m a massive fan of Conor McGregor, I think he’s incredible with what he does but, when it comes to boxing ability, I don’t think that he’s in Floyd Mayweather calibre.”

Indeed Burnett isn’t one to be swayed by arguments that the Irish mixed martial artist’s approach will prove to be unique and therefore give him a chance of defeating ‘Money May.’

The Adam Booth-trained bantam reasoned how “to be honest, I think Floyd Mayweather’s faced pretty much everything in his career, so I can’t see Conor McGregor presenting something that Mayweather hasn’t seen.”

“Then again, Conor proves everybody wrong, that’s what he does. It’ll be interesting to see what way it pans out.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie