The mega-boxing fight between Floyd Mayweather and his British counterpart Conor McGregor, who is also a UFC champion, will mark a watershed in boxing/martial arts history but both heavyweights are believed to be fighting their innermost fears at the moment.
On 28 August, Mayweather (the undefeated boxing legend) will square up with his equally solid opponent at the T-Mobile Arena.
Apart from the American boxer’s “controversial loss” to Bulgaria’s Serafim Todorov in the semi-final match of Atlanta 96′ Olympics, he has never lost any professional match in 20 years.
Meanwhile, the Irish UFC champions is a king in the world of mixed martial arts. He has also suffered just one loss.
McGregor’s latest victory in March 2016 was a 13-second KO against Jose Aldo.
Speaking in a recent interview, the Irishman said: “I have lost a match in my career.
“I can say it and I can own it. And I have come back and I have learned from it and I have taken it for what it is. It is an experience to grow from. It is a test of your mind and how strong you are.”
“If you get me, you get me, and I will stand up and shake your hand and say ‘fair play’ and I will get you next time,” McGregor continues, making reference to his rematch with Diaz, who was rated higher in status.
“I am not the kind of man who is deterred by setbacks in life. You show me someone who has never had a disappointment and I will show you someone who was not brave enough to challenge themselves and try for difficult things.
“If I hadn’t lost to Nate then maybe I wouldn’t be as strong in my head. Little things in my overall game would not have been fixed. My stamina and my approach to all that would have been different.
“That is the character of a man. You look at yourself in the mirror and work out how to get better and then you go out there and you put in an insane amount of work and you do it.”
Nonetheless, the world is waiting to see either of the warlords emerge victorious after Saturday’s fight.
Will that be Maymoney or McGregor? Both of them want the belt but only one can have it. One thing we know for sure, however, is that they hate defeat with passion.
Mayweather turned professional in 1996 and has recorded series of hard earned wins except for a “widely contested” victory over Jose Luis Castillo in 2002, a fight most observers believe the former should have lost.
At that time, the American boxer refuted claimed that the loss to Serafim could have a long-lasting impact on his self-confidence but he denied it saying, “We all know I got ripped off. It’s time for me to turn professional. I can’t deal with amateur boxing anymore.”
Mayweather later admitted that his defense was more of a lie. Shortly before his fight against Robert Guerrero in 2013, the 40-year-old champion recalled that his failure in 1996 was the reason he fought harder for success, adding that it had been a powerful motivator.
“I am happy with how it turned out,” he said.
“Gold medals don’t put money in your bank. It didn’t feel good at the time but it is not something I think about a lot now.
“When something like that happens, you don’t want it to happen again. I felt like something had been taken away. I knew I didn’t want to have that feeling again, and I haven’t. That’s why I control my career, and I control my destiny.”
It feels good to know that both Mayweather and McGregor have tasted defeat in their amazing careers. It feels even better that although one is rated higher above the other, defeat and fear are no respecter of kings.
Hard work, perseverance, self-control, tactics and determination will all come to play when both champions clash on Saturday.