The two words published on Floyd Mayweather’s Instagram account on Wednesday were all it took to send the sporting world into frenzy.
The August 26 rumble in Las Vegas between Mayweather — boxing’s top-ever earner coming out of retirement with a 49-0 record — and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor will likely be the biggest payday in the history of the sport.
“Bring him over to the boxing world and I’ll show him what it’s like, easy” Mayweather — who has reportedly grossed $700 million in his career — told reporters in January, when speculation first brewed about the matchup.
Forty-year-old Mayweather, who last fought in September 2015 against Andre Berto, will give up an inch in height and two inches of reach to 28-year-old McGregor.
McGregor began as a youth boxer in his native city of Dublin, but has never boxed professionally. The left-hander is known for his aggressive style and counterpunching, earning 18 of his 21 UFC wins by knockout.
“People always think it’s a game or it’s an act,” McGregor — a 6/1 underdog according to bookmakers’ opening lines — said. “I’m just simply the best fighter, that’s it.”
His three career losses — including a March, 2016 fall to Nate Diaz — have all come by way of submission. (He avenged the Diaz loss with a decision victory five months later.)
McGregor announced his signing on Wednesday with an Instagram post appearing to poke fun of Mayweather, showing a split photo of himself and Floyd Mayweather Sr.
Although Mayweather’s father, a former boxer and top trainer, returned to his son’s camp of late, the two were estranged for many years. Mayweather Sr. trained the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton instead. It is not clear whether father and son will be reunited for another bout. Given the two-year build-up of social media sparring between the flashy opponents, the heavyweight purse at stake in this super welterweight bout was simply too much to resist.
“When you’re talking about $500 million projections in terms of financials, it’s the fight that had to happen within the sports industry,” Scott Hurst, MMA expert and co-founder of the website Real Sport, told CNN’s World Sport show.