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Friday, September 13, 2019 7:46:32 AM

Age when Ali retired 4 39 — He announced retirement in Jul but fought 2 more times — against Larry Holmes in and Trevor Berbick on Dec 21, What will be interesting to see is how many more matches Mayweather will fight, beyond the remaining four of six in his Showtime deal.

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By Kelefa Sanneh August 18, The Mayweather-McGregor match is filling boxing headlines, but another upcoming fight, between Terence Crawford pictured here and Julius Indongo, will likely be more interesting and meaningful.

Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor have re

The guy in yellow headgear is Paulie Malignaggi, thirty-six, who was an accomplished though not transcendent professional boxer for sixteen years, until his retirement, in March. And the guy in the black headgear is Conor McGregor, the mixed-martial-arts champion, who is scheduled to compete in his first professional boxing match next week, on August 26th, against Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

The video seemed to provide some evidence, in the form of McGregor knocking down Malignaggi.

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Or maybe, as Malignaggi has been claiming quite persuasively on Twitter, what it shows is McGregor pushing him down, using tactics that are allowed in mixed martial arts but against the rules in boxing.

Even so, the video did its job, which was to give viewers reason to hope, and perhaps to buy: the fight will cost a hundred dollars, on pay-per-view. In some markets, consumers get what they pay for; in boxing, it is more precise to say that consumers get what they are willing to pay for, which explains why the most consequential or entertaining fights are not always the most lucrative, or the most expensive.

Floyd Mayweather to face kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in Japan

As it happens, though, there is a true and meaningful boxing championship looming, and at a much lower price: this Saturday night, August 19th, on ESPN, Terence Crawford, the dominant figure at junior welterweight a hundred and forty pounds , will be fighting an obscure but worthy opponent, Julius Indongo, in a unification match between two undefeated champions.

From one perspective, the details sound like boxing bureaucracy gone crazy: Crawford is recognized as champion by the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Organization; Indongo is recognized as champion by the World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation. The winner gets to claim all four belts and all twelve initials: W.

In every sense, a championship is much less valuable to a boxer than the kind of notoriety that Mayweather and McGregor have: in boxing, popularity translates into an athletic advantage, because big-name boxers can pick their opponents.

But winning championships is also one way to build the kind of reputation that allows boxers to ignore championships.

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Crawford is beloved by savvy boxing fans—his style is slick but savage, and he has knocked out five of his last six opponents. He had never fought anywhere else until last year, when he went to Moscow to face Eduard Troyanovsky, the I. Indongo took a unanimous decision, which gave him two belts—and which made him a plausible opponent for Crawford.

But Indongo is tricky: aggressive and long-limbed, with a tendency to throw lots of punches, some of them quite strange.

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Many experts now consider Indongo the second-best junior welterweight in the world, behind Crawford. If Crawford nevertheless beats him easily, as the oddsmakers seem to think he will, that will be good evidence that Crawford deserves to be considered one of the best boxers in the world, at any weight.

One of the things that makes boxing so tantalizing is that we have so few opportunities to make judgments like these.

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Even Mayweather, with his decades-long undefeated streak, has competed in only forty-nine boxing matches, some of which were skills-building exercises that functioned more as exhibitions. For instance, Mayweather fought at welterweight a hundred and forty-seven pounds only a dozen times, which meant that figuring out how good he really was required a great deal of extrapolation.

The Malignaggi footage suggests, at the very least, that McGregor is more or less capable of throwing punches, at least for a few seconds at a time. By contrast, Crawford vs.

Pacquiao vs Mayweather

For now, though, Crawford is on basic cable, with a no-name opponent who may well prove tougher than many expect. This fight is neither a spectacle nor a mismatch—bad news, perhaps, for Crawford, but not for the rest of us.

Kelefa Sanneh has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since

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