Conor McGregor vs Jeff Horn? It actually makes senseWritten by Lee Cleveland
Manny Pacquiao is interested in executing his right to an immediate rematch with Jeff Horn but will forego the "immediacy" part.
Due to his obligations in congress, Senator Pacquiao cannot commit to fighting in November and has deferred his return bout with Horn until 2018 leaving Team Horn is in a precarious state as it must now find a suitable opponent for Jeff to face prior to the Pacquiao rematch.
Who will the newly-crowned WBO welterweight champion face in the interim?
Enter Conor McGregor.
Yes, Horn vs McGregor would anger many among boxing's hardcore fraternity. After all, how does a fella who is 0-1 as a boxer deserve an opportunity to face a world champion?
Answer: He doesn't. However, that fight would generate a lot of interest and revenue, and would make sense for both guys.
Let's face it, McGregor received tremendous kudos for his effort against Floyd Mayweather even if Money May was purposely holding back in an attempt to deliver a show.
Conor's stock actually rose after the Mayweather fight.
So, why does McGregor vs Horn make sense?
1. World Title - Unlike Floyd last weekend, Jeff Horn isn't 40 years old and owns a world title. An upset of Horn wouldn't make McGregor a legitimate boxing champion because the fight would likely take place at jr middleweight but it would be a remarkable and historic feat should Conor win.
2. Horn's visibility - Fighting Conor McGregor would certainly raise Horn's visibility worldwide. The former might be a household name in Australia these days but despite defeating Manny Pacquiao earlier this summer on ESPN, Horn isn't mainsteam in the US or Europe.
Should they fight and Horn starches McGregor - as he should - Jeff would become a worldwide sports star and his purse potential would skyrocket. Moreover, it would make the Pacquiao superfight in 2018 even bigger.
3. Money - Obviously Horn vs McGregor wouldn't generate the revenue of Conor vs Floyd but it might be able to surpass any potential match-up for Conor in UFC. Keep in mind, McGregor's highest UFC purse to date is a presumed $8-$10 Million and it's likely only one UFC opponent (Nate Diaz) could produce comparable returns.
4. You're easy - Neither fighter probably considers the other a risk. Team Horn certainly believes their man can defeat a novice while Team McGregor likely thinks their man would be the favorite based on his performance against Floyd.
5. Down Under - UFC has held events in Australia before, but a massive crossover fight 'Down Under' would enable to the organization to further extend its reach in a different part of the world.
6. Manny Pacquiao - Such a fight would be a no-lose situation for the promotional entity Top Rank. Should Conor win - and he probably won't - the UFC star could face Manny Pacquiao in yet another superfight next year. If Horn wins, the enhanced visibility he generated from defeating Conor would make the Pacquiao rematch a much bigger, higher grossing event.
7. A McGregor loss - A respectable loss to Horn would probably end Conor's boxing ambitions but wouldn't - or shouldn't - diminish his brand much in UFC.
There are a few pitfalls to Horn vs McGregor this fall so don't expect it to happen.
1. UFC contract - McGregor is still under contract with UFC and company brass wouldn't be thrilled about the possibility of its biggest draw being knocked out in back-to-back bouts versus boxers. Moreover, if Conor boxes again while under UFC contract, the revenue would have to be great enough to ensure UFC a profit. Could Horn vs McGregor generate that kind of money?
2. WBO - Conor can't make welterweight (147) so the bout would be contested at 154lb. As a result, Horn runs the risk of failing to make a title defense. Such a move could cost him his WBO belt.Moreover, Horn's belt wouldn't be at-stake if they fought.
If it make dollars, it make sense... And if the money is right, Horn vs McGregor isn't outside the realm of possibility.
"If we could get McGregor, that would be great," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said via BoxingScene.com.