It started out as fanciful idea – one that no one ever thought would really come to fruition. It was just something to talk about, a cool “what if...” scenario to discuss down the pub.
But now it’s really on. It’s happening. Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor is confirmed, it has a date, it has a venue, and it has hype.
The fight will take place on 26 August – which is really quite soon – at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, and will be at the boxing junior middleweight weight limit of 154lbs, UFC President Dana White confirmed.
Mayweather, now 40, is coming out of a 23-month retirement to face the 28-year-old Irish MMA star. He announced the fight with a short video on Instagram.
McGregor was typically cheekier with his announcement. He tweeted “THE FIGHT IS ON”, alongside two pictures, one of himself, and one of Floyd Mayweather Sr. – his opponent’s father – making a little jab at the boxer’s age.
The big question now turns from “Will it ever actually happen?” to “Does Conor McGregor stand a hope in hell of winning this?”. McGregor, with a UFC record of 21-3, has never had a professional boxing fight. Mayweather has had 49 of them, and has won every single one. He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest boxers of all time. McGregor winning this would be a completely absurd outcome.
The bookies agree – most have Mayweather as a 1/12 favourite, and are offering 6/1 on a McGregor victory. Surely the only way the Irishman stands a chance is if he goes all out for an early knockout.
The fight won’t be Money Mayweather’s biggest payday – he’s expected to take around $100 million – still well shy of the astounding $250 million he made from his win over Manny Pacquiao.
“The Notorious” is expected to take a similar, although slightly smaller, pay package – and this will be the most he’s ever made from a fight.
Speaking to SportCenter, Dana White said: "Negotiations went smooth. Floyd is surrounded by some smart people, and we got this thing done. The impossible deal is now done."
We’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get to this stage. McGregor, who was granted a boxing licence by the state of Califonia, is still waiting for his application for Nevada to be completed (although this is a formality).
There was also the issue of Mayweather previously being retired, and the initial reticence of the UFC to allow McGregor to partake, since he is under long-term contract with the organisation and needed their blessing.
While most of the world doesn’t give McGregor a shot, the Irishman believes he can win, or at least that’s what he’s been saying in the press.
Back in March, he claimed: "I'm going to step in there and shock the whole goddamn world. Trust me on that. Look me in the eyes, 28 years of age, confident as a motherfucker, long, rangy, dangerous with every hand. Trust me, I'm going to stop Floyd and you're all going to eat your words. The whole world is going to eat their words."
Richard Sturm, president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts International, which owns T-Mobile Arena, said: "Like sports fans worldwide, we are thrilled that the Mayweather-McGregor fight has been finalized and will take place later this summer in Las Vegas. This will be a sensational event, one that we're all looking forward to in August. It will be an experience for fans that will, once again, prove why Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world."
The fight will be shown on Showtime PPV on the US, and it’s likely to create a huge bidding war between Sky Sports and BT Sport here in the UK.
So is this just one massive, gimmicky, money-grabbing operation, or will we get an actually entertaining fight. The TV box offices will be banking on a hell of a lot of people paying up to find out.