Sports Pulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Martin Rogers discusses why Conor McGregor is playing with house money in his fight against Floyd Mayweather.
USA TODAY Sports
Rocky Marciano Jr. said his father’s revered career boxing record of 49-0 should not be at risk Saturday night with Floyd Mayweather expected to improve to 50-0 against Conor McGregor.
Marciano called the bout between Mayweather, one of the most skilled fighters in boxing history, and McGregor, the mixed martial arts star making his pro boxing debut, an “exhibition match.”
“No matter what happens, I don’t think it should go towards Mayweather’s professional career (record), win or lose,” Marciano Jr. told USA TODAY Sports Monday. “This fight to me isn’t a true boxing match.”
What makes his father’s 49-0 career record so special, Marciano Jr. said, is he competed as a heavyweight. Marciano won by knockout in 43 of his bouts (87.8 percent) while fighting professionally between 1947 and 1955.
He died in 1969 in a plane crash on the eve of his 46th birthday.
“Heavyweights, most of them, hold the highest knockout percentage for a reason,’’ Marciano Jr. said. “They’re bigger, they’re stronger and one punch can take a heavyweight out.
“So it’s a lot more difficult to stay undefeated than it is for someone in the lower weight class, where it can be more of a type of match where you’re just outpointing your opponent.
Mayweather, who will be fighting at 154 pounds Saturday, has won by knockout in 26 of his fights (59 percent).
But Marciano Jr. said Mayweather has had “an incredible, wonderful, exciting career’’ and that he watched each of Mayweather’s last two fights — victories over Manny Pacquiao and Andre Berto, when Mayweather improved to 49-0 and retired, before coming out of retirement to fight McGregor.
Marciano said he turned down an invitation from friends to attend the fight in Las Vegas and has no plans to watch it on pay-per-view.
“It’s not a fight that I’m interested in,” he said. “I see the interest in it, but I don’t think it’ll be an interesting fight.”