At the start of the first round of the Mayweather-McGregor fight, I had flashbacks of November 8th. It felt as if I was reliving election night all over again. I remember constantly checking my phone for updates. Each time I refreshed the page, there was only more bad news to be shared. Another state went red as a four-way stop sign. Donald Trump was in the middle of surprising the world. I had completely ruled out the possibility of him being elected. I was certain that the Deep State, the Tri-lateral commission, the Bilderburg Group and any other shadowy entities pulling strings from behind the curtains would never allow such foolishness into the Oval Office. And boy was I wrong. I remember the overwhelming feeling of dread that left my stomach free falling into a dark abyss with no sign of a bottom to hit. I was shocked. The uncertainty for the future left me in a numb disbelief. “Trump is actually going to be the President of the United States,” I muttered to myself as I sat at the edge of my bed. It felt as if America was reverting back to a more brutish and overt form of white supremacy from generations before. The impossible happened that night and the tiny cynical voice in my mind asked if could it happen again?
McGregor came out aggressive and awkward. For the first three rounds he was winning the match. His boxing style was odd. I was reminded of the Pacquiao-Horn fight. Horn was unorthodox. He was scrappy. And he was white. Maybe this would be another upset where the judges side with the underdog. Images of Connor McGregor’s arm being raised after a split decision and the entire MGM Grand in pandemonium flashed before my mind.
This fight definitely had an obvious racial undertone to it. McGregor’s casual racism was on full display during their press conferences. He called Mayweather a boy and told him to dance for him. He referred to Black people as monkeys. He even insinuated that he was Black from the belly button down. Given the racial situation of the country–for better or for worse–Floyd now represented the plight of Black America specifically and POC’s in general. Many POC’s all across the country were rooting for Mayweather for no other reason than to see the white guy lose. Sure white supremacy is fully functional and operates at all levels of our society. Yes, it occupies the highest positions of power in America. But symbolically it could be defeated–even if it’s only for one night. And Floyd was to be the shepherd guiding us to this ephemeral promise land. I kept thinking to myself with the election of Donald Trump, Charlottesville, and the recent pardoning of Joe Arpaio, white supremacy has been having a banner year. The last thing we need is McGregor winning too. I couldn’t bear to read Richard Spencer’s tweets gloating about the so-called superiority of the “master race.” How much more fuel would be given to the neo-nazis and white nationalist if McGregor came out on top? This PTSD was starting to get the best of me.
But then the tide rapidly shifted and the momentum leaned heavy for the Money team. Mayweather went on the offensive. McGregor began to run out of steam. By the 7th round, it was obvious that Mayweather had this in the bag; each punch he landed served as an affirmation to POC’s everywhere that white supremacy has never been invincible. By the 10th round it was done. My homies and I let out a primal roar of victory, bellowing deep from our stomachs. Secretly, I was able to let out a sigh of relief.
It goes without saying that Mayweather remains problematic. Domestic violence is something I can never condone. I also haven’t forgotten the ignorant remarks he made about Manny. But on August 26th, I rooted for him nonetheless.
Now Mayweather is retiring with a perfect record of 50-0. McGregor is $75 million richer. POC’s everywhere can walk into work this week with a sense that they won too. And thankfully biggest surprise of the night came from a du-rag cladded Russell Wilson throwing up two dubs like he just finished listening to the both discs of All Eyez on Me.