Later tonight Floyd Mayweather Jr. faces Conor McGregor in what has become a record breaking super fight. Mayweather looks set to earn over $230million for his evenings work while Conor McGregor has to make due with a relatively measly $100million. The questions business owners and marketers should be asking are; how did they achieve such a feat and what if any lessons can be applied to their brands and businesses?

We should start by considering the merits of the fight itself. If this were a fight between the two best boxers on the planet, the record breaking feat might be easier to comprehend. However, although Mayweather, is the most accomplished fighter of his generation, McGregor on the other hand is, well… a complete boxing novice making, his professional debut. Granted McGregor is an accomplished MMA fighter but that is a completely different discipline and while he would undoubtedly dominate Mayweather in an MMA fight, this is a boxing match. A friend aptly described the fight as a fight between a lion and a shark… in the water.

Factor in the fact that we are only weeks away from a genuine super fight between Canelo Alvarez and GGG, arguably the two best middleweight boxers, a fight now completely overshadowed by the Mayweather McGregor fight, you start to appreciate the marketing feat that’s been achieved by the latter duo’s promotional efforts.

Comparing both fights highlights the fact that the extraordinary success of the Mayweather McGregor fight is purely down to marketing. Floyd Mayweather is the best marketer in boxing while Conor McGregor is the best marketer in MMA. The apparent boxing mismatch aside, the sheer marketability and marketing prowess of the two pugilists has made for a compelling event. Perhaps evidence if ever it were needed that success regardless of the business discipline, is not down to being the best but rather has more to do with the quality of a brand’s marketing and its ability to connect with the target demographic.

While boxing purists and aficionados will likely remain indignant, the fight has clearly captured the public imagination in a way no other fight in recent memory has done. Add to that, the fact that this is the highest grossing fight of all time, we have to acknowledge this as an unparalleled marketing success. Perhaps this is an indication of the future of boxing. After all, this has been a long time coming. Gone are the days when boxers fought several times a year purely to determine the best in each weight division. Now elite pugilists fight a few times a year against carefully selected opponents. Their sparse schedules are designed to allow as much time as possible to market their fights, while cherry picking opponents are down to promoters’ desire to protect their fighters and thus maximise their return on investment.

Clearly a future based on marketing and entertainment is unlikely to appeal to the boxing purists. However, fights like Mayweather McGregor are broadening the sport’s appeal and in so doing may well secure its future. Surely that can’t be all bad. Anyway, it’s now fight night, so let’s sit back and hope the steak lives up to the sizzle – evidently a tall order.