McGregor vs Mayweather: Not the first crossover fight

The world awaits with baited breath the much-hyped boxing match this Saturday between undefeated five-weight world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and the self styled king of the UFC Conor McGregor.

Most of the focus will be on whether McGregor can successfully transition from the no-holds barred world of the MMA Octagon to the boxing ring and its Queensbury Rules in his bid to inflict a first ever defeat on Mayweather.

The unusual fight has certainly captured the attention of combat sports fans around the world, but it is not the first crossover fight by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, boxers, wrestlers and martial artists have been switching codes for years – with mixed results.

FOX Sports Asia takes a look at some of the most famous crossover fights in recent history.

Muhammad Ali vs, Antonio Inoki

The first crossover fight of note saw the American boxing legend travel to Japan in 1976 to take on pro wrestler Antonio Inoki. Ali earned a whopping $6 million for the bout, but it was a massive disappointment for spectators as Inoki spent most of the 15-round fight on the canvas kicking at Ali’s legs while “the Greatest” landed only five punches throughout the entire contest. It was scored a draw by the judges, but overall it was a hugely forgettable event and one that Ali fans have listed as a lowpoint in his otherwise spectacular career.

Tim Sylvia vs Ray Mercer
Former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia decided in 2009 to test himself in the Octagon against “Merciless” Ray Mercer, a former Olympic gold medalist and multi-time heavyweight boxing champion. Sylvia decided to try and take on Mercer in a punching contest, but the fight lasted just nine seconds as Sylvia stepped in to throw a punch and was knocked out cold by a vicious right hand from Mercer.

Reflecting on his tactical error, Sylvia later said: “That was my stupidity. It was the dumbest thing that I could have ever done. As soon as it was switched to Mixed Martial Arts I should have went in there and took him down and ended the fight in 30 seconds but I listened to his mouth run and I thought I could stand with a heavyweight boxer with four ounce gloves. Obviously, it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to.”

CM Punk vs Mickey Gall

Former WWE superstar CM Punk signed with the UFC in 2014 without any prior fight experience. Punk trained hard for more than a year with UFC veterans and got help from the likes of Anthony Pettis and Tyron Woodley in preparation for his fight against Mickey Gall at UFC 203. But all that prep went to waste as Punk was totally dominated by Gall before being choked out after just 2:14 of the first round.