Khabib dictates the terms, Mayweather will fight in Moscow – Russian boxing chief (VIDEO)
Khabib Nurmagomedov is a bigger draw than Floyd Mayweather and will dictate the terms of the pair’s potential megafight, which will take place in Moscow in front of 100,000 fans, according to Russia’s boxing chief.
A potentially record-smashing matchup between Nurmagomedov and Mayweather has been touted ever since the UFC lightweight king submitted Conor McGregor in Las Vegas on October 6 – then called out the undefeated boxing great by declaring “there is only one king in the jungle.” Mayweather upped the ante by telling promoters to “get the checkbook out,” before calling on Nurmagomedov to “make it happen.”
The Dagestani fighter appears to be doing just that, posting an Instagram message on Tuesday of a meeting he held with the general secretary of the Russian Boxing Federation, Umar Kremlev, along with the message: “We want the fight in Moscow, at the legendary Luzhniki Stadium. We’re sure that we will attract 100,000 spectators and set a world record for PPV sales."
After the declaration of intent from Nurmagomedov, RT Sport spoke exclusively to Kremlev about the plans to lure Mayweather to Moscow – with the Russian boxing chief vowing the fight would be the biggest in history.
"Khabib asked about my opinion on the fight with Mayweather. I said that first of all, we’d support him, and secondly if he prepares (properly), he’ll win…the interesting thing is that it would make history, it would beat all records," Kremlev said.
The boxing boss said that the fight would take place in front of 100,000 fans at Moscow’s hallowed Luzhniki Stadium, which recently underwent a $400 million facelift for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where it hosted matches including the opening game and final.
A Moscow fight would also allow Nurmagomedov’s father and trainer, Abdulmanap, to be in his son’s corner – something he was deprived the opportunity of in the Las Vegas showdown with McGregor after being denied a US visa.
“[Khabib] wants his father to participate. We’re interested in organizing the fight in Moscow for our fans. It won’t just be the fight of the year, but the biggest fight in history,” Kremlev said.
“If this fight’s in Moscow, and if his dad is in his corner, there will definitely be victory [for Khabib].”
Mayweather, 42, has signaled that he wants the bout to happen in Las Vegas, which he has made his backyard during his glittering career.
The last time ‘Money’ fought outside Nevada was in 2005, and he has never fought professionally outside the US.
However, Nurmagomedov is facing suspension from the Nevada state authorities over the post-fight brawl that marred his victory over McGregor, and has had his $2 million fight purse withheld - meaning he will need to lure Mayweather away from Sin City.
Russian boxing chief Kremlev in any case dismissed the notion that the US star was the ‘A side’ in the negotiations, instead asserting that the leverage lies firmly with Khabib.
"The thing is Khabib doesn’t need Mayweather. Mayweather needs Khabib to have this fight. Today Khabib is much more popular than Mayweather. So obviously Khabib dictates the terms. That says it all. So the fight will happen in Moscow, at Luzhniki."
Kremlev predicted that the fight would be watched by “billions” of fans around the world – and is confident that a consensus could be reached with US broadcasters to bridge the time difference issue.
“Of course it would beat the pay-per-view record, there’s no doubt about that, not only the pay-per-view record, but revenue records, and in terms of popularity among fans.
“When Khabib fights, everyone watches… the whole world won’t sleep, they’ll watch this fight…
“If it’s in Moscow, everyone will manage [with the time difference]… It’s not important, the main thing is that Khabib agrees. He’s already willing.
“I think we can find a consensus with the US broadcasters… Why? Because the whole world is waiting for this fight,” Kremlev added.
He promised that Nurmagomedov – who stands 27-0 in professional MMA – would “100 percent” beat Mayweather, who retired with an unblemished ring record of 50-0 after defeating McGregor in their money-spinning Las Vegas matchup in 2017.
“If he keeps [Mayweather] on the ropes, Khabib can possibly win after the fifth or sixth round. Maybe by knockout… maybe on points… But Khabib will win in any case,” the boxing chief predicted.
Moscow is calling, and the ball is now firmly in Mayweather’s court.
Over to you, Floyd.