THROWBACK: Floyd Mayweather KO's The Big Show At WrestleMania 24
It is being billed by some as the 'Fight Of The Century', but let's face it, Floyd Mayweather coming out of retirement to fight Conor McGregor on 26th August pales in comparison to Money's 2008 no holds barred clash with the Big Show at WrestleMania 24.
Much has been made of last night's announcement, mainly by people who cannot believe that Floyd Mayweather, the greatest boxer of his generation, is going to eclipse Rocky Marciano's 49-0 record by schooling a bloke who's never boxed professionally, for 12 rounds. And be paid somewhere in the region of $100 million or more for doing so.
That being said, let us remember that nine years ago, Money swapped one squared circle for another and decided to dedicate a few months of his life to preparing for a big money battle with another non boxer.
Only this non boxer was seven feet tall and weighed as much as a fucking transit van.
This non boxer was Paul Wight aka the Big Show. A multiple time world champion within WWE and WCW, Show made his return to the world of sports entertainment at WWE's No Way Out Pay-Per-View in February 2008 to rather hilariously destroy Rey Mysterio, a legendary lucha libre cruiserweight.
However, before Show could begin tossing Mysterio around like a wet flannel, Mayweather, who Show had been taunting before the attack, hopped the guardrail and, within a minute, had fucked up the giant's entire world with a combo of shots that splattered Show's nose across his face and resulted in Mayweather and his entourage running for freedom through the crowd and into the arena car park.
Speaking to SPORTbible about the angle during an interview last summer, Big Show remembered, "I told Floyd before that he had to break my nose, otherwise we were going to be dead out there.
"So Floyd gets in the ring after I've done the deal with Rey and I get down on one knee and all of a sudden these punches hit me and it wasn't until I watched it back that I realised just how many times he hit me. It was like a bomb going off.
"I thought he'd caught me with a couple of blows, but when I watched it back it was so many more. I warned Floyd before we did that angle that as soon as he hit me he would have to run for his life as I knew I wouldn't react well at all. I think he ended up getting in his car and driving away from the arena."
The angle would set up a no holds barred match between the two at WrestleMania 24, serving as one of the main events of the WWE's biggest show of the year.
So, on 30th March, 2008, in front of an announced crowd of 74,635 at Orlando's Citrus Dome, Floyd Mayweather, the greatest boxer of the modern era, went one-on-one (plus his entourage) with a seven foot giant.
During the build up to the fight, reactions had been mixed, with some wrestling fans not entirely sold on Mayweather getting involved in their world and boxing fans wondering why the biggest draw in their sport was putting himself in such unnecessary danger. Well, the several million dollars that Vince McMahon deposited into Mayweather's bank account probably answers that last question.
On the night, though, both men delivered and delivered big. Positioned after the triple threat match between Randy Orton, Triple H and John Cena for the WWE Title, it was obvious just how much stock the McMahons were placing in this bout and Mayweather's nothing if not a big fight performer.
POW! Right in the kisser. Image: WWE
Playing the unfamiliar role of a good guy, Mayweather took a huge amount of punishment from Big Show, who also sold all of his pugilist opponent's offence masterfully.
Mayweather's entourage interjected themselves into the match, because this is professional wrestling, so of course they did, and it only added to the spectacle of what was an immensely satisfying brawl.
In the end, Mayweather ensured his undefeated streak extended into the scripted sporting world, putting Show down for the count with a brass knuckles assisted blow to the jaw.
The Wrestling Observer most aptly summed up the bout, writing, "This match was so much fun live. This was so far and away better than anyone had any right to expect. Floyd was great, and as noted elsewhere he had an awesome time and was saying he wanted to come back. He also got good reviews and was said to be super cool to everyone all weekend."
When you're trying to put a chinlock on your opponent but you end up looking like his scarf. Image: WWE
As has been customary throughout Mayweather's career, the numbers the show produced (which wasn't entirely down to Mayweather, obviously, with Ric Flair's hugely emotional retirement match with Shawn Michaels also on the card, alongside Edge defending the World Heavyweight Championship against The Undertaker in the main event) were record breaking.
The show drew 1,058,000 pay-per-view buys, grossing a record $23.8 million in revenue, while also bringing in $51.5 million into Orlando's local economy, more than double what was estimated ahead of the event. The $5.85 million generated in ticket sales was also a Citrus Bowl record.
So, while Mayweather's exhibition with McGregor on 26th August may generate an arseload of pay-per-view buys and ticket sales, is it really going to come close to recapturing the grandeur and the spectacle of Mayweather playing David to Big Show's Goliath in front of over 70,000 people at WrestleMania?
Featured Image Credit: WWE