Hollow Ring

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  • Title: Hollow Ring: Race, Spectacle, and the Mayweather/McGregor Fight
  • Author(s): Jared Walters, Taylor McKee
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Sport & Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Sport and Society
  • Keywords: Race, Boxing, History, Spectacle, Commodity
  • Volume: 10
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2152-7857 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2152-7865 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2152-7857/CGP/v10i01/39-48
  • Citation: Walters, Jared, and Taylor McKee. 2018. "Hollow Ring: Race, Spectacle, and the Mayweather/McGregor Fight." The International Journal of Sport and Society 10 (1): 39-48. doi:10.18848/2152-7857/CGP/v10i01/39-48.
  • Extent: 10 pages


The notion of what constitutes a “race fight” is a complex and multivalent issue, not simply relegated to “black” versus “white.” The Mayweather/McGregor fight that took place on August 26, 2017, constituted one of the most profitable pay-per-view spectacles in history. However, despite the way race within the Mayweather/McGregor fight was mediated, the question of race in this fight is more nuanced and worthy of serious academic attention. This commentary establishes a partial typography of American “race fights” throughout history and argues that the Mayweather/McGregor fight was primarily a “commodified spectacle” and not simply a representation of black versus white in the boxing space. For the purposes of this article, a “race fight” is an event that is deliberately conceived and promoted and with the intention of exploiting racial difference. As such, a “race fight” does not necessitate two fights with different skin colours. Rather, a “race fight” consciously contests notions of racial identity within the boxing ring. This article argues that the Mayweather/McGregor fight does not fit the traditional typography of a “race fight,” as exemplified throughout boxing history. Race in the sport reflects the politics of the time. Mayweather/McGregor, while an example of a racialized space, is not a reflection of the politics of race but, rather, a commodified spectacle of wealth and excess.