Frank Warren has seen pretty much everything during his Hall of Fame career but the sheer scale of this weekend’s event in Saudia Arabia has taken even him by surprise. Promotion for ‘The Battle of the Baddest’ has been plastered over billboards around the world and tagged onto the front of YouTube videos for months.
There may not be any surprises in the ring this weekend but there should be some spectacular sights surrounding it.
“As far as what’s going on, look at the promos. One of them, within a couple of days nearly 200 million people had viewed it. Look at the amount of promotion. This – and I’m not talking about it as a fight, I’m talking about it as an event – will be the biggest event I’ve ever been involved in,” Warren told 32Red.
“As a spectacle and talking about everything around it, it’s going to be massive. Absolutely massive.
“The undercard is going to be in one ring, then they’re moving to the big building and there will be twenty minutes where they open the Riyadh Season with speeches. Then, the ring is going to come up out of the ground the guys on it.
“Look around the world. In Piccadilly Gardens, the big billboard there is all Tyson. Times Square [in New York] is full of it. They’ve done that in Manchester too and on the Thames, just by Tower Bridge, there are two 9ft statues of the fighters. They’ve had hundreds of cabs in London driving around London with all the livery on. That’s the same in New York, in Tokyo, in Germany. It’s massive.”
The last major crossover fight between boxing and MMA took place in 2017 when Floyd Mayweather stopped ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor in Las Vegas.
Whether it was the meticulous Mayweather covering every possible angle or whether it was a rumour designed to generate even more interest in the perfectly promoted mismatch, it was widely reported that McGregor’s contract included a clause which would see him suffer heavy financial penalties should he revert to his MMA roots and shoot for a takedown or launch a head kick at Mayweather. There isn’t a similar clause in place this weekend.
“It [the clause] won’t be needed because it’s under the rules of boxing. They’re fighting under the WBC rules and the British Boxing Board of Control rules because they’re officiating. The referee will disqualify him if that happens,” Warren said.