Not in the dark old-fashioned way but by signing on to box the biggest attraction in mixed martial arts, while knowing all along that Conor McGregor could never be articulate enough as a novitiate in the hardest game to smudge his legacy.
So it was written. Over ten rounds, one minute and five seconds in which the maestro encouraged the pupil to express himself at the start. Then took him to school. Finished by giving him a caning for his impertinence.
Then went with him to the bank to collect their spoils. In round figures, a hundred million dollars for The Notorious Irishman, three times that for the Money man.
It all made for good reading. ‘We’re going from the fighting stage to the counting stage with my accountants,’ said McGregor.
‘Scripted,’ said my cab driver. But risky. It relied on McGregor being brave and sufficiently educated in the nuances of boxing to make enough of a fight of it that the rich and famous celebrities who filled most of the eye-wateringly expensive seats would feel they had got most of their money’s worth.
He played his part to perfection. McGregor threw himself into a surprise winning of the first three rounds. Then took his punishment until, as I had suggested, it ended when Mayweather wanted it to end.
Early enough to be sure that nothing would prevent the 50th victory which took him one clear of Rocky Marciano’s historic high-water mark of retiring undefeated at 49-0.
‘Marciano was a legend,’ said Mayweather graciously after that anointing. ‘I am grateful to him and all the other great boxers who paved the way for me to be where I am today.’
The records kept shattering. The first $80 million live indoor gate for boxing even though the ticket prices kept empty 5,000 of the 20,000 seats which might otherwise have been filled by Irishmen and women, many of who came all this way to watch on closed circuit television.
The first $600 million fight. Maybe more. Mayweather says: ‘I came from a hard place. When I first arrived in Las Vegas my eyes popped upon when I saw the signing –on cheque. It was for $100,000. I’d never seen so many noughts. It looked like a hundred million to me.’
So now Money Mayweather ascends to the pantheon. Not because his boxing genius bedazzled a fighting Irishman skilled in a different combat discipline. Not because he landed the knock-out he wanted to be his final statement. Not because he was so adroit at selling this pack of suspect goods to the public at so high a price.
Not even because his collaboration with McGregor turned the potential for a fiasco into an evening’s entertainment. There still was some farce amid the drama but those elements can enliven theatrical occasions. Which is what we witnessed, rather than a meaningful contest.
Although within that framework Mayweather was able to make amends for what he concedes was ‘that boring super-fight’ against Manny Pacquiao.
That, and along with it protection for boxing from UFC gloating had he lost, was achieved by the way he elected to nullify a danger man.
Having cemented the latter half of his career in impenetrable defence and pin-point counter-punching, he decided at the last to close down both ring and opponent.
The taller McGregor found his own punching hobbled by this clever aggression and his head and body exposed to draining assault at close quarters.
Ironically, for the first time come his last fight, chants of ‘Money, Money,’ filled a hall. Fiasco was averted, a circus illuminated by thrills.
‘What fun,’ said the quixotic McGregor, despite getting the worst of it as the worlds of boxing and UFC collided under Queensberry Rules.
He had kept to most of them, only occasionally lapsing into MMA instincts. When that happened he was quickly brought to book by referee Robert Byrd, who came to his rescue as he sank, gasping and wobbling, under bombardment on the ropes.
Having won those three opening rounds on the card of myself and the most observant of the three judges, he lost the next six.