On the one hand, there is the long-anticipated fight between unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez, the former world champion, who vacated his title and now aims to reclaim it.
It's the best fight that can be made in boxing. It features popular figures, both with skills, power and crowd-pleasing styles. They are a combined 86-1-1 with 67 knockouts. It's a match between two of boxing's elite pound-for-pound fighters.
On the other hand, there is the freak show -- the return of the great Floyd Mayweather from nearly two years in retirement to face UFC star Conor McGregor in a junior middleweight boxing match that is as big of a mismatch that has ever been made. It puts Mike Tyson-Peter McNeeley to shame on that front.
Mayweather is a 49-0 all-time great, the best of his era, but taking on an opponent with zero boxing experience making his pro debut. It is a pure money grab, though it will be a fun promotion -- right up until the bell rings, when it probably will be an utterly forgettable fight. If McGregor lays a glove on Mayweather it'll be news. If he wins, it will be the biggest upset in sports history.
But as Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs), Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) and their teams hit the road this week for a three-city media tour that began Monday in London, hit New York on Tuesday and moved to Los Angeles on Thursday -- with a side trip to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, on Wednesday to make appearances on various TV shows, they have been asked not only about their fight but also about the freak show since only three weeks separate the fights.
Mayweather-McGregor will take place Aug. 26 on Showtime PPV. GGG-Canelo is on Sept. 16 on HBO PPV, and both will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
"If you want to watch a true fight, a true boxing fight, like a classic fight, welcome to Sept. 16th. If you want to a watch show -- like, I don't know, a business show, a comedy show -- Floyd is Floyd. Conor, he is a very good fighter but he's not a boxer." Gennady Golovkin
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya, a vocal critic of Mayweather-McGregor before it was even finalized, was not happy it was placed three weeks in front of the fight he is promoting.
"It was disrespectful. I would have thought [UFC president] Dana White would have a little more respect with this boxing event taking place," De La Hoya said. "You just don't do that. It's like having the Super Bowl and then three weeks later the World Series takes place, the final game. It just doesn't happen. We have the whole year to stage these big events. They could have staged it in November or December, but it is what it is. We have a super fight. We have a real fight."
That is what De La Hoya and the fighters kept coming back to -- they have the real fight, not a sideshow or, as Golovkin has called it, "a funny show."
"As a fighter I'm not really interested in watching it because McGregor has no experience in boxing and we all know what's going to take place," said Alvarez, who lost a one-sided decision to Mayweather at age 22 in 2013. "It's going to be an easy one-sided boxing match for Mayweather, so I'm not really interested."
Alvarez said fans interested in true competition rather than a one-sided spectacle know where to find it.
"I think the people know if they want to see a sideshow, they'll see that fight, but if they want to see a real competitive fight -- a real fight -- they'll go ahead and buy my fight with Golovkin."
When Mayweather-McGregor is mentioned, Golovkin often rolls his eyes and gives a little laugh before addressing it. To him, there is no doubt which is the more interesting fight of the two.
"This fight is the real fight, the middleweight fight that the fans have been clamoring for for a long time. If you take a look at the history of the middleweight division with Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Bernard Hopkins, and now you have Canelo Alvarez versus Gennady Golovkin, they are bringing boxing back to the glory days. That's all that matters." Oscar De La Hoya
"If you want to watch a true fight, a true boxing fight, like a classic fight, welcome to Sept. 16th," Golovkin said. "If you want to watch a show -- like, I don't know, a business show, a comedy show -- Floyd is Floyd. Conor, he is a very good fighter but he's not a boxer."
Would Golovkin take time to watch Mayweather-McGregor?
"I don't know, maybe if I have time," he said. "Maybe I'll go and play hockey with my son."
Although some believe the placement of Mayweather-McGregor just three weeks in front of Canelo-GGG will adversely impact the business it does, De La Hoya and Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler have tried to downplay that. They have the benefit of knowing that they are promoting a serious fight, one fans have begged for over the past 18 months and one that has historic and pound-for-pound significance.
"On Sept. 16, this fight will deliver and then some," De La Hoya said. "This is a real middleweight fight between two fighters who have been boxing their entire lives and something the fans really called for, and I believe will end in a knockout."
Loeffler added, "It doesn't get any bigger than this with the two best middleweights fighting each other. These two superstars have a huge international fan base and when you put them both together the event becomes much bigger. When the training camp video comes out, the hype will keep building and building once everyone sees these fighters in their prime. Team Gennady feels very confident as does Canelo. Both fighters wouldn't take the fight if they thought they wouldn't win."
There are few who expect anything less than a high-level, competitive and exciting fight. De La Hoya, who was in many of those kinds of fights during his Hall of Fame career, is one of them. He said the fight will do just fine even if it is competing for fan attention and money with the freak show so close to it.
"I'm not concerned about it. This fight is the real fight, the middleweight fight that the fans have been clamoring for for a long time," De La Hoya said. "If you take a look at the history of the middleweight division with Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Bernard Hopkins, and now you have Canelo Alvarez versus Gennady Golovkin, they are bringing boxing back to the glory days. That's all that matters. This is the icing on the cake."