Few boxing experts are giving UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor a puncher’s chance to defeat Floyd Mayweather Jr. tomorrow night (Sat., Aug. 26, 2017) live on Showtime pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. After all, the Irishman is making his boxing debut against one of the best defensive boxers of all time.
Still, you would think some respect would be paid McGregor’s way considering “Notorious” is a world-class striker accustomed to exploiting angles and distance. Legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach is smart enough to throw the UFC champion a bone and acknowledge that he may in fact give Mayweather some issues inside of the boxing ring.
“I think we’re going to see a fight,” Roach said Thursday during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “McGregor is coming to fight. He has two arms, he throws his fists very well, he’s got a big left hand, and he’s not a ground guy so much. He knows the ground game, of course, but he also knows boxing because he spars at my Wildcard West (gym), he spars with a couple of my fighters all the time over there, and one of them is a South African champion and won the world title at one time (Chris Van Heerden), so he’s been in with some quality guys. And I know he beat Paulie (Malignaggi) up a little bit.
“[Mayweather] is a very good boxer, yes, but you can’t just count McGregor out completely because one punch can change everything.”
While McGregor had obvious success against former boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi in a highly-publicized sparring session, we really don’t for sure what the Irishman will be able to do to “Money” this weekend in Las Vegas. In order to close the gap with Mayweather, “Notorious” must be unconventional and unlike any fighter Mayweather has ever fought.
“They shouldn’t go try to outbox [Mayweather],” Roach said, “because he has way to much experience, and the thing is, I think for [McGregor] to win, he has to be aggressive, put him on the ropes, if a headbutt or an elbow slip in there, I think he should fight him a little bit rough. He has to try to take Mayweather out of his gameplan. If you let him box, he’ll box your ears off all night long.”
Despite his views on McGregor’s growing chances in the “Money Fight,” Roach is still predicting a unanimous decision victory for Mayweather. But if McGregor is able to land his left hand and give the undefeated boxer different looks than what he’s used to, Roach’s outlook on the UFC champ may ring true.
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