Ain’t much longer now! We’re just hours away from the year’s most talked-about boxing match. Floyd Mayweather, the greatest of his generation, versus Conor McGregor, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) superstar with grand dreams.
I’ve made my views on the fight clear, but I’ll do the best I can to give proper analysis. Let’s dig in.
Name: Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Record: 49-0, 26 KO
Last Five Fights: Andre Berto (UD), Manny Pacquiao (UD), Marcos Maidana (UD), Marcos Maidana (MD), Saul Alvarez (MD)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton, Oscar de la Hoya, Zab Judah, Jose Luis Castillo (x2), Diego Corrales, Angel Manfredy, Genaro Hernandez.
Name: Conor McGregor
Record: 0-0, 0 KO
Last Five Fights: N/A
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): N/A
BadLeftHook’s Scott Christ believes McGregor’s only chance at victory lies in bucking the traditional forms of boxing in favor of slugging. Jack Slack, among other technical details I never could have perceived, advises McGregor to target the body with straight lefts and use his wrestling experience to shut down Mayweather’s favored clinches.
I’m with Slack, but honestly that’s just the difference between the fight being one-sided and being humiliatingly one-sided. McGregor has approximately six minutes, at most, to take Floyd Mayweather’s head off before “Money” figures him out and starts owning him.
Let’s put aside that Mayweather has 49 professional fights against actual boxers, many of whom numbered among the best of their generation, while Conor McGregor might have had a good sparring session with what’s left of Paulie Malignaggi. Let’s just ignore that. Let’s look at styles.
Not counting the two quality right hands Shane Mosley landed on him, Floyd Mayweather has been troubled by all of two fighters since beating Oscar de La Hoya in 2007: Miguel Cotto and Marcos Maidana. Cotto got to Floyd with steady pressure. Maidana, like Orlando Salido against Vasyl Lomachenko, got to Floyd by being the meanest son of a bitch he could be.
Conor doesn’t have Cotto’s knack for intelligent pressure or his variety of attacks. McGregor may get his MMA knockouts with his hands, but he relies on his kicks to draw opponents into countering range. He hasn’t shown a quality jab or any real nuance in his right hand, leaving him with just a single weapon with which to break Floyd’s composure. Not happening.
Maidana accepted that he wouldn’t get many opportunities to land clean shots and thus settled for battering every bit of exposed flesh Floyd offered with as many punches as possible. He also brought to bear every dirty trick he could think of to keep Floyd from chilling in the clinch and defusing his offense. Not only does McGregor lack the cardio needed to rack up enough points or damage with glancing shots, he doesn’t have Maidana’s experience in knowing how to get away with “crafty” stuff on the inside.
Not saying Conor can’t piss off Mayweather in the clinch. Just that he’s going to get caught and warned before he can do any real damage.
Okay, let’s go back to the whole “49 fights against actual boxers” thing. McGregor has never gone 12 rounds outside of the gym. McGregor has never thrown down with boxers who could have defined eras had they not had the misfortune to be in the same generation as Mayweather. There are levels to this.
Let’s pull back even farther, hop into the generic stuff and the buzzwords. Floyd took arguably the second-best counter-puncher of his time, Juan Manuel Marquez, to the woodshed. “Angles?” Manny Pacquiao can throw knockout punches from angles normally associated with people on the wrong end of eight tequila shots and Mayweather still shut him down.
There is no avenue of victory here besides a rapid knockout. And that’s not happening.
Surprisingly, betting on Mayweather by unanimous decision offers about a 3-to-1 return on investment. The bookies are confident that if Mayweather does win, it’ll be by stoppage. I disagree — Floyd will do exactly as much as he needs to ensure the maximum possibility of victory. The man couldn’t even be bothered to stop Andre Berto.
Looking over this, I recognize that it’s rambling, but what more can I say? How much can I actually squeeze out of this? At the end of the day, this is the best professional boxer of the last 20 years against a man making his boxing debut. It’s going to be garbage to watch, garbage to pay for, and leave nothing but garbage behind.
Nobody wins this. Not Conor, not the fans, not UFC. Just Mayweather … as always.
Prediction: Mayweather via unanimous decision
For much more on “Mayweather vs. McGregor” be sure to hit up our comprehensive (and impressive) collection of event-related stories right here.