Freelance: Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather— Breaking Down How Both Fighters Could Win
Having UFC lightweight (155-pound) champion “Notorious” Conor McGregor face boxing’s Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. in a boxing super-fight may still be a long way off, but having the worlds of boxing and mixed martial arts clash with the two men, both high-profit draws, representing the sports as a whole is closer to being a reality than it ever was before.
Between both of the giant personalities of McGregor and Mayweather, McGregor is obviously easier for UFC President Dana White to deal with and that was evident when White appeared on (surprisingly) Inside the NBA to announce to the world that he had come to terms with “Mystic Mac” as far as his side of the equation. McGregor described the deal as “record-breaking.” White has now moved on to discussions with Mayweather’s team.
McGregor released the following statement on his official website (per Rolling Stone):
"It is an honor to sign this record-breaking deal alongside my partners Zuffa LLC, The Ultimate Fighting Championship and Paradigm Sports Management," McGregor said. "The first, and most important part of this historic contract, has now officially been signed off on. Congratulations to all parties involved. We now await (Mayweather adviser) Al Haymon and his boxer's signature in the coming days."
The Odds: As the fight still gets closer and closer to being realized, betting odds are coming in. Bovada’s early odds show Mayweather, the greatest defensive boxer and arguably the best overall boxer of all time, as the heavy -750 favorite with the Irishman being the obvious underdog at +475. But how unrealistic is it really to bet on an outcome other than the one all of the combat sports world seems to expect (Mayweather by way of a unanimous decision?)
Check out the fighter breakdowns below.
Why Floyd Beats Conor
Mayweather recently said that he stands a chance to lose to McGregor not just because twelve-year age difference (28 to 40 in favor of McGregor) but because he’s been away from actual competition (his last fight was on September 12.) The McGregor fight was supposed to happen on September 16 of this year but White revealed that the super-fight lost the date to the recently announced “Canelo” Alvarez- “Triple G” boxing bout.
Assuming that the McGregor crossover fight still takes place this year or even as far off as 2018, the fact is that “Notorious” is 0-0 in boxing and that includes him having zero amateur experience. Not only is Mayweather a 49-0 pro, but his first pro fight took place in 1996 (that’s almost two decades ago!) Additionally, BoxRec.com has his amateur record being 84-8!
McGregor will never be good enough to have more than a puncher’s chance after months of training when put up against the 19-year-veteran. Mayweather is just doing what he has been doing for some time in acting as a promoter just like White.
Although boxing rounds are shorter than MMA rounds (3 minutes to 5 minutes with the longest/title fights in boxing lasting 12 rounds—36 minutes to MMA’s 5 rounds, a total of 25 minutes.
Mayweather is used to going 36 full minutes where, although he has had more exciting fights and Mayweather hasn’t had a knockout since 2011, he has only gone the distance (5 full rounds in this case because of his status as a championship/main event draw) in MMA once and he went the standard non-title/non-main event full 3 rounds just once before that.
It could also be argued that (particularly in his second battle against Nate Diaz at UFC 202) he seemed to be tiring in the second and third rounds.
Also, Mayweather is used to wearing boxing’s 16-ounce gloves while McGregor only trains with them and competes using MMA’s four-ounce gloves. This not only concerns the actual strikes, but simply McGregor’s ability to keep his defense (his arms) up to protect his face for, again, a longer amount of time than he’s accustomed to. Reiterating the points made above, McGregor simply will not (ever) have enough time on the calendar to catch up in terms of familiarity of these things when compared to his would-be opponent.
Stick and Move
The reason that Mayweather’s cardio and endurance are so high seems very similar to the great Muhammad Ali’s “Rope-a-Dope” strategy. He makes opponents chase him around the ring like Ali would let his opponents punch themselves out. Mayweather lulls his opponents into a sleepy trance like that of a snake charmer. He may not always pounce on his pray from there, preferring to go the route of being a volume striker—hit and don’t get hit—but he does have the ability.
If McGregor chases him (with the aforementioned heavier gloves he’ll be carrying for an estimated 36 minutes) the MMA star will be in deep trouble.
Why Conor Beats Floyd
The Left Hand
Even though McGregor was wearing light gloves when he knocked out UFC featherweight (145-pound) king Jose Aldo at UFC 194 in just 13 seconds to claim the record for fastest finish in a title fight in UFC history (even beating out “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey’s previous record-setting armbar submission of “Alpha” Cat Zingano in 16 seconds) it doesn’t take away from the fact that doing so in 13 seconds in undeniably impressive.
Freddie Roach, the head trainer previous Mayweather opponent Manny Pacquiao, has even changed his tune about McGregor. After originally saying that the pride of Dublin “wasn’t that good,” Roach acknowledged the obvious in February by admitting that it could only take one shot for him to shock the world, just like he did against Aldo.
Add into the mix the fact that Mayweather is more used to facing fellow orthodox boxers. The UFC’s White said late last month:
“At the end of the day it’s a fight,” White said. “Floyd Mayweather is 40 years old; Conor McGregor is 27 (now 28). Conor’s a big dude. Floyd has trouble with southpaws; Conor McGregor is a southpaw. And Conor McGregor hits like a truck. When he hits you, you know it…So, in no way, shape or form am I saying Conor McGregor wins this fight. I don’t know. But it’s more interesting than people think it is.
I promise you Conor McGregor will hit him. When they fight (Mayweather) will get hit, and it will be interesting to see what happens.”
The Pressure is on Mayweather
To be fair, neither man involved as the core pieces of this possible contest need the fight to happen. Both have made their millions and are set for life depending on how they manage those earnings. McGregor may not even return to MMA when this is all said an done.
However, it was Mayweather that got things started verbally as McGregor seemed perfectly happy as an MMA fighter. It’s Mayweather that looks like he can’t enjoy his retirement, desperate for another cash-grab.
McGregor agreed to the fight verbally almost right away and agreed to it as a boxing match—Mayweather’s area of excellence. Again, if he wins, he shocks the world. If it goes the way of Mayweather, he beat a fellow talkative combat athlete, but with McGregor 0-0, it’s not going to exactly be a glowing highlight of his career beyond money made.
If anything, it will taint Mayweather’s special 50th consecutive victory because it came against an MMA fighter in a cross-over bout.
McGregor has already won the fight in the eyes of many by simply accepting it within the confines of boxing. The only thing the world expects of him now (at best) appears to be just lasting the full 12 rounds—thanks specifically to how Mayweather fights/evades—in similar fashion to the title character in Rocky (15 rounds.)
The pressure isn’t so much on “Money” to win as it is not to lose. If McGregor loses or loses after lasting a whole fight, everything just went according to plan.
Because of that fighting style of Mayweather, he has also gotten accustomed to how things go during his bouts: his complete controlling of the pacing of the fight.
If the UFC’s “Champ-Champ” can show that he has more striking weapons than just his left hand and string blows together without chasing just to land one shot, he could really throw Mayweather off and although it’s a little cliché and already been said, McGregor is younger and would have less natural wear-and-tear.
Still, it’s a matter of: IF…
The Mental Game
In closing, McGregor’s ability on the mic can’t go unmentioned. Both he and Mayweather are masters in this area but the Irishman has gone a step beyond others. There is a common unwritten rule among fighters to bring wives and children into the trash-talk. McGregor did that by bringing up the wife of previously anticipated opponent, Rafael Dos Anjos.
He then called Nate Diaz a “Cholo” (Latin slang for: Gangster) during UFC 202’s build-up, a comment that could be viewed as racist, possibly more so if the Diaz brothers didn’t where there rough Stockton, California upbringing like a badge of honor.
Both men have heard and said probably all the things that can be said, but it’s hard to guess if there is a line McGregor won’t cross. If anyone can break Mayweather, it’s the “Notorious” one.