Freelance: 20 Things You Need to Know About The Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Fight
Does it feel like you’ve been riding the Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. train for far too long? You have. The two combat sports stars having verbally sparring for more than two years. Now, whether fans like it or not, the about has been finalized and this set to become one of the weirdest, most memorably, possibly greatest or worst, boxing super-fights of all time. Get all you need to know including betting info so that you are the real winner.
20. How Did We Get Here?
McGregor had taken the world by storm in July of 2015, appearing on TBS’ late-night talk show Conan with host Conan O’Brian just prior to having won his first UFC championship at UFC 189 against Chad “Money” Mendes on July 11, 2015. McGregor simply said that he would take on Mayweather in boxing if the opportunity came about.
Not to long after, Mayweather responded by saying that McGregor was loved for his wealth-cherishing, cocky personality because he was white. McGregor would issue the pugilism icon a warning regarding the matter in January of 2016.
The two would trash-talk about fighting styles and age, etc…before McGregor would announce a pseudo-retirement that stemmed from wanting to spend less time do promotion in order to train and then not being the main event of the UFC 200 pay-per-view. Rumored negotiations for the Mayweather clash would heat up in May.
ESPN has a complete timeline of their two-year war of words here. Essentially, this fight is an extension of the very question that launched the UFC and MMA in the first place: What style is a better style of fighting? Except now the question is: Is an outside from a “jack-of-all-trades” sport better than possibly the greatest single-disciple fighter at that discipline.
Although it’s not like Ali vs. Anoki in that McGregor agreed to compete under boxing rules, this is still a style-against-style debate for simple bragging rights and while hardcore fans on both sides may refuse to watch or be a part of what is largely a media creation, others are drawing their line in the sand.
In a single sentence, what this is will be can’t-miss television, but more than that it is a can’t- miss moment in sports history.
19. The Tale of the Tape: Just How Big is the Gap?
Age: Mayweather is 40 while McGregor is 28 (he will be 29 years old when the bout occurs on August 26, 2017.
W-L-D: Mayweather is 49-0-0, 26 KO/TKOs in boxing (also referenced below) while McGregor is 0-0-0 but 21-3 in MMA with 18 KO/TKOs)
Height: 5’ 9” to 5’8” in favor of McGregor
Reach: 74” to 72” in favor of McGregor
18. Why Mayweather Could Win
Mayweather has a style similar to that of Muhammad Ali’s “Rope-A-Dope” plan of attack: while some fans might not like that he hasn’t actively engaged in bouts to make them more exciting, expect the crafty veteran to use defensive fighting to lull his opponent to sleep, to tire him out like the “Rope-A-Dope” would do.
McGregor also seems to tire in his UFC bouts that go beyond the second round (but more on that later.)
17. Why McGregor Could Win
Everyone seems to be under estimated his power. Everyone also seems to know to look out for his left hand, so he’s been developing his right according to Skip Bayless of Fox Sports. A key for him will be energy conservation and to not chase Mayweather.
It is also highly public that Mayweather has had issue in the past battling southpaw (left-handed) fighters, of which McGregor is one. Stance switching is also increasing in popularity in MMA and since McGregor’s left hand is going to be scouted, he could do his best to surprise the former “Pretty Boy” with right hands instead.
16. McGregor’s Track-Record
McGregor is a for UFC interim featherweight and featherweight (145-pound) champion. When he won his lightweight title (see below) he became just one of three men in UFC history to win championships in different weight divisions and was the first to ever hold belts simultaneously. Although, he has yet make a single UFC title defense.
15. Mayweather’s Track-Record
“Money” had a decorated amateur career before winning a bronze medal for Team USA and turning pro in 1996, where he was defensive perfection inside the ropes. He won major titles in the super featherweight (130 pounds,) lightweight (135 pounds,) light welterweight (140 pounds,) welterweight (147 pounds), and light middleweight (160 pounds) in addition to minor titles as well.
14. McGregor Does Have Boxing Experience
This is true as he began training at Crumlin Boxing Club with two-time Olympian Phil Sutcliffe serving as his mentor. Training partners included Dean Byrne and Jamie Kavanagh. The two would later go on to train under Manny Pacquaio’s head trainer Freddie Roach and McGregor would win an Irish youth title, although McGregor does not yet have an amateur or pro career boxing record on the books that could be found at the time of this writing.
He would then move on to the Celtic Warrior Gym where head coach Packie Collins said, “he comes down here and he can hold his own with world champions. I won’t name names but, the last time he was up here a very good boxer of ours couldn’t make head nor tail of what Conor was doing. He has what appears like a kind of chopping movement when he strikes and he doesn’t use a traditional stance, so this guy just couldn’t time him at all.”
13. and 12. Motivations for McGregor and Mayweather
This is a cash-grab on the part of both men plain and simple. However, for Mayweather the fight appears to also be an attempt to stay relevant by taking on a fighter from another discipline and shocking the world given the age difference.
In addition to a payday McGregor’s goals seem to including transcending his sport of MMA by taking anyone, anywhere, any time and at any weight. He may have gotten the conversation going first way back in July of 2015, but from the beginning Mayweather has openly shown no interest in MMA, so no matter how stupid some may think his quest is, “Notorious” mainly just wants to prove that he can beat the best in the world at his own game.
11. Mayweather’s Future
All available information (including a statement from Mayweather himself back in May of 2016) has this being a one-off fight for him. McGregor is the only man he wants at this time and then it should be back to a life of leisure for the boxing legend.
10. Will McGregor Return to the UFC?
Yes. UFC President Dana White said the following to the media yesterday:
“In the conversation that I had with him, he’s fired up for this fight and he’s excited to fight again and defend his [UFC] title by the end of the year. Nothing is a guarantee. You can’t be guaranteed anybody’s ever going to fight again.
The reason that this fight is so big and the reason that he’s such a huge superstar is becomes this guy will fight anybody, anywhere, any time. He’s going to step in and fight Floyd Mayweather under boxing rules. These are the reasons people love this kid.”
9. Mayweather’s Inactivity and 8. McGregor’s Inactivity
Mayweather last competed on September 12, 2015 while McGregor last fought at UFC 205 on November 11, 2016. He also got his boxing license in November but has also recently become a father for the first time during his hiatus from the octagon.
The upside in this is that the two have had plenty of time to train for the other and having been doing so since before the fight was even close to a reality. However, for Mayweather this will be far less challenging, like riding a bike, when compared to the challenges the Dublin native will face.
7. Match-Up Details
White confirmed yesterday the super-fight will be contested at super welterweight/junior middleweight (154 pounds in boxing.) McGregor is 1-0 at lightweight (155 pounds in MMA) successfully defeating champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in New York’s Madison Square Garden in November of 2016.
Mayweather has one a plethora of titles in multiple divisions, his last one being welterweight (147 pounds in boxing.) The bout will be a full-length contest (12 rounds, 36 minutes.) At most McGregor competes in five-round UFC bout which last up to 25 minutes. He has only gone that distance twice, although he’s scored 19 career finishes.
The two sides will meet in the middle when it comes to glove weight, agreeing to wear 10-ounce gloves on fight night. The fight will also be taking place in “The Fight Capitol of the World” known as Las Vegas, but will not take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
White also confirmed the larger T-Mobile Arena, the home of the UFC (there’s a sign to prove it) will serve as the venue. It holds a boxing/MMA and overall capacity 20,000 people.
6. A War on a Microphone
You can’t talk about either a Mayweather or McGregor fight without talking about the mental warfare aspect of the fight and while the trash-talk has been fairly elementary thus far, McGregor is the more well-spoken of the two men and Mayweather has a history of domestic violence. Depending on what’s in McGregor has in his contract, that may be a weapon to use.
Mayweather has either heard or said everything you can think of in this regard, but the only man to really not be affected by McGregor’s mic work has been Nate Diaz. If Mayweather doesn’t limit his exposure to the “Champ-Champ”, he could get under Mayweather’s skin quickly.
5. Mayweather’s Striking Figures
It’s common knowledge that Mayweather will have more experience going into this fight with a flawless record of 49-0-0, but he has just 26 wins by way of knockout (a rate of 53 percent) and hasn’t had a KO since 2011. He instead has since favored a slow, methodical, defensive style of fighting—preferring to out-point his opponents while they chase him.
However, some feel that due to the veteran’s experience with lasting 36 minutes and McGregor’s inefficient use of energy in his 2016 loss to Nate Diaz that the fight won’t even go to the scorecards. The Odds per CBS Sports as of June 15, 2017: YES +125 (5/4), NO -175 (4/7)
4. McGregor’s Striking Figures
McGregor has a better knockout percentage of 86 percent (a 21-3-0 record with 18 KO/TKO wins.) Comparing MMA striking and boxing striking is like comparing apples and oranges due to the fact that completion-ready UFC/MMA gloves are only four ounces compared to up to 16 ounces in boxing, but the figures are what they are.
3. Who’s the “A-Side”?
This has been a debate for as long as the beef between the two has gone on. As of yesterday’s official fight announcement, the fight is be promoted by Mayweather Promotions and The Money Team of Mayweather’s side, is being broadcast by boxing stalwart Showtime Pay-Per-View, and there is no UFC promotional efforts present at this time aside from also announcing the fight as many other outlets have.
As of June 13, 2017, McGregor has earned just over $9.5 million over the course of his career while Mayweather has earned $700 million before his second retirement in 2015 after the Berto fight. His current net worth as of January is $340 million.
Who do you think the “A-Side” is?
2. Estimated Pay-Per-View Figures
There is a contractual clause at play here that prevent either man from discussing their purses, but some time ago, the figure of $100 million had been thrown around the media. Mayweather’s last blockbuster bout against Manny Pacquiao was not just a $600 million fight, but the first night in the overall history of sports to bring in that amount according to Forbes.
Per The Sun of the UK (originally from Showtime,) the Mayweather-McGregor showdown now has a gross figure of $1 billion attached to it. The pay-per-view broadcast price has not been announced publically at this time, but has been agreed upon by both sides.
1. The Main Odds
The younger Irishman will be the underdog no matter what sportsbook you are using, but at the time of this writing (June 15,) Mayweather is currently the -500 favorite while McGregor is the +350 underdog per Bovada.