Recently UFC president Dana White and superstar MMA fighter Conor McGregor announced that they have concluded their side of the contract for a boxing match with 49-0 undefeated boxer Floyd Money Mayweather. Negotiations will now start with the Mayweather Team and his advisor Al Haymon.
So now is a good time to weigh in with an opinion on this potential fight. To be honest this fight is more of a moneyspinning extravaganza than a top boxing match. It is still easy to be slightly sceptical as to whether it will actually come to fruition. One thing is for sure, Mayweather is going to want the lions share of the money and Mcgregor may well have to battle against his ego and take less than he feels he is worth if this fight is to be pushed over the line.
As a pure pugilist, Mayweather is one of the best, certainly the best boxer of the last few decades. Some would argue he is up there with the all time best. Regardless, boxing is his domain and he is masterful at it.
Without wanting to dampen everyones excitement for a mega fight event, there are a whole host of top fighters who would realistically beat Mcgregor from middleweight down to welterweight. Golovkin, Canelo, Porter, Thurman, Garcia, Brook, Spence Jr to name a few, would all be expected to deal with Mcgregor with ease.
Top, top fighters have not been able to get near to Mayweather or cause him any trouble. His defensive skills are so good that you can actually remember the punches he has been caught with i.e the hard right hand he took off ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley.
So what makes people believe Mcgregor can win in this fantasy -quickly turning reality-match up?
WEIGHT AND SIZE
One factor is size. McGregor will have massive natural size advantage as he walks around at roughly 170-180lbs. His ability to retain power as he cuts significant weight is proven and he will be banking on his natural advantages to help him cause problems. Conor will also have height and reach advantages and must find a way to utilise them.
Obviously the weight divisions are different between the two sports. 145lbs is the featherweight limit whereas 147lbs is welterweight in boxing. Mayweather has never weighed more than 151lbs on the scales so I would predict he would want the fight to be at 147lbs which he makes with ease even now at his age.
Although Mcgregor has been used to making the 145lbs featherweight limit for the majority of his career, he obviously cuts a huge amount of pounds to make the weight. His last three fights have been in higher weight divisions so he has not had to make the cut since December 2015 and as he approaches the age of thirty he will find it harder and harder to make it as his bones thicken.
Mayweather proved against Canelo just how good he is. Canelo may not have the height of Mcgregor but it is well known he is capable of entering the ring in the 170s even after having to make weight at 152lbs. Canelo couldn’t land all night. Floyd will certainly look to even the size difference by stipulating the weight probably at 150lbs max.
The charismatic Irishman can hit hard with either hand. In particular we all know about the deadly left hand which he seems to be able to land in his sleep but the fact is we don’t even know if he has an effective jab. Additionally, when his creativity is limited to just his punches,will he be as effective?
Also the type and smaller size of the gloves in MMA makes it much easier to break through a guard. Will he prove to be as accurate with boxing gloves against someone so elusive?
There is also the argument that ‘Money’ has dealt with big punchers before. Pacquiao had power in abundance, Canelo had size and plenty of knockout power.
Mcgregor started out in boxing as a teenager and you can see the fundamentals have stuck with him bringing him great rewards. One of Mcgregor’s strengths is his timing, his ability to slip a punch and counter with his left hand. But he will never ever have dealt with someone on Mayweathers level. He messes up fighters timing and rhythm, shows them different looks and will be a million miles from any MMA fighter who Mcgregor has fought in terms of boxing ability.
Mcgregor has been sensational in UFC and there’s no doubting that his standup is his main weopon. However the level of boxing across the board in the UFC is poor. When you look at the punching capabilites of an Eddie Alvarez or Jose Aldo they are no higher than a C level. This is not just about knocking UFC and their fighters by the way. They have good reason not be specialist to be fair to them.
Obviously fighters have to divide there time between the different arts which means less time learning boxing but additionally they simply cannot apply complete boxing principles in the octagon when they have an array of other options to both select from and defend against. It would expose them to being attacked with a leg kick or being taken down.This is one reason UFC fighters do not develop excellent jabs for example relative to boxers.
You could never rule Mcgregor out as a no hoper. He obviously carries a lot of power combined with good timing and the ability to counterpunch as well as height, reach and significant weight advantages, so there are some good aspects on paper in his favour. There is also the fact that Mayweather has been essentially retired for the sport travelling the world. He will be 41 years old and will have been out of the sport for over two years by the time the fight happens whilst Mcgregor is in his physical prime.
However despite all these factors in his favour I would expect a comfortable Mayweather victory. Mcgregor suits being up against a fighter who commits to punches aggressively but Floyd simply will not entertain this. He is too experienced, too smart, and simply too good.
Many people in UFC and boxing say Mayweather is unable to knock anyone out now. On the contrary, if Mcgregor has not gained a level of respect over the first few rounds and depending on the stipulated weight limit for the fight, I believe he may be capable of stopping Mcgregor.