The following is an article based on the upcoming fight between Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather and Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor, which will be held on August 26 th , 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Boxing purists are disgusted, McGregor fans are delirious, and regardless of your opinion of this fight it will be one of the biggest combat sports events of our generation. Even those dismissing the fight as a farce have begrudgingly admitted that they will still be tuning in on the night (or morning for us Irish fans).
It is the fight that has sports fans of every discipline interested, and even those who have never followed combat sports have found themselves caught up in the hype. This article is designed to be accessible to those who have little or no prior knowledge or understanding of either boxing or MMA, and will also feature some reaction and predictions from myself and some of my fellow combat sports enthusiasts.
First, a quick background on the two fighters:
“I’m only human. I’m not perfect. God only made one thing perfect – my boxing record.”
(Floyd Mayweather Jnr, 2016).
Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather was born on February 24 th 1977 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Floyd was born into a family of rich boxing tradition.
His father, Floyd Mayweather Snr was also a boxer, as were his uncles Jeff & Roger. The Mayweathers were a dysfunctional family, however, with Floyd Snr admitting he supported his family by selling drugs in a poverty
stricken area of Grand Rapids.
He spent his nights hustling and his days teaching his son the art of boxing. Floyd Snr was eventually incarcerated due to his illegal activities, and Floyd Jnr has stated that boxing was his only outlet during this time. Mayweather Jnr competed as an amateur boxer all through his teens and also made an appearance at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he won a bronze medal.
He turned professional in October of 1996, and has never lost a fight since.
Floyd Mayweather Jnr is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. ESPN rank him as the greatest pound for pound boxer of the last 25 years and he is widely agreed to be the most effective defensive boxer who has ever lived.
In a professional career spanning 21 years he has fought 49 times and won 49 times, winning 26 of those fights by knockout. He has beaten the very best in the business during this time, including the likes of Arturo Gatti,
Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao.
With the upcoming McGregor bout, Mayweather is seeking to go 50 fights unbeaten, which will move him
ahead of Rocky Marciano as the most successful fighter in history.
“The whole world is gonna’ eat their words.”
(Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor, 2017)
Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor was born on July 14th 1988 in Dublin, Ireland.
He grew up in Crumlin and was educated through Irish language at both primary and secondary level.
He began training at Crumlin Boxing Club from the age of twelve, and following secondary school he decided to pursue an apprenticeship in plumbing. At age 17 he met future UFC fighter Tom Egan, and the two began training in mixed martial arts (MMA).
McGregor had his first fight as an amateur on February 17th 2007 where he defeated Kieran Campbell inside
the first round. Following this bout he decided to abandon his apprenticeship and focus on MMA full time. He joined Straight Blast Gym (SBG) and was introduced to John Kavanagh.
This would prove to be a pivotal development in the young man’s career. McGregor honed his skills in different MMA events from 2008 onwards. He began to develop a small but fervent cult following in Dublin and was signed to the UFC by Dana White in February 2013. Since then his trash talk and charismatic character has propelled him to become the biggest star the UFC has ever had. His fights have shattered all pay per view records and turned on a whole new wave of people to combat sports.
In November 2016 he became the first ever UFC fighter to hold titles at two different weight divisions concurrently. He has beaten some of the biggest names in the business including Dustin Poirier, Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, Eddie Alvarez and also Nate Diaz in a rematch (having suffered his first and only UFC defeat in the first bout).
McGregor’s flamboyant behaviour and brash attitude have now successfully landed him the biggest fight in combat sports history. His jump from mixed martial arts to boxing will make him the wealthiest Irish sportsperson of all time, and regardless of your opinion of McGregor, his accomplishments in such a short space of time are worthy of commendation.
Now that we have a brief background of both fighters, who will be victorious?
McGregor understands the importance of psychological warfare better than anyone else.
Mayweather was notably irked during some of the press conferences and you can expect this to continue over the next couple of weeks.
I don’t think Floyd has ever dealt with anyone quite like Conor. McGregor is the king of trash talk. The lack of respect that Mayweather has been shown is extraordinary, but all calculated carefully by McGregor. In what was dubbed ‘The Fight of the Century’ between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, the two fighters remained extremely respectful of one another throughout the build-up. The press conferences were actually quite boring, and there was little or no psychological warfare used.
In contrast, in McGregor’s last UFC bout, he mentally bullied and weakened Eddie Alvarez long before the fight began. I can remember watching a press conference a week before the fight and thinking Alvarez was already beaten. Dana White recently stated that psychological warfare is equally as important as the fight itself, and I would have to agree. Psychology aside, can McGregor outbox Mayweather? Absolutely not. As mentioned earlier, Mayweather is the most gifted defensive boxer of all time.
Some of the greatest fighters of the last 20 years have gone 12 rounds with him and failed to land even one significant blow. McGregor will not win this fight by a points decision, his only chance is to knock Mayweather out, which will be extremely difficult but not impossible.
If you watch the Mayweather v Ricky Hatton fight from 2007 – Hatton came out aggressively and had
Mayweather wobbling after a strong left hook in round one. If McGregor manages to land a similar left hook Mayweather may well hit the canvas. Floyd will be patient and will continue to counter-punch in a similar fashion to the Pacquiao fight. He will hope Conor will grow more desperate and more frustrated and leave himself open to counter attacks.
It is a tried and tested technique that Mayweather has adopted even more heavily in recent years.
I am going to go against my best judgement and also against the grain here. Mayweather is 40 years of age and hasn’t fought in two years. McGregor is young, hungry, and most of all unpredictable. He will approach this fight in the only way he knows how – aggressive and on the front foot. He will not hide. His unorthodox technique will be something Mayweather is unprepared for, and I can see McGregor causing the biggest upset in sports history.
Verdict: McGregor by KO inside four rounds.
It was Ambrose Bierce who dubbed the lottery ‘a tax on people who are bad at maths’, a system which allows those who know better to take advantage of those who don’t.
As a sporting endeavour, Mayweather-McGregor falls somewhere in that neighbourhood, its integrity within the athletic sphere adjacent to Michael Phelps’ recent race against a shark.
And yet, what this fight lacks in competitive intrigue it more than makes up for in its enterprise.
That two bottom-strata men have jumped over the breadline and into the richest sporting event ever will be the topic of sociology lectures for years to come. Given that this week has seen studies estimate the level of brain trauma among NFL players at close to 99%, who are we to criticise any sportsman for maximising their income at all costs?
For that reason I’m happy to contribute my €25 to the coffers. After all, much like watching the movie remake of a book you’ve already read, knowing the storyline doesn’t preclude you from enjoying the special effects.
Verdict: Mayweather via TKO. McGregor to land zero headshots with ‘that left hand’.
What do I think of McGregor vs Mayweather?
Like all things in life if there’s enough money for something it will become a reality. From a sporting point of view (MMA or boxing) it is a complete circus.
However, from an entertainment point of view it is absolute gold! The press conferences alone were spectacular! It goes without saying that in a straight up MMA fight McGregor would crucify Mayweather within ten seconds. A straight-up boxing match is where it gets interesting.
People talk about how McGregor won’t touch Mayweather, how Mayweather will absolutely school him, but they don’t talk about the obliteration of every single opponent McGregor has faced in the UFC on his way up the ranks (with the exception of Nate Diaz in the first fight).
McGregor has beaten some extremely good fighters, including Jose Aldo, who was the
reigning 145lb champion for ten years. He also easily defeated Alvarez, another fighter they said was untouchable.
McGregor made extremely light work of these fighters, and how did he do it? That left hand!
Boxers who have faced Mayweather have approached the fight as any boxer would, and this is where McGregor will differ. He’ll throw things at Mayweather that he will not expect (and I don’t mean flying leg kicks). This will put Mayweather on the back foot. Then he’ll unload one of those magical left hands and that’ll be it!
My prediction is McGregor knocks the old man out in the third round and becomes the greatest fighter of
Verdict: McGregor by third round KO.
Most likely, the least entertaining thing about this spectacle will be the fight itself.
When you wade past all the hype and marketing, one of the greatest boxers of all time (who has never even been knocked down in the ring) is fighting a man who has never participated in a professional boxing fight.
Previous hybrid fights – which is essentially what this is – have been almost universally underwhelming failures, such as when Muhammad Ali took on a wrestler named Antonio Inoki.
Mayweather has outclassed many world class boxers, is an excellent businessman, and always chooses his fights carefully. Why take a huge risk against boxers of the calibre of GGG, Canelo, Brook or even Khan at this stage of his career (having turned 40 and being inactive for two years) when he should comfortably dispose of McGregor – and make far more money in the process.
‘Money’ wants a final payday and the perfect 50-0 record, and will surely secure both unless we witness one of the biggest sporting upsets of all time.
There is a lot to admire about Conor McGregor. His meteoric rise has been exhilarating, and while he certainly possess a formidable left hand, this fight is a step too far even for him.
The best he can realistically achieve is a wide points defeat.
Verdict: Mayweather by KO.