By Ian S Palmer
Undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. of Grand Rapids, Michigan takes on UFC fighter Conor McGregor of Ireland this Saturday, August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The 12-round super welterweight bout can be seen on pay-per-view in North America and on Sky Box Office in the UK. Mayweather hasn’t fought since he beat Andre Berto by 12-round unanimous decision on September 12th, 2015. Mayweather is a multi-time and multi-division world champion while this is McGregor’s pro boxing debut after spending his career as a mixed martial artist. Both boxers have agreed to wear eight-ounce gloves.
Mayweather is now 40-year-old and enters the ring with a perfect record of 49-0 with 26 Kos. The last time he tasted defeat in a boxing ring was as an amateur back at the Summer Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta. Looking at the tale of the tape, Mayweather stands 5-feet-8-inches tall and has a 72-inch reach. He’s fought 387 rounds since turning pro back in 1996, including 264 world championship rounds without losing too many of them. Mayweather’s fought so many rounds because he’s basically an elite boxer and not a KO artist as his knockout ratio of 53 indicates.
Mayweather possesses all of the tools of an elite boxer except power at the moment. His last stoppage came back in 2011 when he dropped a defenseless Victor Ortiz in the fourth round when Ortiz attempted to touch gloves with Mayweather in the middle of the ring in a sporting gesture. That turned out to be a huge mistake as Mayweather clocked him. It was legal, but arguably unsportsmanlike. His last legitimate knockout came back in 2007 when he stopped Ricky Hatton of England in the 10th round.
Mayweather’s defence, chin, and ring generalship is second to none and this guy knows how to adapt in the ring. He’s one of the smartest boxers of his and any other generation, but doesn’t really like fast-paced action from bell to bell. He’s beaten the absolute best of his era including Berto, Ortiz, Hatton, Manny Pacquiao, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Oscar De la Hoya, Arturo Gatti, Jose Luis Castillo, Diego Corrales, Jesus Chavez, Angel Manfredy and Genaro Hernandez.
McGregor is 11 years younger than Mayweather at 29. He’s 5-feet-9-inches tall and has a 74-inch reach, which gives him a one-inch advantage in height and an inch disadvantage in reach. The native of Dublin has been active in mixed martial arts since 2008 and has a record of 21-3 with 18 wins coming by Ko and three by submission. All three of his losses have been by submission. McGregor’s the biggest pay-per-view attraction in UFC history and has won title belts at featherweight and lightweight in the organization. He also knocked Jose Aldo out in just 13 seconds for the quickest UFC title win ever.
There’s not really much else to say about this fight other than to analyze it really. McGregor possesses some boxing skills, but nowhere near the level of Mayweather’s. The eight-ounce gloves will benefit the speed and power of both fighters and these two intangibles are arguably just about equal. McGregor has good power while Mayweather also has it, but doesn’t utilize it as much as he should. Their hand speed is also arguably equal as well. As far as defence goes, Mayweather is second to none and has a solid chin while McGregor’s are both definitely questionable.
Not only is McGregor making his pro boxing debut, but he’s also doing it against one of the best boxers in history who has yet to be beaten. That’s a huge mountain to climb for anyone, let alone a relative boxing novice against a certain hall of famer. There is no way McGregor will outbox Mayweather, but he could rock him of he catches him on the button, which is easier said than done. But most of all, fans should remember this is a fight and punchers always have a chance, no matter how minimal they are.
Forget about all the pre-fight hype, expert opinions and leaked videos, this is a contest between two opponents with both of them having the physical attributes to win it. It’s hard to predict since a boxer facing a UFC is as rare as snow in Vegas. It seems the only chance McGregor has to win this fight though is by stoppage while Mayweather could win via points or knockout. If I was McGregor I’d simply go hell bent for leather at the opening bell, let my fists fly non-stop and take my chances. He’s got nothing to lose other than pride and the $75 million or whatever he’s making will help him deal with that. Just enjoy it for what it is and don’t be surprised by any outcome unless a miracle happens and McGregor outboxes Mayweather, who should be favoured here.