Former IBO welterweight title holder Chris Van Heerden has lifted the lid on his recent sparring sessions with UFC star and former youth boxer Conor McGregor.
‘The Heat’ was called upon to go some rounds with McGregor in a taster session for the ex-MMA champion in regards to a possible fight against Floyd Mayweather and Van Heerden was in no doubt who came off the better.
“To me personally, it was about proving that I can stand up with the best in the world, whatever the code,” Van Heerden exclusively told World Boxing News.
“It also answered a question to me about a pro MMA fighter measuring up to a champion boxer and I’m afraid I’d have to say the answer is no.
“Sparring is about learning for me, but obviously, Conor doesn’t have as much experience as me. Yes, it was fun and had its good moments – plus Conor can box in his own way, but I controlled every round of the session.
“As a fighter and a champion, Conor has my full respect. I respect any man that gets in the ring to fight another man one on one, but I personally would advise him to do what he does best and stick to MMA. Especially when going up against someone like Floyd Mayweather who can make even the best boxers look bad.
“At the moment, Conor lacks the professional boxing technique – but saying that – he would probably beat up a lot of boxers in his own weight class on his physical strength alone. You cannot take a dangerous fighter like Conor for granted, and if he does fight Floyd, there will still have to be a certain level of caution from Mayweather.
“I take nothing away from McGregor and he’s a true warrior for what he has done and continues to do for the MMA and the UFC, so it will be interesting to see where he goes from here. He’s also a true gentleman outside the ring and was a pleasure to spend time with in the gym.”
Mayweather v McGregor is rumoured to be going down anytime between September and December depending on which of the whispers you believe at the moment, although Van Heerden, like many in the sport, is in no doubt about which way the fight goes if they do sign on the dotted line.
“Mayweather is the best boxer around so there’s no way I can say Conor could survive in Mayweather’s world, but then again, could Mayweather survive in Conor McGregor’s world? – I don’t think so.
“If the fight happens, it’s obviously going to be on Floyd Mayweather’s terms, so now that I’ve had the experience from a boxer’s point of view, I’d have to say that no MMA champion ever beats a boxing champion at his own rules – period.”