Most boxing fans didn’t believe the Mayweather-McGregor fight would happen, largely because Floyd’s widely known as the best of his generation.
Oh, and Conor isn’t a boxer. After both camps agreed to a contract in June 2017, the hype machine fired up, fueled by an endless supply of trash talk. The hype seems to have worked its charm, convincing people to believe that Conor has a chance.
Tyson Fury seems to be the only pro boxer who believes Conor will win, hardly a ringing endorsement. Nonetheless, Mayweather vs McGregor odds have trended towards Conor. Do not be fooled: Floyd’s the overwhelming favorite, and Conor needs a minor miracle if he expects to challenge one of the greatest ever defensive boxers.
The Difficulty of Counter-punching A Counter-puncher
Many of Conor’s most devastating boxing strikes have been counterpunches landed on opponents who extend themselves too much, leveraging over-aggression into an advantage. Within the realm of MMA fighting, Conor’s one of the best stand-up combatants in the octagon.
Against Mayweather, a superior defensive boxer and fellow counterpuncher, this strength becomes a liability. Floyd has no problem patiently waiting just outside of optimal range for his victims to overcommit or make a tactical error.
During the past half-decade, Mayweather has faced boxers far superior to Conor’s striking skills, including Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Marcos Maidana and Miguel Cotto. None of these competitors were able to catch Mayweather with significant blows, and it’s incredibly unlikely that Floyd will expose himself or commit a significant mistake.
Floyd has only touched the canvas a couple of times during his entire pro career. One incident was incorrectly labeled a slip, while was more due to Floyd needing a break because of a damaged hand. Earning an “inside four rounds” KO appears next to impossible given these facts, and Conor’s going to require an unexpected weapon to have the smallest chance of tagging the champion.
Conor Can’t Utilize His Full Arsenal
There’s no doubt that McGregor would win a street fight between the two. Floyd would have difficulty countering Conor’s array of forearms, elbows and leg kicks, which would open Mayweather up to the Irishman’s most damaging strikes and holds.
The contract for this fight expressly forbids anything outside of the realm of boxing, with a severe financial penalty applied to kicks and other illegal moves. Frankly, this isn’t fair for Conor, who’s put in countless hours to develop the type of well-rounded style that lifted him to UFC championships. But he’s getting no pity from us as that’s what he signed up for. And he’s earning a pretty payday regardless of the result.
Meanwhile, Floyd gets to use all the tricks he’s learned over his 20+ years as a championship prize fighter. Elite boxing happens to be one of the most technical endeavors in the sporting world, creating an oppressive disadvantage for brawlers unaware of crucial minute details.
Fitness Will Present A Challenge
Floyd hasn’t finished a fight before the final bell since he knocked out Victor Ortiz on September 17th, 2011. Throughout his career, Mayweather has dedicated himself to maintaining top fitness, and it shows. He rarely looks like he’s tired or straining during fights, even as they enter the final three rounds.
Conor has never been in a fight longer than five rounds. His average is just over five minutes a fight, and the Irishman displays overt signs of fatigue as bouts wear on. Compare this with Mayweather, who averages more than 33 minutes per fight.
Part of Floyd’s strategy will revolve around letting Conor tire himself out, while keeping an eye open for obvious openings. If this fight proceeds past four rounds, there’s a very good chance McGregor won’t be able to generate the power needed to stop Mayweather.
Conor McGregor Knocked Out… During Sparring
Even Floyd doesn’t believe it happened, but reports have surfaced of Conor getting knocked out during sparring sessions. Mike Tyson hit the deck during sparring before he lost his shocker to Buster Douglas, an eventual precursor to the fall of Iron Mike.
Sparring partners have gone as far as releasing YouTube videos of practice sessions, ostensibly showing the difference between a boxer and MMA fighter. Either way, getting knocked around regularly by sparring partners further reveals why Conor McGregor is an extreme longshot to win his fight against Floyd Mayweather. And rest assured, this is a longshot you don’t want to back.