What was first thought of as a bad idea is happening after all – the clash between Mixed Martial Arts’ (MMA) biggest star and Boxing’s greatest – “Notorious” Conor McGregor versus Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. No doubt, these two are the most flamboyant personalities in sports today, not to mention the richest. This is why everybody wants to see them tangle in the same arena.
Mayweather, the undefeated (49-0) best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, is set to face McGregor (21-3), the Irish megastar and UFC’s only simultaneous two-division champion, in a boxing ring at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 26 (August 27, Sunday, 9AM in Manila). The two superstars will figure in a 12-round boxing match in what many perceive to be the biggest fight in combat sports history. Or is it the biggest joke in sports history?
A few years back, there were talks about Mayweather challenging then UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in an MMA fight. As ridiculous as it may have sounded, that fight would’ve been a more interesting one, considering that a female fighter would be the favored fighter over the male. I mean, how long do you think it would take Ronda to take down Floyd. Perhaps five seconds? Then, it’s game over. Floyd’s only chance would be to knock out Ronda as she attempts to grab his legs. But the circus that is McGregor versus Mayweather is clearly one-sided.
Yes, Conor is an excellent striker. And yes, he’s got knockout power. But if you haven’t been in an actual boxing match ever, how can you hope to defeat the greatest boxer of this generation, the same boxer that the other greats of the sport – Juan Manuel Marquez, Saul Alvarez, Oscar Dela Hoya and Manny Pacquiao – failed to defeat? Conor claims he can knock out Floyd within four rounds. He’s always had this idea that no fighter shorter than him can beat him. McGregor proved this to be true versus Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes and Eddie Alvarez, all of whom fell prey to the Notorious’ punching power. The Irishman is about an inch taller than the American boxing icon, and has a two-inch reach advantage. He is also the much younger fighter at 29 years old, eleven years younger to be exact. But even at 40, Floyd remains the very best defensive boxer, maybe of all time. And yes, he has a lot of other tricks to avoid getting hit, like holding and using his elbows to deflect punches. And, he is too quick, even for an ultra quick and aggressive boxer like Pacquiao, as seen in their blockbuster fight in 2015.
Also, as great as McGregor is in striking, boxing and MMA are two very different disciplines. Sure, the current UFC Featherweight and Lightweight strap holder is dangerous with his hands in the octagon. But this is partly because he’s got deadly kicks as well. This means his opponent is also wary about kicks, or even occasional takedowns, that makes him more vulnerable to getting caught by Conor’s punches. But in a purely boxing match, especially against the greatest counter-puncher alive, McGregor will have very limited weapons. Let’s not forget also that he will be using much thicker gloves on August 26.
Another factor going against Conor is cardio. He has been known to lose steam in the latter rounds, like in both of his fights against Nate Diaz. Mayweather, on the other hand, rarely fades in a fight as he paces himself well.
Mayweather gamely comes out of retirement again for this event that he could easily dominate. He told Conor he would take him to school. That’s almost a certainty. McGregor would look like a novice against Mayweather in a boxing ring.
Oscar Dela Hoya tweeted that both fighters are disrespecting the sport of boxing, and it’s a sentiment many in combat sports share, even MMA fighters.
But hey, at the end of the day, both McGregor and Mayweather go home a lot richer than they already are.