What began as a ridiculous rumour is now a certainty – Conor McGregor will face Floyd Mayweather in a traditional boxing match. There will be no combination of rules, the two men will face off, likely in Las Vegas, in a standard boxing ring and Floyd Mayweather will be given the platform to do what he does best one more time. This is a circus act that none of us should buy, but we all will.
The obvious thing to consider here is that Floyd Mayweather is the potentially the greatest defensive minded fighter to ever lace ‘em up; Conor McGregor is not a great boxer, he’s not even a good one. Now I don’t want this article to sound one sided – In terms of an MMA style, McGregor is a great boxer. The way Conor slides in an out of range, and slips punches with ease before firing back with his slick counter punching is extremely impressive, and I haven’t even mentioned ‘that’ left hand which put both Jose Aldo and Eddie Alvarez to sleep (and countless others before them). The issue here is that MMA boxing doesn’t hold up in an actual boxing match – McGregor is used to firing in punches from a wider stance and from range due to the fact he has to be weary of potential takedowns coming back his way; in boxing that just won’t work. A traditional MMA stance would mean that McGregor would be wide open if timed correctly and there are few more well equipped fighters to read and time their opponents than Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather.
I’ve previously heard people saying ‘but if McGregor lands on Mayweather…’, but there are several reasons as to why that’s a very big ‘if’. Firstly, McGregor has been on a knockout spree in the UFC, Diaz fights aside that’s impossible to argue against. You should first see that other than Holloway, the first person that McGregor didn’t KO was the best boxer he had faced – Nate Diaz.
Aside from that, a huge aspect that isn’t being spoken about enough is the fact McGregor will be forced to wear standard boxing gloves rather than MMA gloves; The gloves are a huge game changer as they remove some force from the punch and also are one of Mayweather’s key defensive tools as he is able to deflect a large percentage of shots away using them as his guard.
Floyd Mayweather boxes to the mantra of you can’t beat him if you can’t hit him; ‘Money’ has fought some of the most dangerous fighters in the world and in his own way, neutralised all of their offensive capabilities. From Gatti, to Judah, to De La Hoya, Hatton and Marquez, add Mosley, Cotto, Maidana, Canelo, Marquez and Pacquiao to the list and you get the point – Floyd has faced far more skilled fighters than McGregor and still had his arm raised after 12 rounds (or less in the case of Hatton and Gatti).
To add to the already unusual fighting style that Conor would be faced with, he would now be puzzled with the infamous Mayweather ‘Shoulder roll’. The shoulder roll is just one element of Floyd’s impeccable defence, but it’s just so effective. For those that are unaware, the shoulder roll has predominantly been used by Floyd to counter Orthodox fighters (which of course Conor isn’t, but I’ll cover that after), he raises his shoulder to protect his face and allows him to sidestep or duck shots and remain close enough to throw counter shots. Whilst in this stance, Mayweather raises his right hand to block shots coming across his face and can brush them off with his gloves or superior reflexes. His left hand remains down by his body to prevent almost any clean shot being able to land on him effectively. However, if Conor stuck with his southpaw style then this may not be as effective, but still it’s unlikely he’d cause Mayweather any issues – Manny Pacquiao is heralded as the greatest southpaw of his generation and still struggled to land a glove on Floyd.
In conclusion, this fight is a total mismatch, you only need to watch the sparring footage between Conor McGregor and Chris Van Heerden and that will show you all need to know about the Irishman’s boxing credentials. The fight makes sense for both men, of course it does, it’s a gigantic payday for both and relatively risk free; For Floyd it’s an easy nights work, and for Conor he loses no credibility for losing to the best boxer of an era. There is worldwide interest in this for the fact that it is essentially a freak show for want of a better expression – it’s unusual and something we’re unlikely to see again (hopefully). The fight would almost certainly be a PPV and as I said before, although nobody should be forced to pay for this spectacle, it’s projected to be the highest grossing pay per view of all time.