Confidence has never been lacking in the Conor McGregor camp. While power and skill have been key aspects of the Irishman’s game, unrelenting self belief has always been the core. As such, it’s no surprise that McGregor’s team – and more particularly his head coach – would be feeling pretty good about their fighter’s chances heading into his debut boxing match, against all-time great Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In fact, to hear Kavanagh tell it on a recent edition of the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, there are really only two outcomes he’s considering for the August 26th bout in Las Vegas, NV. Either Floyd Mayweather comes out defensive, as he tends to, and gets KO’d in round six, or he comes out aggressive and gets KO’d in round 1 (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“When the two of them walk to the middle, one of them has to take a back step. If Floyd takes a back step, which I believe he will, then I predict round six,” Kavanagh said. “That’s my prediction on it. I think for the first five rounds, he will back up, he will lie on the ropes the way he does, he will cover up and try to just absorb, and try to wear Conor down. That’s how I think he’ll approach the fight.
“If he doesn’t take a back step, and we’ll all see it — we’ll all see their feet, we’ll all see who walks backwards — if he walks forward and exchanges, it’ll be a one-round fight. It’ll be over in a minute. Because he’d be fighting in such a way that’s not normal to him, he won’t have had time to develop the skillset for an aggressive exchanging fighter. Like I said, I didn’t know a lot about Floyd before this, but I did watch his fights for his defensive work. So for him to go in there and try to trade with Conor and not walk backwards, would be so alien to him but so normal for Conor — that’s exactly what Conor’s the best at — he’ll be unconscious in a minute.
“But I think he skips to the middle,” Kavanagh continued, “I think he has his classic hand position, Philly Shell hand position, and he’ll feint and throw a jab or something, Conor will walk forward, [Mayweather will] back up, and he’ll aim to just pot-shot, cover up, cover up, pot-shot, clinch, pot-shot, and just try to get through the first couple of rounds. As I believe that will be the case, that will be the scenario, I think round six, Conor’s hand is raised.”
On the flip side, boxing coaches like Robert Garcia, Angelo Reyes, and pro boxer and former McGregor sparring partner Chris van Heerden, aren’t giving the UFC champion much, if any shot at winning. Either way – if the betting numbers are anything to go by – it appears McGregor has plenty of fans believing that he has a good shot at landing one of the most historic upsets in combat sports. Only time will tell.