Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor. It’s happening whether you want it to or not. Mayweather vs. McGregor airs this Saturday, August 26 with a fight time of 9:00 p.m ET for the PPV, 7:00 p.m. ET for the prelim card on Fox. Anticipate a fight time of roughly 11:00-11:30 p.m. for the main event. We have previews of all the action - here, the big fight itself:
Conor McGregor (0-0, 0 KO) vs. Floyd Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs)
12 rounds, light middleweights (154 lbs)
Where do you even begin to examine this fight? Do you compare the records of the 49-0 greatest of his generation against the debuting fighter? Do you analyze the body language and taunts of each man at the increasingly rough press conferences? Or do you go full Zapruder-film on the now infamous McGregor vs. Malignaggi sparring footage?
That conundrum speaks to the true nature of this fight - it’s a sideshow attraction fight, nothing more, nothing less. And that’s OK. A lot of combat sports has been built on wild and crazy fights. They’ll be here long after Saturday night. But analyzing them is tough.
Let’s start with the obvious question on any fan’s mind - does Conor have a shot here? Many people certainly think so. But they are wrong. Here are the arguments McGregor supporters make, plus the reasons those are not valid:
- Conor will be the bigger, stronger fighter - So what? So was Canelo, and Floyd handled him. So was De La Hoya, same result. Mayweather moved up in weight long ago, and he’s never had an issue with it. It has indeed resulted in a bit less power from him, but that’s it.
- Conor is a southpaw - So what? Floyd fought literally the greatest southpaw on the planet today in Manny Pacquiao, and he beat him decisively. This is not an issue.
- Conor knocked down Maliganggi - So what? The big discussion of that footage was whether or not it was a legit knockdown. My own take is that in an actual fight, that gets called a knockdown or a slip at about a 50/50 rate. It’s right on the edge. But let’s be generous and say it was a knockdown. That means nothing. Knocking down (barely) a retired and not entirely in shape Paulie Malignaggi does not mean you can beat Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao would knock Paulie down too. Kudos for Conor for showing basic skills in there, and kudos to him for at least in a part of their sparring not getting blown away by Paulie. And I mean that - knockdown or no knockdown, he had decent shots land in there, which is good. But good doesn’t beat Mayweather.
- Mayweather is faded - Based on what exactly? The fact that he’s been out of action for two years? He missed two years before when he “retired” in 2007, and he came back without missing a beat. True that he was 30 then and is 40 now, and time takes its toll on everyone. With that in mind, I might question my pick if Mayweather was in there with Terence Crawford here. But again, what has Conor done to show he’s at the level of even a faded Floyd Mayweather?
So, if we take those points in, it’s fair to predict a Mayweather victory. Next question: KO or decision? Most are favoring a Mayweather KO, and it’s understandable why. In his early days, Floyd was a ferocious offensive fighter, a fact that has been lost over the years. Additionally, while Conor dug deep in his Nate Diaz rematch, his cardio has maybe been the tiniest bit questionable at times. Over the course of 36 minutes, can he keep up enough defense to avoid a big Mayweather shot? And don’t forget, Mayweather still can land that shot - ask Victor Ortiz what happened to him when he let his guard down.
That said, I’m going with a Mayweather decision. Floyd Mayweather is a smart fighter. And if there’s a way for him to lose here (a big if, but if), it’s by getting reckless, going for the KO, and letting Conor brawl. The smartest move for Mayweather is to be his usual defensive self, force McGregor to fight a Floyd Mayweather fight, and then humiliate him. Will some view that as a McGregor victory? Sure. But what does Floyd care? He still wins, he still goes to 50-0, and he retires. Let people complain all they want.
OK then, will something crazy happen? No. Dana White has stated that McGregor has it built into his contract that if he attacks Floyd using MMA techniques, he sacrifices a large portion of his purse. Additionally, the Mayweather camp has stated they would file a lawsuit in such a case. McGregor is making huge money here - he’s not going to throw it away.
Fine then, last question - doesn’t this mean the fight might be boring? Well, yes. And if it is, isn’t boxing dead? Nope. People said they would never buy another Mayweather fight after the over-hyped and ultimately boring fight with De La Hoya. Then he fought Canelo and they all watched. Then people said they would never buy another Mayweather fight after the over-hyped and ultimately boring fight with Canelo. Then he fought Pacquiao and they all watched. And again people said they would never buy another Mayweather fight after the over-hyped and ultimately boring fight with Pacquiao. And now they’re watching again. And is it over-hyped? You bet. And will it ultimately be boring? It’s highly possible. And will people watch again if given the opportunity? You know it.
Prediction: Floyd Mayweather by Floyd Mayweather style decision
Join Bloody Elbow Saturday night for live fight night coverage of Mayweather vs. McGregor.