I’ll just cut to the chase and say that the Bloody Elbow staff is picking Floyd Mayweather Jr. to beat UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor on Saturday night. Iain Kidd is the exception, but that’s only because he realizes these picks won’t count towards the staff’s final standings, so he’s just picking McGregor for the hell of it.
We hope you enjoy reading our analysis on why McGregor isn’t likely to win.
Anton Tabuena: There’s nothing I would love more than to see Conor McGregor pull this one off and completely shake up the entire sports world. With two years out, and his age, maybe Floyd is a tad slower to react and it costs him early against a bigger guy with good timing and a different approach. I would love to see McGregor overwhelm him with pressure, then eventually catch him with his trademark pull counter to left straight that ends it, but it’s just not a logical thing to predict. I think Floyd will take his time, and Conor will eventually struggle with a lot of things Floyd brings that he isn’t used to seeing, from boxing inside, to his head movement and defense, to his stinging jabs and body shots he won’t even get to react to. I also think McGregor will be very surprised with Mayweather’s power, and I’m not sure how he will handle all those clean shots and body shots he isn’t used to dealing with in MMA. I think once he figures out Conor’s timing, and once he starts seeing that Conor is feeling those clean counters, Floyd will push forward and fight more aggressively, similar to how he fought Canelo.
For all the advantages that people keep listing — youth, size, KO power, athleticism — Canelo had all that plus legitimate boxing skills, and Mayweather still made him look slow and unskilled. I think after a pretty crazy start to this fight (McGregor’s best chance to land something), this will eventually look a lot like that Canelo fight, but with a brutal finish. I hope I’m wrong and Conor drops and finishes him during the early madness, but instead this will most likely be Mayweather’s first finish in years. Floyd Mayweather by TKO.
Mookie Alexander: In effect, the analysis used to support McGregor’s chances beyond “puncher’s chance” is merely a modified version of “six months sprawl training.” Conor can box and I think he’d be built up as a contender type of fighter had he committed specifically to boxing and not MMA. But beyond that, what are we really breaking down here? Does Jermall Charlo, an actual elite boxer at 154 who would knock McGregor out within 3 rounds, not have the same puncher’s chance against Mayweather that we’re otherwise giving McGregor? The entire premise of picking McGregor is, “Hey, he hits hard in MMA and Floyd is old. Maybe this shit works in both sports at a high level.”
Here’s the thing with McGregor: He is an elite MMA striker, with an emphasis on the word striker. McGregor wins with his fists, but a good chunk of his performances feature him setting the tone early and creating the space he prefers through his kicks. Go watch most of McGregor’s fights and he’s throwing spinning back kicks, front kicks, etc. quite often, and that’s what helps set up his knockouts. Chad Mendes gassed out because McGregor relentlessly attacked the body with kicks, and less frequently punches. A key adjustment he made in the Diaz rematch was his increased use of leg kicks. Conor is going into a boxing match, so obviously that’s a major asset taken away.
Other things to point out: McGregor doesn’t have a great jab. It’s improving, but it’s not something he really emphasizes. He’s not known for having much of a killer right hook. I think his uppercuts are quality, and they’re the next best boxing tools for McGregor. We don’t see him working his hands very much as an in-fighter, so that’s an unknown, or perhaps he’s just better working at range.
There are levels to this game. The only MMA-related thing McGregor might be able to utilize is working effectively in the clinch. That’s it. Everything else is just boxing. Straight boxing. That’s it. And Mayweather is better than McGregor. Every top-10 fighter from 147-168 is demonstrably better than McGregor. That’s a fact.
IF Conor knocks Floyd out, it’d be the greatest upset in combat sports history. I reckon it’d be a temple shot or something of that nature. McGregor might win a couple of rounds if/when Floyd starts slowly. The crowd will be amped! But when Mayweather gets in a rhythm, there’s not much you can do to disrupt it. How is Conor going to outcounter the consummate counterpuncher? How will he deal with Mayweather jabbing his body repeatedly, something McGregor just flat out hasn’t dealt with in 95% of his MMA fights? How’s he going to preserve his energy? This isn’t just for Mayweather, this is against even fringe contenders. There’s a skill gap, and I don’t feel like McGregor’s fans or anyone giving him greater than a puncher’s chance understands that.
TL;DR, Floyd Mayweather by TKO, round 8.
Tim Burke: All the analysis in the world comes down to a pretty simple way of looking at the fight. Conor COULD catch him early. Floyd starts slow, Conor starts fast. This happens a lot. But WILL he catch him early? Hell no. This is Floyd Mayweather we’re talking about. I think Conor wins the first, maybe even the second on output alone. He’s going to go in there, try to take Floyd’s head off, and get frustrated. Then he’ll eat lead rights he doesn’t even see coming and counters to the straight left for 10 straight rounds while fans groan about Floyd being “boring”. Too bad, folks. You should have known what you were getting into. Floyd Mayweather via unanimous decision (118-110, 119-111, 118-110).
Nick Baldwin: Whatever. Floyd Mayweather via unanimous decision.
Ram Gilboa: McGregor can’t pick up a 12-round decision here. That much is obvious. But what about a KO? If Money Mayweather, uncharacteristically, decides to take big risks, and entertain the crowd to the point of parody, or if his ego gets the control, and keeps him in the center of the ring, feet planted – and if then the two years of rust will take effect, and he’ll grow old in the ring in an instant, and reacts too slow or just plain wrong, just when the heavier, younger McGregor unleashes the greatest left hand of his life?
Now we’re almost in the realm of science fiction.
The late science fiction great author Terry Pratchett defined Mcgregor’s chances as such: “Scientists have calculated that the chances of something so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one. But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.” Traditionally, Pratchett wrote, someone around the camp would have to say beforehand: “It’s a million-to-one chance, but it might just work!”. And it has to be an exactly round one-in-a-million chance – nothing approximately. On account of that last matter, while the list of people that accomplished million-to-one feats is impressive, the list of people who failed, at comparable adventures, contains a lot more fatalities.
KO/TKO, cuts, injury and DQ considered – McGregor won’t pick up a decision, well, maybe in a billion-to-one event – I give him about a 120-to-one chance of catching and flattening Mayweather. I came up with these exact odds like this: I thought about the UFC champ Conor McGregor beating 49-0 Boxing great Floyd Mayweather in a Boxing match, and I said in my head “No way”, “No way”, “No way”, like this 120 times, until I heard an “Hmm...” - and then another a hundred and twenty “No way”. I acknowledge I might be too dismissive of McGregor’s puncher’s chance. It might be closer to Vegas’, or at-least closer to the initial Vegas’ odds before most of the craziness. But either way, McGregor’s chances here are better than a million-to-one, unfortunately for him. Floyd Mayweather by TKO, round 8.
Paul Gift: A NAC-sanctioned beating that ends in the 7th or 8th round. If I have to pick one, I’ll go… Floyd Mayweather by 7th round TKO.
Phil Mackenzie: The advantage of this... thing... was supposedly that the buildup would be the high point, but honestly, even the promotion has been sad, plastic and forgettable. The two men have little chemistry together, as I suspect McGregor admires Floyd too much to really go after him. In all, it's been tiresome and dispiriting from the moment it was announced, and there are only so many ways you can say "Conor might have a chance because he's going to be so bad at boxing that Floyd might not be ready for how bad he actually is." At this point optimistic pundits have tried them all. Floyd Mayweather by unanimous decision.
Victor Rodriguez: Finally, it dies. It all ends and we will begin the process of wiping ourselves clean of this mess after the sea of post-fight hot takes dies down. This is a garbage-ass fight, through and through, and the only thing worse than the fact that it’s happening is the way that the world around it has become more and more absurd and plainly stupid. This wasn’t a matter of Conor being some insane genius, it was a combination of his accomplishments along with remarkably dumb luck. See, this fight had to happen. WME|IMG is trying to outwork the bank on that loan they took out to buy the UFC. PPV buyrates are down, ratings are in a slump, Rousey’s gone, and even after the performance of a lifetime Jon Jones can’t stop stumbling over his own feet. Oh, but GSP’s coming back, don’cha know? Yeah, he’s fighting for a title in a division he’s never competed in after 4½ out of action. Even then, we don’t know what kind of box office allure he’ll have! Add to that the woes of negotiating a new TV deal and you can see why they’re so urgently willing to make reckless moves for quick cash. But what about TMT? Well, Mayweather allegedly owes the tax man and his ego won’t let him live in peace without breaking Marciano’s record, especially in a fight he wouldn’t bother getting out of bed to train for if he didn’t have the certainty that he could win? How the hell could he not? 49-0 vs 0-0? They should thank whatever goat-headed god that rules over combat sports that this is taking place in Nevada, a state so willing to bow to Mayweather and his ability to make their state (and Las Vegas specifically) a ton of money they literally let Floyd decide when he could go to jail. So we have a situation where MMA’s biggest star gets loaned out to have a boxing match with the company he’s signed to getting a cut, further proving that MMA is more like pro-wrestling than we care to admit. It’s the two most brash and outlandish combat sports stars going head to head, so promoting it should be easy, right?
Well, we started with the god-awful press tour with canned lines, awkward posturing and the inevitable racist, misogynist and homophobia that we constantly and consistently fool ourselves into thinking combat sports are growing out of. The internet went abuzz with opinions on who to cheer against, as if both haven’t shown themselves capable of being terrible people. One defended accusations of racism by simulating sex with black women, gyrating his hips in a grotesque display. The other has a record of beating up black women worse than he does his in-ring opponents. This was finalized this week with a press conference in which a hideous belt was unveiled in what was perhaps one of the finest physical manifestations of modern American greed, opulence and stupidity. Sapphires, diamonds, gold, an entire (!!) alligator’s worth of leather, all for a fight that isn’t an actual championship. Christ, Ted DiBiase’s belt wasn’t that on the nose. The whole thing was just everyone kissing each other’s ass and some of the weakest trash talk. A boring affair punctuated with a roundtable discussion that saw an increasingly flustered Mauro Ranallo attempting to talk Brendan Schaub of the ledge. Schaub appears to think McGregor is some sort of real-life Iron Fist, among other things.
And the hot takes? My god, the hot takes. People that don’t watch MMA that still think Conor’s gonna get himself disqualified with a head kick? Yes, they exist. MMA fans that think that by sheer will and unexplained magic, McGregor will just win… just because he’ll be “unpredictable” and “unorthodox”? Tons of them, even people that are otherwise pretty awesome. And Skip Bayless in vintage form, distilled to the finest essence of making bold proclamations regarding sports he doesn’t watch for an an insultingly high six-figure salary.
That brings us Paulie Malignaggi, an ace boxer that is almost universally loved, criticizing the fight only to join Team McGregor as a sparring partner. Somehow it didn’t occur to him that as the biggest named boxer associated with that crew that he’d be used to make Conor shine. He goes on for weeks about how he was double-crossed with the video footage being released, the temporary living conditions, sparring longer sessions while jetlagged and how McGregor is a snake, all while both McGregor and Mayweather were radio silent for weeks. He got a virtual cuckolding for his troubles and is now shambling aimlessly at an attempt to fight McGregor next. Good luck with that. Blessings be upon Paulie for keeping the hype alive more than either of the actual participants. Ooh! While we’re here, how about that sparring footage!! Brief, selectively edited snippets where an out-of-shape Paulie gets sonned in a session that Dana White claims was a sustained one-sided beating. We can always believe him, right? Because if that really were the case, would anyone put it past the UFC to just, oh, I dunno… show the whole sparring session? You know what we haven’t seen? Mayweather sparring. Not just because there isn’t any major intrigue, as he’s not a novice boxer, but because it’s redundant. We know he’s supposed to obliterate McGregor, so much so that people smarter than me are predicting him to get his first knockout since Obama’s first term. You know that Mayweather footage would have the bookies reaching for their blood pressure medication, because it would tank the hype. I keep having visions of Mayweather breaking both his hands leading to a doctor’s stoppage or being tackled by the IRS on the way to the ring. But no, we have to live in the meanest and stupidest timeline. One in which McGregor tries some cute stuff but gets shut down when he runs out of stuff to pull out of his bag of tricks. Have fun as they out-patient each other in a staring contest full of preening and taunting until Mayweather superstyles on McGregor. Degenerate gamblers everywhere sob into their oatmeal the following morning while Mayweather fans himself with hundreds. Mayweather, a man that would be stripped of world titles and incarcerated for years if there were any true justice in this country, will be richer off the efforts of clueless rubes plunking a solid hundo on PPV (and the big-money grade-A suckers that only go to events like this to be seen) for an unequivocal and abject farce after he jabs Conor’s eyes shut. Floyd Mayweather by decision, and anyone that encourages this should all be ashamed of themselves.
Tim Bissell: Picking the boxer to win a boxing match. Among all the other advantages working in Mayweather’s favour, I think stamina and conditioning will be key factors. McGregor has not proved that he can do what he’s good at over a long haul. I think there’s a good chance he’ll get tired just before the midway point and from that point on Mayweather will stroll his way to victory in the safest and least entertaining way possible. Floyd Mayweather Jr. via unanimous decision
Eddie Mercado: Conor will be making his professional boxing debut against the best boxer of his generation. Yikes! Logic has Floyd taking this inside of the distance, because let’s be honest, Conor has a puncher’s chance, which is also the same chance that you or I have against Floyd (P4P). Floyd Mayweather by KO before round 6.
Lewis McKeever: The fact that this fight has been booked is, in itself, a testament to the unerring self belief of Conor McGregor. But, self belief alone will not be enough to pull off the mega upset against Floyd. Objective reality does exist, and Mayweather is objectively lightyears ahead of ‘The Notorious’ in the boxing ring. I see Floyd stopping McGregor in the first four rounds. I believe he will start teeing off on McGregor after the second round, and a stoppage will soon follow. Then again, the only thing I’m certain of is that there are no certainties in life - especially in the sporting world. Leicester City did win the Premier League in 2015-2016. That did actually happen. If that can happen, anything can. Floyd Mayweather via stoppage
Zane Simon: One of these men is likely the greatest boxer of his era, the other has never boxed before as a professional, ever. That should be the start and end to the conversation, really. Floyd Mayweather by TKO (exhaustion) round 7.
Michael Hutchinson: You read this entire entire article, all the way through Victor’s rant and Ram’s sci-fi comparison. If there’s any doubt still in your mind, I’ll lay it out for you. McGregor won’t win. If you think that prediction is disappointing, then I’ve prepared you for the disappointment you’ll feel Saturday night. Mayweather by TKO Round 6-9
Staff picking Mayweather: Eddie, Nick, Ram, Paul, Phil, Victor, Bissell, Stephie, Lewis, Zane, Hutch, Tim
Staff picking McGregor: Iain (By uppercut KO)
Mayweather or McGregor, who wins?
This poll is closed
Disqualification win for Mayweather
Disqualification win for McGregor