Berto, the former WBC and IBF world champion, went twelve rounds with ‘Money’ in his retirement bout in 2015. Berto lost a unanimous decision but gained valuable insight against arguably the greatest defensive boxer to ever lace up the gloves.
Mayweather, 40, announced that he would be coming out of retirement to face ‘The Notorious’ in a 12-round boxing match on August 26, and Berto believes McGregor could rise to the occasion and pull off the upset.
“When it comes to Conor, I tell people: He’s a star,” Berto told Ariel Helwani on a recent edition of The MMA Hour (h/t Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting). “For some reason under that pressure and under those lights and under that atmosphere, he knows how to rise to the occasion. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, he’s one of those special guys that really can thrive in these types of environments, man.
“I just don’t put too much past him. I’ve been able to see and able to go to a few of this fights and really see how he really soaks up that atmosphere and he gets energy from it, where a lot of people really break down or it allows them to fold. He gets energy from that and he knows how to thrive. If it was a guy in the UFC or MMA that can do it, I believe he would be the one, for sure.”
The 33-year-old Berto thinks McGregor’s best bet would be to play mind games with Mayweather in the boxing ring and hope to catch ‘The Best Ever’ off guard.
“I see Conor coming in there really showing that bravado, showing that cockiness and showing that he’s really there to fight,” he said. “And somewhat trying to steal the stage from Floyd just with his antics and he kind of gets Floyd into a mind-game situation, has him pulling some type of mistakes and [Mayweather] gets caught with a big shot and gets hurt. And [McGregor] could stop him.”
‘The Beast’ is also lucidly aware that Mayweather could outclass McGregor and make him look ‘silly’ on the night.
“Or I see Floyd not playing into any of these antics and being who he is, to stay poised and to stay sharp and let his boxing skills just pick Conor apart,” Berto said. “And either late rounds stop Conor just from the accumulation of shots or maybe cuts or just being beat up, or just outboxing him for 12 rounds and just trying to make him look silly.”
So, either McGregor gets the knockout early or Mayweather does exactly what he says he’s going to do.
“It’s the fight game — anything can happen,” Berto said. “It’s either Conor catches him early, finishes him or Floyd is gonna outbox him and makes him look silly and tries to embarrass him.”
The Mayweather-McGregor boxing extravaganza is scheduled for 12-rounds and will take place on August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.