The annoyingly overly hyped Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight is going down this weekend.
Annoying because it is wrongly splashed across every sports channel as the greatest boxing event of our time and overly hyped because it will not live up to the billing.
Even though Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) star McGregor has been labelled the underdog, there is a surprisingly massive cross section of combat sports enthusiasts who believe he will win; and they are off by a couple of miles.
And it is not in the fact that underdogs don’t win fights, they do, as McGregor did in his MMA debut.
It has to do with the fact that beyond boxing and MMA being two entirely different combat sports, McGregor is crossing over to fight a legendary boxer with a distinguished boxing pedigree.
The only similarity between the two sports is that MMA encompasses some boxing. To put it into perspective, it’s like Julius Yego taking on Usain Bolt in a 100m dash, just because javelin involves some sprinting!
On the technical front, Mayweather being an orthodox stance fighter (left foot forward) and McGregor a southpaw (right foot forward), they will essentially be toe-to-toe as opposed to being squared up. As a result, the initial stages of the fight will be a battle of the jabs. As was the case with Zab Judah – a southpaw- Mayweather being a technician, will take the first two rounds deconstructing McGregor’s jabs, crosses and rear hook counters (which to be fair to him, he delivers with ruthless efficiency in the Octagon).
I see Mayweather slipping outside McGregor’s lead jabs and countering with lead left hooks and powerful crosses from the dip and a body shot (slip 3-2-3 body, combo).
Owing to his knack for endurance and grit, McGregor will start showing signs of fatigue in the early rounds (4 and 5) and start throwing wild wide hooks -being the amateur he is.
Mayweather will capitalise on this, frequently closing the distance to work from underneath, clinching… while peppering him with body shots and upper cuts.
At distance, expect that quick powerful lunging cross from Mayweather that is sure to disorient the Irishman. Mayweather will get tagged a few times, but with nothing meaningful. If he avoids McGregor’s short left hook as he comes in, he should be fine.
The fight will get less competitive after round six if McGregor will not have hit the canvas yet. Mayweather will hereon-after give the crowd a boxing exhibition with McGregor’s cadaver. A fitting title to this bout should be “Death of the Irishman”.
While McGregor is stronger of the pair with a longer reach, Mayweather, even at his age, is still faster and way more fluid – you will witness lightning quick counters from Floyd that will land and incredibly fast bobs and weaves ducking punches.
While both MMA and boxing are physically exerting, McGregor does not have the endurance to go 12 rounds in the boxing ring.
Their orientation is also quite different, McGregor is a knockout specialist who never goes the distance with his opponents, Mayweather is happy to go the distance and wear you down. As far as boxing skill is concerned, McGregor is at best a novice while Mayweather is among the greatest of all time. What a mismatch!
The writer is a Muay Thai (combat sports) practitioner and a boxing enthusiast.
Mayweather is returning to the ring two years after retiring from the sport with a 49-0 record.