So the fight of the century is officially set; Floyd Mayweather will face Conor McGregor in a boxing match on August 26th. The old school boxing heads feel threatened by this flamboyant, Gucci wearing, Rolls Royce driving Irishman, and are trying to shame McGregor. But it’s not going to work.
Immediately, these “boxing experts” came out of their hiding places to slam McGregor and his chances in this fight. Whether it be from butthurt promoter Oscar De La Hoya, or HBO analyst Max Kellerman, the level of respect McGregor is getting is at an all time low for an athlete about to make more than $100 million.
It’s no secret what would happen if these two had an MMA fight. McGregor would destroy Mayweather. McGregor’s kicks, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu would overwhelm the inexperienced Mayweather. However, it is a boxing match the two settled on, and most can agree that Floyd is the heavy favorite. However, in my opinion, some analysts are going too far in their predictions.
“Conor McGregor will not land a single punch against Floyd Mayweather. Not a single punch,” Kellerman said on ESPN.
Whether or not Kellerman is being serious, his argument is ridiculous. For starters, I will say that McGregor’s chances of winning this fight are slim to none. However, I do believe that McGregor will win at least one round against Mayweather.
One big thing that will benefit McGregor is the size difference. While he only has one inch on Mayweather in height, McGregor is the much bigger man. Winning fights from 145-170 pounds, it was reported in March that McGregor walks around 175-180 pounds in his offseason. He will be able to bully Mayweather, who weighs 154-159 pounds during his offseason. Also, McGregor is a southpaw which is challenging for the undefeated Mayweather.
Another reason that McGregor will be able to win a round is because of his training style. The reason Floyd Mayweather can figure out his opponents so quickly is because he is fighting athletes that are strictly boxers, and have no experience with smaller gloves. Since McGregor is used to fighting in 4 ounce gloves instead of the 10 ounce that Mayweather does, he will have more creative angles and attacks. While Mayweather will eventually figure out how to get around McGregor’s style, that will take a few rounds, and McGregor winning one or two isn’t far out of reach.
I’m not alone on my thoughts of the opening rounds. Former MMA heavyweight and entertainer Brendan Schaub tweeted out a bet for Max Kellerman to accept.
— Brendan Schaub (@BrendanSchaub) June 15, 2017
Here’s the thing; Kellerman is actually one of, if not the best boxing analyst in the game. But his comments on McGregor’s chances in the fight are uneducated. Of course, you can’t blame him for not knowing. Kellerman, and boxing savants alike, weren’t, aren’t, and won’t be ready for Conor McGregor. The Irish hurricane comes from a different sport, and only certain figures can understand the matchup. The reason I trust Schaub’s opinion is because he has experience in both sports. He won the Golden Gloves boxing title as an amatuear and then went on to become a successful UFC fighter in the most difficult division: Heavyweight.
The reason boxing fans feel threatened by McGregor is because he is the biggest star in combat sports right now. With the decline in Boxing’s popularity, and the increase of MMA’s popularity, boxing purists see this fight as McGregor taking over their sport. And they have a right to think that.
Conor McGregor is the “A” side in this fight. Floyd Mayweather is no longer the big star. To prove my point, look at the announcement tweet.
THE FIGHT IS ON. pic.twitter.com/KhW0u3jRft
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 14, 2017
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) June 14, 2017
Conor’s tweet has 254,000 retweets, compared to Floyd’s 99,000. Also, on Instagram Conor beats Floyd with 1,400,000 likes to 550,000.
While social media may not be the best way to gauge the public’s interest, McGregor remains the bigger star when referring to Pay-Per-View numbers. While Mayweather does have the all time record for his fight with Manny Pacquiao, that was the first time a lot of people watched a Mayweather fight. Since then, Mayweather has only had one fight, but it bombed horribly. His fight with Andre Berto barely passed 500,000 buys, a 4.5 million buy drop off from the Pacquiao fight. McGregor, on the other hand, only gets higher numbers every time he fights. His last fight (at UFC 205) did 1.5 million buys, an even 1 million more than Mayweather’s last fight. To make matters worse, Mayweather couldn’t even sell out the MGM Grand’s 16,800 capacity venue. McGregor sold out the more prestigious arena, Madison Square Garden, which holds 20,789. McGregor also set a gate record at $17.7 million, beating out Frazier/Ali and Holyfield/Lewis.
That is why McGregor is getting no respect from the boxing heads. He is already the bigger star, and while he may not win the fight, being able to say “I told you so,” after the fight is all that they have.
Boxing loyalists are trying to do anything to discredit McGregor. In an attempt to shame McGregor, WBO boxer Jessie Vargas said in an interview with Villianfy Media that “[McGregor] got knocked out cold…[he] tried [to spar] Brandon Rios, but [Rios] knocked out Conor, so they had to push him away.” However, when Brandon Rios himself was asked about the incident, and he denied even meeting McGregor before. I’m not surprised that Vargas would fabricate this, though. He has made his bias for Mayweather clear by saying, “…I’m looking forward to seeing Floyd get the victory by knockout. Conor is going to get knocked out…I have no doubt about that, Floyd will get the victory. I actually wanna put some money on it, you know…” Vargas is just one of many boxers/boxing fans that would want to spread rumors to demean McGregor.
During the leadup to this fight, you’re going to hear a lot of uneducated comments. Whether they’ll be like Kellerman’s dismissiveness of McGregor, or Skip Bayless’ un-authentic support for McGregor. The important thing is to find a source without bias, like a Brendan Schaub, or a Joe Rogan, or a Mauro Ranallo. Sources like these that know equal amounts in boxing and MMA. Find someone that knows what they’re talking about, and listen to what they have to say.
Or better yet, do some research and make your own decision.