Here is what we can anticipate. If fans and experts in the sport of boxing are being honest with themselves, it’s extremely difficult to give UFC champion Conor McGregor more than a distant puncher’s chance against Floyd Mayweather on Saturday.
Asking that same question to mixed martial arts observers or merely casual sports fans, in general, may just produce a different answer altogether. That might go a long way in explaining why so much money has come into sportsbooks for McGregor, going back to the first day that the fight was announced.
But going back throughout the long history of combat sports and major upsets, there’s always a knee-jerk revisionist tendency to go back and identify the things we should have seen regarding clues as to how the upset happened in the first place.
According to CBS News, they believe three reason why McGregor is prime to win this fight or at least put up a really great fight.
Mayweather has never been more prime for the upset than right now: Mayweather’s history of taking off extended breaks only to return looking fresher and crisper than he had in years certainly cautions the notion that ring rust would ever be part of his vocabulary. But Mayweather is 40, returning to a cruel and unforgiving sport that can make you old in one night. He’s also two years into an official retirement. McGregor, meanwhile, is at the peak of his physical prime. And all the statistics and factoids people like UFC president Dana White have tried to use in recent months to hype up McGregor’s chances are all actually true: He’s a southpaw who is taller, stronger, naturally bigger and longer than Mayweather, and he’s also 11.5 years younger.
McGregor’s command of distance is deadly: Being a great boxer in MMA certainly doesn’t translate perfectly to being a great boxer in the sweet science. But there are certain things McGregor does well very well from a boxing standpoint that has allowed him to dominate opponents on his feet inside the Octagon. McGregor’s strongest skill has been his ability to negotiate distance by lulling his opponents into a false sense of security before closing the gap quickly to land big punches.
McGregor’s wild unorthodox style will play into his hands: Mayweather’s uncanny ability to take a snapshot of his opponent’s offensive attack in the opening rounds before making an adjustment and disarming them is legendary. But the defensive wizard has certainly had his easiest success against orthodox boxers who fight in a traditional style and stance. In fact, the one fighter who had the most success against Mayweather over the second half of his career was Marcos Maidana during their first fight in 2014. Maidana attacked from the opening bell with a taxing style reliant upon pressure and punches from almost absurd angles. Very little about Maidana’s offense was traditional, which made it very difficult to prepare for or adjust to.
Whether or not who you’re rooting for, this is going to be a great fight night! If you’re still looking for a place to watch the fight come out to the book!