I don’t know about the rest of you, but since late last night, the one story that’s dominated my newsfeed has been that Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor have both signed on the dotted line to face one another on Aug 26th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Floyd Mayweather is returning from self imposed retirement at age 40 in a bid to surpass Rocky Marciano’s record by going 50-0 against McGregor, while Conor, with a 0-0 Boxing record [but 21-3 in MMA] is looking to continue his dominance of combat sports by beating the unbeatable.
The bookies currently have Mayweather as the favourite [funnily enough], but that hasn’t stopped armchair and facebook pundits from citing Conor’s KO power and bandying words like “puncher’s chance” here there and everywhere.
From a purely mechanical and statistical point of view, Conor McGregor has a significant reach and slight height advantage, as well as a southpaw stance and younger age in his favour. What he doesn’t have is 387 rounds of Boxing experience and an unbeaten record in fist based combat.
Conor McGregor does have one of the sharpest fighter’s minds of his generation – he’s fast, adaptable and several Boxers have suggested that his pugilistic skill and power aren’t to be underestimated but, make no mistake, he’ll be facing one of the greatest Boxers of all time – and, he’ll be facing him on his own terms. Two thirds of Conor’s skillset will be null-and-void under Boxing’s rules, he’ll be fighting in heavier gloves and over eight more rounds than he’s used to.
Floyd, meanwhile, is a defensive fighter – indeed, he’s often slated for not taking the fight to his opponents, prefering to tire them and pepper them with counters and potshots to take the win on points rather than straight KOs. His age may count against him, but his career has been fought over many more rounds than McGregor’s, and his stamina will mean that, to be in with a chance, Conor will have to aggressively pursue the KO in the early rounds or risk a drawn out points loss.
At the end of the day, though, this fight all comes down to one thing – and that’s money. Conor McGregor, win-or-lose, will make more money than the UFC would be willing to pay him, and could probably quite easily retire to a Hollywood career in action films – never having to fight again, after this.
Floyd gets another massive pay-cheque too, the chance to retire an unbeaten record breaker, and an opponent who, in his mind, must seem like a relatively easy mark.
Both men will doubtless do their utmost to sell this event to the public as ‘the fight of the century’ over the next couple of months – hell, even though the rational/cynical side of my brain is screaming that this is all hype and no substance, I’m still excited at the prospect of an upset.
Go Team McGregor!