Conor threat to box­ing’s rep­u­ta­tion

The Weekend Post - - Sport - PHIL ROTHFIELD I N LAS VEGAS

AT 2PM to­mor­row, the cred­i­bil­ity of world box­ing goes on the line.

Aus­tralia’s great­est fighter, Jeff Fenech, is con­cerned UFC su­per­star Conor McGre­gor could de­stroy it. And he’s not alone.

Box­ing has noth­ing to gain but ev­ery­thing to lose in this May­weather-McGre­gor su­per fight that will be watched by a po­ten­tial world au­di­ence of 100 mil­lion fans.

If Floyd May­weather wins and takes his un­de­feated record to 50, it’s what we all ex­pected.

Yet McGre­gor has an ex­cuse in that he’s a mar­tial arts ma­chine, not a boxer. If the UFC cham­pion wins, box­ing will be seen as the weaker of the two com­bat sports.

“This guy (McGre­gor) is so un­con­ven­tional,” Fenech said.

“He’s go­ing to put his heart and soul into it. He’ll ei­ther get knocked out or he’ll knock Floyd out.

“It’s go­ing to be closer than we think.

“Most of the box­ers Floyd have fought have been a lit­tle bit cau­tious. Not this guy.

“Some­times I won­der why the bout was ever sanc­tioned con­sid­er­ing one guy has never fought as a boxer. I guess money speaks all lan­guages.”

Fenech fears the age and weight ad­van­tage will work in McGre­gor’s favour.

Plus the fact May­weather hasn’t fought for two years and doesn’t ap­pear to be tak­ing the fight as se­ri­ously as one might ex­pect.

In be­tween train­ing, he’s spent most nights this week at his new strip club in down­town Las Vegas, en­ter­tain­ing guests with his girls in lin­gerie.

Fenech ex­pects him to win but fears a boilover.

“McGre­gor’s go­ing to be re­ally dan­ger­ous,” Fenech said, “He’s 20 pounds (9kg) big­ger. He’s stronger.

“Floyd knows this guy is go­ing to at­tack him. He’s trou­ble. And he can fight. Peo­ple are think­ing it can’t hap­pen but it can.

“Buster Dou­glas knocked out Mike Tyson. It hap­pens. This guy’s one punch away from beat­ing him. He’s 12 years younger and he’s crazy.

“He’s got mad con­fi­dence and be­lieves in him­self. I’m not say­ing he’ll win but any­thing can hap­pen.”

Other com­men­ta­tors agree box­ing could be the big­gest loser, in­clud­ing Show­time’s se­nior fight an­a­lyst Steve Far­hood.

“How much is ex­pected of Conor McGre­gor?” Far­hood said. “If he goes in, tries to win and fails, ev­ery­one is happy. He hasn’t hurt his brand at all.”

IN­TRIGU­ING MATCH-UP: Boxer Floyd May­weather and UFC light­weight cham­pion Conor McGre­gor pose as CEO of May­weather Pro­mo­tions Leonard Ellerbe (cen­tre) looks on dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at the KA Theatre at MGM Grand Ho­tel & Casino.

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