Write off McGre­gor at your peril

Ex­perts reckon Ir­ish­man can stun le­gend May­weather

African Independent - - SPORT -

WHEN it was first an­nounced that Conor McGre­gor would be mak­ing his pro­fes­sional box­ing de­but against un­de­feated Floyd May­weather, few gave the Ir­ish­man any chance of win­ning.

May­weather is a five-di­vi­sion world cham­pion, hav­ing won 15 world ti­tles and four lin­eal cham­pi­onships in four weight di­vi­sions. He boasts a flaw­less pro­fes­sional record of 49-0.

McGre­gor last boxed com­pet­i­tively when he was lit­tle more than a child.

But the odds on a shock McGre­gor vic­tory have short­ened and peo­ple are be­gin­ning to se­ri­ously won­der whether the twoweight UFC world cham­pion can stun one of the great­est de­fen­sive box­ers of all-time. But what would a McGre­gor vic­tory look like and what tac­tics would he need to adopt? Here, five ex­perts put for­ward their view. UFC light-heavy­weight Jimi Manuwa, who is tar­get­ing a box­ing match of his own with none other than David Haye, thinks McGre­gor has to rough May­weather up if he is to have any chance of win­ning.

Manuwa said he thinks some of McGre­gor’s MMA skills could be use­ful.:

“I do give McGre­gor a chance of win­ning. The thing is, May­weather’s ring crafts­man­ship is sec­ond to none, so Conor has to re­ally make him work and bully him in there – he has to get him into a cor­ner and beat him up. And Conor has MMA skills which May­weather won’t have seen be­fore.

“Com­ing from MMA, Conor has so many more skills other than just box­ing which he can use, such as the clinch and his wrestling abil­ity.

“Plus he’s the stronger man. So it is go­ing to be a very in­ter­est­ing fight, but it’s key that Conor gets on the in­side and re­ally bul­lies him.. McGre­gor’s pull-back left-hand counter is one of the most de­struc­tive shots in MMA. Few have been able to take it and part of the in­trigue is whether May­weather will be able to sur­vive the shot.

Ac­cord­ing to UFC pres­i­dent Dana White, land­ing the left is by far McGre­gor’s best chance of win­ning.“When you put two peo­ple to­gether any­where and they start throw­ing punches, any­thing is pos­si­ble,” he said.

“May­weather is go­ing to be 41 this year, and if there is a kink in that ar­mour, it has been with south­paws. McGre­gor’s a south­paw, he’s 29 years old and he hits like a truck. He has got 12 rounds to land that punch. When he hits peo­ple, they go, and if he hits Floyd, I think he will hurt him. And when he hurts peo­ple, he puts them away.” Re­spected box­ing trainer Abel Sanchez told UFC.Com that waiting to land a big shot is not an ef­fec­tive strat­egy for McGre­gor, as May­weather is too dan­ger­ous on the counter.

In­stead, he thinks McGre­gor has to work re­lent­lessly, dic­tat­ing the pace and mak­ing his sup­pos­edly su­pe­rior fit­ness count.

“He has to make Floyd un­com­fort­able, and the only way... is to throw shots.

“They say McGre­gor’s a big puncher, and if he waits for an op­por­tu­nity to land a shot, he’s gonna get drilled by Floyd while waiting.

“So what I would try to do is get him to un­der­stand that he’s got to work three min­utes out of three min­utes (each round) and move his hands.”

A post shared by Conor McGre­gor Of­fi­cial (@ theno­to­ri­ous­mma) on Aug 2:“He’s a big­ger guy than Floyd, but if he’s waiting to land one on the chin, it may be all night. The only chance he’s got is to move his hands and be faster than Floyd.”

For­mer MMA fighter Bren­dan Sch­lub thinks the early rounds are key.

He told the New York Post it is es­sen­tial McGre­gor lands some hard shots at the start while May­weather is still ad­just­ing to the pace of the fight and gaug­ing the dis­tance.

“I hate to tell ev­ery­one this, but box­ing is some­thing that ev­ery mixed mar­tial artist is very fa­mil­iar with.

“I think Floyd is go­ing to ini­tially come out a lit­tle hes­i­tant. He’s go­ing to be a lit­tle caught off guard by Conor’s move­ment, how big he is, his dis­tance.

“Those first four rounds, I see Conor tak­ing the ma­jor­ity of those rounds just be­cause he’s go­ing to be more ac­tive, ap­ply­ing more pres­sure.

“He’s get­ting into Floyd’s head, get­ting him to kind of fight out of his el­e­ment and get­ting Floyd to come for­ward and hope­fully get ag­gres­sive with Conor. And that gives Conor his best chance to knock him out.”

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