Write off McGregor at your peril
Experts reckon Irishman can stun legend Mayweather
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.”