CAPE TOWN – With mixed martial arts superstar Conor McGregor having signed on to fight Floyd Mayweather Jnr in a boxing match, the question on everyone’s lips is, “could he actually win?”
The short answer is, other than standing a puncher’s chance, the Irishman has very little hope.
Yes, he is bigger, stronger and younger than Mayweather. Yes, Mayweather has been retired for almost two years and is well out of his prime.
Yes, McGregor is a spectacular knockout artist who has rendered some of the world’s toughest unconscious with even glancing blows.
But Floyd Mayweather Jnr is Floyd Mayweather Jnr. He won three national Golden Gloves championships and an Olympic bronze medal in his teens, went undefeated for 49 professional fights, knocked out 26 of those opponents and won world titles in five different weight divisions.
The American, so adept at avoiding punches that he was nicknamed ‘Pretty Boy’ because he had almost no scars, has made a science out of hitting without getting hit.
Mayweather may be rusty now, but a few months back under the tutelage of his father Jeff and uncle Roger (a former WBA, WBC and IBO world champion) and he’ll be more than ready.
Will McGregor, who hasn’t had a competitive boxing match since his teens, be able to do what world-class boxers like Marcos Maidana, Manny Pacquiao and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez – who’ve all won the vast majority of their fights via KO – have been unable to?
Could he use his superior range, fight behind a stiff jab, avoid getting KO’d and eke out a points decision?
The odds are so heavily stacked against him that it’s not even worth discussing. Simply put, it’s just not a fair contest. It would be the same if the roles were reversed, with Mayweather making the long walk to a UFC octagon.
In a mixed martial arts (MMA) bout, the closest thing to real unarmed combat, Mayweather wouldn’t last a minute. McGregor would definitely do better in a boxing ring than Mayweather would do in a cage.
However, a fight that would be fair on both is a boxing match with four-ounce MMA gloves or even the larger, more padded six-ounce gloves used by amateurs.
Mayweather would not be able to block or parry punches as easily without the large, padded boxing gloves. And the patented shoulder roll, taught to him by his father and uncle, would be much less effective at deflecting blows.
The UFC lightweight and former featherweight champion would be able to sneak punches through and around Mayweather’s guard, and he’d only need to do so two or three times in order to end the fight.
Mayweather would have to depart from the style and strategy that have made him arguably the best boxer ever, and certainly one of the sport’s pound-for-pound greats, and earned him so much money that he actually changed his nickname to ‘Money’.
In a boxing match with MMA gloves, Mayweather could knock-out McGregor just as quickly as McGregor could knock him out and maybe even faster.
However, his former nickname ‘Pretty Boy’ would likely be laid to rest once and for all.