Tony Jeffries of Box ‘N Burn Gym was suitably impressed by Conor McGregor’s boxing skills having seen them in person.
The 2008 Olympic bronze medallist witnessed the UFC featherweight champion take on one of his charges in Chris van Heerden last week, and the six-round sparring session went well for all concerned.
With McGregor eight years into his MMA career, a sparring contest with a former boxing world champion represented a big challenge, but according to Jeffries, the Irishman passed it with flying colours.
“He had really good boxing knowledge, amazing footwork, and he was very athletic and elusive”, Jeffries told Elie Sechbach of ESNEWS.
“I thought his boxing was going to be amateur level, but he could beat a lot of professional fighters. Conor would beat some very high-talent professionals.”
Conor’s athetic acumen allows him to bridge the gap of his lack of professional boxing experience to an extent, but a mooted bout with one of the greats in Floyd Mayweather is viewed in the eyes of many is a joke.
Far from seeing it as a farce as he did originally, Jeffries gives McGregor a chance at pulling off what would be the biggest upset in sport.
“I’ve totally changed my opinion. I thought about the [Mayweather] fight a lot. Conor, with how elusive he is and his style, he’s tough as well.
What people don’t realise with Conor is that he’s got an iron jaw. Yes, he was rocked once by one of the best boxers in the UFC in Nate Diaz. He got caught with a solid right hand with a four-ounce glove. He got rocked, but who wouldn’t?
I give him a shot [at beating Mayweather]. He’s fit, strong, has a tough chin, and one thing about Floyd is that he’s not a puncher, and they’re wearing bigger gloves. Floyd’s hardest fight was with Maidana. McGregor has a similar ‘rough’ sort of style. I don’t think it’s as one-sided as people think it is.”