When asked for his thoughts on the cross-codes super-fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor shortly after it was first announced back in June, veteran voice of HBO Boxing Jim Lampley admitted that he was no expert on the sport of MMA and thus knew little of McGregor’s strengths or weaknesses, but he did offer an analysis of the match-up based on his reading of certain statistics.
“Let me tell you something, CompuBox – which I very much trust and appreciate as an analytical tool – tracked 10 Conor Mcgregor fights,” Lampley told Fight Hub TV. “Conor McGregor – in those fights tracked by CompuBox – landed about… or excuse me, threw about 42 strikes per round. That means that, not only is he a counter-puncher, but that he’s a relatively slow paced counter-puncher.
“The only two fighters that ever gave Floyd Mayweather any difficulty over long stretches of time were Jose Luis Castillo and Marcos Maidana – two pure brawlers, with great physical strength, who pushed Floyd into the ropes and threw 75 or 80 punches a round, trying to land something. That does not describe Conor McGregor. So, this is a mismatch in even more ways than I thought was originally the case(Transcription via Bloody Elbow).”
Lampley recently claimed that he did not watch the fight, which was shown on HBO’s rival network Showtime, to assess the accuracy of his breakdown. Rather, he just viewed the concluding moments, when a barrage of Mayweather punches inspired an intervention from referee Robert Byrd in the tenth round. But once again, Lampley trusted and relied upon the CompuBox stats to provide an accurate abridgement of the story.
Mayweather made a rather pedestrian start to the fight, throwing just 28 punches over the first three rounds and landing a mere 12. McGregor let fly with 115 during the same period and landed 26. Unsurprisingly, most felt that the Irishman won all three of those rounds. Mayweather picked up the pace from the fourth round on, however, throwing 292 punches over the remainder of the fight and landing with 158 – an astounding connect rate of more than 54%.
This led Lampley to conclude that Mayweather had given away those first few sessions in order to satisfy sections of the viewing audience.
“I haven’t seen [Mayweather-McGregor]. I saw the stoppage, that’s all I saw,” the 68-year-old told Boxing Scene. “And I saw the CompuBox numbers, which told me what happened in the fight. I think Floyd did a brilliant job of doing what he needed to do in the fight and giving the MMA wish-clientele something to hold on to – ‘oh, Conor won the first three rounds.'”
Mayweather himself claimed that his early inactivity had been part of the gameplan – an attempt to draw power shots from McGregor in order to make him expend energy. If this was indeed the gameplan, it worked, as McGregor began to tire in the middle rounds and it ultimately seemed that exhaustion played a major role in his demise.
Mayweather came out of a near two-year ‘retirement’ for the lucrative fight but claimed that it would be his last hurrah. Lampley suggested, however, that he doesn’t buy the story that the former pound for pound king is selling and took a hefty shot at the Grands Rapids native in the process.
“I was surprised at the number of boxing experts who accepted the notion that Floyd is actually retired,” Lampley said.
“Why would you be actually retired when you can make that much money that easily? Why not fight a woman next? I think there are all sorts of ways for Floyd to make more money. And I expect him to make more money.”
Unsurprisingly, the Mayweather vs. McGregor talk was used as a segue into a little promotional plug for HBO’s upcoming mega-fight between middleweights Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, a bout that is seen by many within the boxing community as the heroic antithesis of Mayweather vs. McGregor – a real boxing match between two of the best fighters in the world as opposed to a circus act.
“I think Mayweather-McGregor is already forgotten and by next week it will be way more forgotten [when Canelo Alvarez fights Gennady Golovkin].” said Lampley. “You are going to see something spectacular next weekend – which will be a fire-fight, which will be a skilled boxing match between two really skilled fighters. There won’t be any 40 year olds in the ring and there won’t be any kickboxers in the ring.”