With just hours to go before one of the most eagerly anticipated fights ever, Max Hamid takes a look at six factors in favour of a Conor McGregor win over Floyd Mayweather.
The boxing world has not taken kindly to this fight. The majority of boxing pundits, coaches and fighters see Conor McGregor as an imposter who is tarnishing the name of their sport. This being said, there are certain factors that could play into Conor’s hands and possibly help him shock the world.
This is not an article trying to convince you all to put your mortgage on a Conor McGregor knockout, but more of a quick reminder to all the boxing pundits out there that there are still a few factors in favour of a sensational McGregor victory…
There is just no denying the size of Conor’s head at the moment. The swell of support from everyone and anyone has given Conor a real kick of self-belief. The fight itself seems to be backed by the entire MMA world, with even close rivals Nate Diaz and Tony Ferguson heaping praise on Conor’s boxing.
The Irishman genuinely believes he will win and though the money is undeniable, this is not a game to Conor. He thrives as the underdog and his slogan of ‘doubt me now’ is exemplary of how he always performs when his back is against the wall. This is not just a payday for Conor as many think, he believes in his heart of hearts that this will end in a violent and shocking manner.
The fighters that Floyd has struggled with such as Marcos Maidana were awkward brawlers who roughed Floyd up with unpredictable flurries and used unorthodox angles to keep Floyd guessing. Conor is in a similar mould, as a southpaw with an unconventional style. Many believe that Conor’s stance and eccentric footwork could confuse Floyd and take him a little while to work out the McGregor puzzle. In which time he could land a big shot.
Even Paulie Malignaggi, who fell out with Conor over their sparring feud, was quoted as saying:
”He has an awkwardness to where he can land some shots.”
If Conor can utilise the distance used in MMA and catch Floyd with a left hook full of malice who’s to say he can’t wobble Mayweather?
4. Recent Updates
The build-up to the fight over the last week or two has all been about Conor. The aforementioned feud with Malignaggi gave us a first look at Conor in a boxing ring. Even though Paulie claims he was pushed and the footage was edited, the fact alone that Conor lasted twelve rounds with a two-time world champion and had some big moments is more evidence that Conor can box.
Every boxing analyst has flaunted the fact that Conor is 0-0 in the ring, but the leaked footage, despite it clearly being for publicity, shows Conor’s power has translated from MMA to Boxing.
Secondly, the gloves could be a factor. The change from 10-ounce gloves to 8-ounce gloves could be entirely inconsequential but it definitely favours Conor who is much more accustomed to the smaller UFC gloves. The lighter gloves should play into the power punching of McGregor rather than the volume of punches that Floyd is likely to rely on.
3. Floyd’s Weaknesses
This is not the Floyd Mayweather who beat Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton back in 2007. This isn’t even the lacklustre Floyd who beat a one-armed Manny Pacquiao two years ago. This is a 40-year-old Floyd with fragile hands who hasn’t knocked anyone out since 2011. Who can know how much time has worn down Floyd’s body? What we do know, is that Conor is a hungry, active fighter and champion whose hands crack even the hardest of chins.
Will Floyd’s body be able to withstand a potential early flurry from Conor and still go on to maintain his famous stamina towards the end of the fight? If Mayweather was fighting in their prime, the bout would be much less intriguing. However, the question marks floating over Floyd’s form, body and potential ring rust are huge factors in favour of Conor.
2. The Result
If Floyd fails to knock out Conor, has MMA won the spectacle? Every boxing pundit who won’t even entertain the idea that Conor has a puncher’s chance will have to eat their words if he wins even one round. HBO boxing commentator Max Kellerman goes as far as to say “Conor will not land a single punch against Floyd.”
What will the back pages of the papers be saying if Conor wins one or two rounds, or better yet clips Floyd?
Conor will still be the success story. He has nothing to lose, literally. If he loses any form of decision to the pound-for-pound greatest of all time, does his stock go down even an inch? No. Floyd has to knock him out or boxing loses and it just so happens that Conor has an iron chin.
1. The Game Plan
Many MMA analysts such as Brendan Schaub believe the first four rounds will consistent of Floyd trying to work out and adjust to Conor’s rhythm and timing before picking him apart as the fight progresses. But what if Floyd feels the pressure of the boxing world and tries to knock Conor out? As we saw with a certain Mr. Aldo, Conor is one of the best counter punchers in the world, boxing or MMA.
It is entirely possible that Floyd, who has been quoted saying he is certain the fight will not last twelve rounds, will go for the KO to nurse his ego and pride. One of the most exciting and frustrating aspects of attempting to call this fight, is that no one knows if Floyd will be content with another display of defensive boxing or if he will feel the pressure and go after Conor.
Ultimately it is all guess work. Those who have dismissed the fight as a circus act or just a money-making machine will miss out on what could actually be an intriguing fight. A fight that if these six factors come into play could end with McGregor’s arm raised and the boxing world sitting in stunned silence.
Max Hamid, Pundit Arena