In less than four weeks time Conor McGregor will take on Floyd Mayweather in what is likely to be the most lucrative fight in history.
The UFC lightweight champion has been based in Las Vegas for a number of weeks now as he prepares for his professional boxing debut against the unbeaten Mayweather, a fight that on paper seems like an absolute no-brainer.
How on earth can a boxing novice, regardless of their MMA credentials, even contemplate defeating the greatest defensive boxer in history?
According to McGregor’s striking coach Owen Roddy, the outcome of the fight is in no way as clear as many in the boxing world think.
Reported by ESPN, Roddy has provided us with a tantalising glimpse through the blacked out windows of the UFC’s Performance Insititute, where McGregor is basing his training camp.
“Conor is killing it in sparring. He’s not getting touched, you know what I mean?
“He can do as many rounds as we want because he’s doing so well.”
As he works to perfect his skills in the short time allowed, Roddy is amazed by McGregor’s progress to date.
“One thing I’ve noticed in camp is that week after week, he becomes twice the fighter he was.”
“I’ve said this before, talking about MMA, that every fight, the ‘New Conor’ would smash the ‘Old Conor.’ Well, that’s happening every week this camp. Knowing what he’s doing, and how much he’ll improve in the next four weeks, I’m excited for people to see it.”
Having worked with McGregor, alongside John Kavanagh for the last decade, there are few who can appreciate the UFC star’s skill set, power and ability to adapt and overcome opponents’ fighting styles.
“I’m not a boxing coach.
“I believe the striking part of mixed martial arts and boxing, once you take out the kicks, are similar enough. They move in certain ways, feint, use setups — it’s a similar sport. You have different weapons in mixed martial arts but the mentality is the exact same.
“I’ve watched every single person that’s come into the gym and it doesn’t matter what level they are — straight up boxers, high-level amateurs, Thai boxers, world-class MMA fighters — I’ve watched Conor read them and pick them apart. You can’t coach that. I’ve never seen anybody else able to do it. There’s no doubt to me he can do it to any man.”
Roddy is well aware of the odds for the upcoming clash with Mayweather and the general acceptance that McGregor doesn’t stand a chance. To counter, Roddy reminds us that writing off the Dubliner has been a mistake made since day one.
“When he was fighting in [U.K.-based promotion] Cage Warriors, winning two titles there, people said. ‘Yeah, but this isn’t the UFC,'” Roddy said. “We go to the UFC, he starts knocking people out, and people said, ‘Yeah, but you can’t win the title.’ Then it was, ‘Well, you can’t win the lightweight title, too.’ Now it’s, “You can’t do it in boxing.'”
“I don’t think people know what’s coming on the 26th. I honestly don’t. I don’t think anybody realizes what is coming.”
On August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena, in front of 20,000 fans, we will finally see what Roddy has been talking about.