Ahead of the Mayweather – McGregor press tour, there was a huge amount of anticipation for the first staredown between the fighters. Not just because seeing the boxer and the UFC star face to face in such a context would be a surreal moment, but because much had been made of the size difference between the two by McGregor’s camp. People were eager to see just how much bigger the Irishman would look when he and Mayweather were close up.
On that first night, Mayweather’s baggy hoodie made it harder to assess but as the week wore on and we witnessed multiple staredowns it became obvious that McGregor’s size advantage is quite significant. He simply has a much bigger frame than his American foe.
However, while others were focusing on McGregor’s size, one of boxing’s sharpest minds took note of some other things about ‘The Notorious’ one’s physique.
“One of the things that I noticed is that [McGregor’s] body – he has the waist of a model,” esteemed trainer Virgil Hunter told FightHype recently. “He doesn’t have a fight trunk…he has a waist as opposed to a trunk. There’s a difference. You know, a trunk is strong, powerful, thick — not only be able to take it but get out of the way. But he has more of a model’s waist and if I’m thinking like Floyd, I’m thinking about the body because his body’s gonna be very vulnerable to body shots. Everything is sitting right there for you to touch. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of in-fighting on Floyd’s behalf(Transcription via BadLeftHook).”
Interestingly, McGregor had made a similar claim about Mayweather during the press tour, stating that when he looks at the great boxer he see’s “a weak core”.
Nate Diaz did some good work to McGregor’s body in the pair’s two fights in 2016 and the Stockton native’s boxing coach, Richard Perez, even identified this as one of the keys to his victory in the first encounter.
“He threw the front-kick to the body, he threw the jab to the body – he was hitting that body,” Perez told Submission Radio several weeks after the fight. “People are saying that McGregor got tired of throwing punches, that’s not it. Those punches that Nathan was throwing, they don’t notice that. He was working that guy. Even though it wasn’t a whole lot, the punches really counted.”
Considering McGregor has never before competed in a fight scheduled for 12 rounds, expect Mayweather to go to the body early on in an effort to wind the UFC lightweight champion, drain his energy and make the latter rounds, should the bout go that far, even more difficult to survive.
Hunter, who developed and guided the remarkable Andre Ward from the time he first laced laced up a pair of gloves as a child and trains or has trained other big names, like Demetrius Andrade, Andre Berto, and Amir Khan, also noticed some other physical characteristics that may spell trouble for McGregor.
“Also [McGregor] has what we call ‘The Fighter’s Curse.’ He has bone ridges over his eyes,” he said. “I noticed he has cut a lot in the eyes in MMA fighting. He also has that jutting chin. So that’s a curse within itself also. But I expect him to cut over the eyes because of the bone ridges, and when those snapping punches hit you over the eyes like that he’ll get cut worse that he did in MMA. In my opinion he’ll cut up.”
While Hunter may have a point about McGregor’s facial features, we haven’t actually seen the Irishman badly cut before. A big elbow from Chad Mendes did open McGregor up at UFC 189, but it wasn’t a really serious injury and he spilled remarkably little blood over the course of his two wars with Diaz, who wore the famed crimson mask in both contests. Cut’s are on probably more common in MMA on the whole, as elbow and knee strikes have a greater tendency to cause lacerations than punches. So if McGregor’s skin has held up well through 24 professional MMA fights, the curse might not be as strong as Hunter thinks.