We are now only a matters of days away from one of the most anticipated sporting events of 2017.
Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather go head-to-head at the T-Mobile Arena in Nevada on August 26, with the Irishman set to contest his first professional boxing bout in the ring.
While McGregor is one of the most decorated UFC fighters of all time, the Money’s 49-0 boxing record will take some beating.
Here, our two writers have their say on the multi-million dollar encounter.
Do you agree with their verdicts?
ANDY LEWIS SAYS YES
This Saturday’s main event is many things – a vulgar cash grab, an overblown farce that nobody actually asked for and a loathsome marriage between two of sport’s most narcissistic characters being chief among them. The one thing it certainly isn’t, however, is a competitive fight.
Conor McGregor will take a beating.
But then again, with him expected to trouser $75 million, it’s a beating he will be extremely happy to take.
Floyd Mayweather isn’t even trying to conceal the fact this fight is a sham, saying last month: “They’re going to talk about this business move at Harvard.”
If people are so naive that they will ignore such statements and part with money to watch it then more fool them.
But don’t expect actual sporting competition.
If Mayweather doesn’t hold back then the length and pattern of the fight will depend on McGregor’s chin, fitness and pain threshold.
Mayweather has spent the last two months preparing for the 50th fight of a record-breaking 20-year career in professional boxing which has seen him win 15 world titles across five weight categories.
McGregor has spent the last two months learning how to box.
That is all that needs to be said. There is no need to further break it down. McGregor would dominate Mayweather in the cage.
Mayweather will dominate McGregor in a boxing ring.
The saving grace for the Irishman is that he is facing a 40-year-old who is smaller than him and also has brittle hands and a defensive style. That might buy him some time. If he went in with a younger, active champion about the same size as him, say Gennady Golovkin, he’d be obliterated inside a round.
To ask whether he will be embarrassed is a subjective question. Landing a couple of shots and getting through the opening few rounds would surely be a moral victory of sorts.
Unfortunately for McGregor that decision will be for Mayweather to take, and he’s not really known for his compassion.
ALEX REA SAYS NO
The notion Conor McGregor will embarrass himself is in vogue because of the opinion boxing and MMA are completely different sports. And while there is an element of truth to that, the fact is McGregor has long laced up boxing gloves and danced around a squared circle in training, while the sweet science has been a fundamental part of his success in the Octagon.
Columnists have been attracted to the use of hyperbole in describing the fight as like a cricketer trying to play baseball or whichever exaggerated parallel they draw upon. But McGregor and Mayweather are much closer and in reality the fight is between one of the best strikers in MMA, a fighter in his prime who you could consider a mid-level boxer against a pound for-pound great who has been dormant in retirement and is 40.
From a physical standpoint, the tale of the tape bridges the gap further as the Irishman will be longer, stronger and potentially fitter. He also thrives on blockbuster occasions and the bigger the event, the better his performance – Nate Diaz 2, Eddie Alvarez and Jose Aldo are fights which point to that.
Mayweather’s slick skills and experience will lead to a victory, let’s not carried away in regards to the result because it’s practically predetermined. But McGregor will have his moments. There will be occasions when he’ll land his lethal left hand and will make it a fight.
It won’t take much to constitute a success, either; a sign of frustration across Mayweather’s face or an early backward step while rocking him.
The expectation is so low, it will need a KO in the early rounds for an embarrassment, and that’s as improbable as the Irishman winning.
Victor Ortiz aside, Mayweather hasn’t scored a stoppage in 10 years and his hand injuries coupled with a defensive approach will mean McGregor survives until the deeper rounds.
He will be beaten, but embarrassed?
Certainly not because in a spectacle of this magnitude the small wins will prove much bigger.