Anthony Joshua open to taking on MMA fighter as he sees appeal of Conor McGregor's clash with Floyd Mayweather

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Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua would be willing to box a mixed martial artist or accept a cage fight in the future.

The IBF and WBA heavyweight champion is presently awaiting confirmation of his next title defence against Kubrat Pulev at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on November 11 or, more likely, Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on October 28.

He will not attend Saturday’s fight, also at the T-Mobile Arena, when Conor McGregor makes his professional boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather because he is beginning preparations for his Bulgarian mandatory challenger.

However, while the Mayweather-McGregor bout is dividing opinion, Joshua can see the appeal.

He said: “I like fighting, I’d do whatever.

“I’d probably get beaten. The only thing that they can’t do is submissions, but they can kick, elbow, bite – whatever they want. Just no submissions.

“I can’t beat a guy (via submission). That takes a lot of time to learn the skills and submissions, which I don’t have the time for, but when it comes to pure aggression and fighting rules, I can definitely fight, so I don’t mind that.

“It wouldn’t be a problem. If you look at most boxers who’ve crossed over to MMA, they get beaten on the ground. James Toney, Roy Jones, they were phenomenal boxers but they just couldn’t compete in the cage because of the ‘ground and pound’ game.

“I’ve been away with the family and need to get back to reality. Sitting on the beach getting my toes rubbed, that’s not the life of an athlete.

“I’ve got to get back to the gutter, keep organised, keep disciplined. I’ve done my holidays and need to get back to the military mindset I live.”

The likelihood remains that McGregor will convincingly lose to the finest boxer of the modern era, potentially minimising the appeal of future crossover fights.

Joshua is among the many who give the Irishman little chance of victory, and the 27-year-old said: “It’s probably (going to be) a landslide. Look at the great fighters

Mayweather’s fought, and he’s made them look average. Some of the fighters Mayweather’s fought would probably beat Conor McGregor as well; Conor can’t really compete.

“He’s coming out of his field and going into Mayweather’s domain. Even though he’s an excellent fighter in UFC, he’s not an excellent boxer. Him crossing over is going to be a real, big challenge.

“He could give a good account of himself; I think Mayweather will win but as long as he gives a good account of himself, it’ll work really well for him.

“I don’t think Mayweather’s done it for the money, I don’t think he needs the money: he’s done well from boxing. Conor was calling him out and people were saying they wanted to see the fight. The fans dictate the fight: if they want to see it, they get it.

“You can’t fight with a pay cheque, you can only fight with heart: that’s the only thing that gets you through tough times.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Will Conor McGregor embarrass himself against Floyd Mayweather?

Alex Rea 21/08/2017
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Ready to do battle: Mayweather and McGregor.

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?

Get in touch on Twitter and via Facebook.

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.

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 11: UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor hits an uppercut bag during a media workout at the UFC Performance Institute on August 11, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. McGregor will fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena on August 26 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

McGregor has been stepping up his training in Las Vegas.

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.

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Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor take trash-talk tour to New York

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. (L) and Conor McGregor (R)

Floyd Mayweather was on the attack on Thursday, branding Conor McGregor a quitter as the four-stop tour hyping their cross-combat superfight hit New York.

“Eejit” and “Circus Clown” were the tamest epithets the former welterweight king, who retired from boxing with a perfect 49-0 record in 2015, threw at McGregor, one of the biggest stars of mixed martial arts.

“(He) didn’t quit once, didn’t quit twice, quit three times!” said Mayweather. “”Real fighters never give up.”

McGregor, a two-division champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has conceded three defeats in 24 bouts, all by submission.

The two men are set to face each other in a boxing ring in Las Vegas on August 26 in what could be the richest fight in history.

Thursday’s show at the Barclays Center, home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, drew a pro-McGregor crowd of more than 13,000.

It was the third such production in three days, with one more scheduled for London on Friday aimed at pumping up interest in the bout – although both men seemed to be running short of inventive invective even if the animosity between them is actually growing.

McGregor eschewed his sharp-tailored suits for a bare chest and white fur overcoat – which he swept from his shoulders as he took the stage to offer a flexed-arm pose that inflamed the crowd.

The Irishman then paced impatiently as Mayweather, draped in an Irish flag, made his way to the stage and they took their positions for the ritual staredown from opposite sides of the podium.

A giant step forward from each had them nose to nose and brought more cheers from the crowd before McGregor launched into a lewd, crude address.

“No one’s going to stop me walking around this place like I own it,” he said.

Mayweather, meanwhile, was all indifference until it was his turn to launch into his profanity-laced response.

After a little back-and-forth with the crowd, he showered McGregor with handfuls of dollar bills from his backpack – a day after McGregor mocked the paltry stash of cash “Money” had brought to their promotional stop in Toronto on Wednesday.

“They’re all ones!” McGregor said. “Because that’s all you’re worth,” Mayweather replied.

Mayweather, one of the most accomplished defensive fighters in history, admits there’s a level of uncertainty in the entire undertaking.

“Nobody knows that squared circle like me,” Mayweather told reporters. “I know angles. I know where to touch you at. I know what you don’t like. I don’t have to watch your tapes. That’s something I’m blessed with.

“But, he’s unorthodox,” Mayweather added. “So it’ll definitely be something different in the ring. I just have to keep my composure.”

But McGregor says he’s relishing his underdog role – and will adapt just fine to the boxing ring.

“I have a very high fight IQ,” he said. “I understand when to go and when not to. I’m very confident whether it’s in a ring or an octagon … I’m going to have my way with him.”

In the meantime, McGregor said, the whirlwind promotional tour wasn’t wearing thin for him.
“I’m not tired of this,” said. “It’s really a lot of fun. We’ll keep it professional for now.

“Floyd is saying a lot about me tapping out, but he’s never had a true fight,” McGregor added. “He knows nothing about the game that I’m involved with. We’ll see who is quitting on August 26.”

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