Amir Khan fears for Conor McGregor's health ahead of Floyd Mayweather boxing bout

David Cooper 26/08/2017
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Conor McGregor

British boxer Amir Khan fears Conor McGregor could face serious injury as the Irishman prepares to face Floyd Mayweather here Saturday.

Former light-welterweight world champion Khan told the MMA Hour he believed mixed martial arts star McGregor could be hurt in what he expects will be a one-sided meeting with Mayweather in Las Vegas.

McGregor has never fought in a professional boxing contest and is a huge underdog against Mayweather, a 49-0 fighter regarded as one of the best boxers in history.

“It’s like a tennis player trying to play badminton,” Khan said. “So he (McGregor) should not show too much too balls in this fight. If he starts getting a beating – step out man,” he added.

“He needs to think about himself in this fight, because if he gets seriously injured, he might not ever be the same fighter or he might not even fight again.”

Khan’s fears reflect wider misgivings by some in the boxing community who believe Saturday’s money-spinning superfight should never have been sanctioned on safety grounds.

The head of the Association of Ringside Physicians, Larry Lovelace, is among those who believe Nevada should not have granted a licence to the fight.

“We were very surprised this bout was even sanctioned and was going to be permitted to carry on,” Lovelace was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

“The thing I really fear, truly fear, is that somebody’s going to get really hurt.”

The Nevada State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned the fight, has a financial interest in the fight going ahead, earning a slice of the gross ticket receipts.

With the bout expected to bring in more than $60 million at the gate, the commission could earn as much as $1.2 million.

But Bob Bennett, the executive director of the commission, hit back at suggestions of a conflict of interest.

“As a regulator, I take offense to the fact that we’re approving this fight for fiduciary reasons,” Bennett said. “That’s totally unfair, and it’s simply not true.”

Provided by AFP Sport

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Conor McGregor promises to breeze through Floyd Mayweather as Las Vegas super fight inches closer

David Cooper 26/08/2017
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Conor McGregor

UFC star Conor McGregor vowed to knock out boxer Floyd Mayweather as a horde of Irish fans descended on Las Vegas for the trash-talking rivals’ cross-combat super-fight.

McGregor, 29, will carry a substantial weight advantage into Saturday’s 12-round boxing contest at the T-Mobile Arena after a raucous weigh-in which saw him face-off with Mayweather for the final time before fight-night.

With waves of green-shirted fans in a crowd of around 6,000 roaring their support for the Irish superstar, McGregor tipped the scales at 153lbs, well inside the 154lbs limit.

Former welterweight champion Mayweather, 40, who has emerged from a two-year retirement to take on MMA star McGregor, weighed in at 149.5lbs.

The naturally bigger McGregor – who screamed into Mayweather’s face as the two men went nose-to-nose – said he expects to enter the ring at closer to 170lbs.

Saturday’s one-off bout is projected to be the richest fight in history, with Mayweather poised to earn as much as $200million and McGregor potentially pocketing around $100million.

McGregor, who has never fought in a professional boxing contest, is a massive underdog for a fight, which is expected to beamed live to around 200 countries and territories across the globe.

But the former apprentice plumber from Dublin, who was unemployed four years ago, defiantly predicted he was ready to spring a monumental upset on the skillful Mayweather, one of the finest boxers in history who boasts a perfect 49-0 record.

“That’s the worst shape I’ve ever seen him,” McGregor said of Mayweather. “I’m going to breeze through him, trust me on that.”

‘FIGHTING WINS FIGHTS’

A nonplussed Mayweather shrugged off his weight disadvantage and once again vowed to stop McGregor inside the distance.

“Weight doesn’t win fights, fighting wins fights,” Mayweather said. “It won’t go the distance. Mark my words – I’m not worried about the scales.”

McGregor meanwhile basked in the adulation of his Irish fans who have poured into the Nevada desert gambling capital this week.

“You can’t beat us – we’ve already taken over,” McGregor bellowed. “Las Vegas is Ireland now.”

An army of Irish fans poured out onto the Las Vegas strip following the weigh-in, dancing and singing in blazing hot sunshine.

Saturday’s bout has appalled boxing traditionalists, who have rubbished the event as a meaningless, money-grabbing, mismatch which owes more to the pantomime traditions of WWE wrestling than the noble art.

boxing pundits, coaches and fighters have lined up to dismiss McGregor’s hopes of succeeding where 49 others in Mayweather’s 21-year career have failed.

“Would a ping-pong player have a chance of scoring a point against Roger Federer?” was the withering verdict of veteran trainer Teddy Atlas. “It’s going to be like walking through a really bad neighbourhood late at night. McGregor’s going to get mugged.”

SAFETY FEARS

The hard-nosed heavy-hitters of the gambling world agree. Saturday’s fight is set to smash records as the most bet-upon bout in Las Vegas history.

But while McGregor, a long-odds underdog, has attracted most wagers, the majority of the money is on Mayweather.

William Hill US reported that several large bets had been placed on Mayweather for what is expected to be a straightforward assignment.

One punter placed a $1.2 million cash bet on Mayweather, which will earn around $240,000. Yet the mere fact that McGregor will carry at least a puncher’s chance into the contest has been enough to sustain the excitement.

Stephen Espinoza, the head of cable network Showtime Sports which is selling the fight on pay-per-view in the US, said surveys had shown that fans were not deterred by predictions of a mismatch.

“The casual fans were absolutely adamant,” Espinoza said. “Their response almost universally was ‘We don’t care if it’s a mismatch … if there’s a .01 chance that something incredible could happen, we need to watch it.’

“And that’s why they’re going to watch it.” Others however have sounded a note of caution, citing potential safety risks to McGregor given the chasm of experience between the Irishman and Mayweather.

British former light-welterweight world champion Amir Khan expressed fears Friday McGregor could be seriously injured.

“It’s like a tennis player trying to play badminton,” Khan said. “(McGregor) needs to think about himself in this fight, because if he gets seriously injured, he might not ever be the same fighter or he might not even fight again.”

Provided by AFP Sport

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Reputations on the line in Las Vegas and not just that of Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor's

Alex Rea 26/08/2017
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Conor McGregor’s ascension from trainee plumber to superstardom has been built on more than just his death-touch left hand.

It’s a big factor, of course, but MMA is awash with knockout artists, yet few have had the ability to sketch out the career McGregor has in such a short timeframe.

What has separated the Irishman from the rest is his unparalleled self belief which has berthed practically flawless pre-fight predictions.

Nothing about his career has surprised him. To the UFC lightweight champion, he’s seen it all before and his propheserical talents conceived the nickname ‘Mystic Mac’.

Aside from the defeat to Nate Diaz, McGregor has perfectly predicted five stoppages to justify the tag – Eddie Alvarez, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Dustin Poirier and Diego Brandao have all been victims of his forecast.

However, in preparation for the mega event with Floyd Mayweather, the 29-year-old has taken on a new moniker – ‘Magic Mac’.

Indeed, McGregor has transitioned from oracle to magician, constructing an illusion of victory which has fooled a mass audience.

He has come in from 10/1 to 3/1 on the betting market over the last few weeks in what is a clear indication of support on an exponential scale.

To put that in perspective, McGregor, who is making not just his professional debut but his boxing debut, has odds equivalent to the last man to face Mayweather, Andre Berto.

McGregor’s resolute oration in promising to flatten Mayweather has spellbound and charmed supporters in believing the impossible will occur in Las Vegas.

While it’s true boxing stands alone in the irony of being so fractionally followed yet massively opined, few have looked beyond McGregor’s ‘aura’ in providing the formula to unlocking the defence of a supremely gifted boxer, who in 49 fights against elite-level competition has been a ghost.

Many of the McGregor army will point to age as a deciding factor. After all, Mayweather is 11 years senior to his adversary at 40.

But on the topic of nicknames, ‘Money’ has never been hit on the money. He doesn’t have the mileage of an offensive-style fighter and even if physically he’s slowed down, mentally he’s as sharp as ever.

That’s all Mayweather needs.

He spends the first four-six rounds reading his opponent and once he’s figured them out runs away with the fight.

McGregor has approached the bout as an MMA fighter facing a boxer, rather than the pure boxer v boxer scenario and that could mean we see some unorthodox shots.

But inexperience will mean he’ll only have limited tricks at his disposal and it won’t take Mayweather long to figure him out, when McGregor’s traps fail the illusion will slip because he’ll only be able to use each set-up once.

Ultimately, he’ll be one-dimensional and that’s just from a technical standpoint, bring in the conditioning element and another hurdle is introduced.

There are just too many insurmountables and this predetermined defeat will ring truer than any of McGregor’s own prophecies.

The only semblance of doubt comes in the form of Mayweather’s victory whether it’s a mid-to-late stoppage or brutal decision.

Although the result is predestined the manner of it will be decisive for the UFC.

Indeed, the conclusion of August 2017 could yet prove to be the most catastrophic in the promotion’s history.

UFC president Dana White has spoken of his nerves leading up to Sunday’s bout and the trepidation should be palpable throughout the entire company.

In the week the UFC lost the greatest of all time and pay-per-view star in light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones to another failed drugs test, the aura of their other big asset could slip, too.

An embarrassment for McGregor will be painful and a complete recovery far from guaranteed.

When White looks at his stable on Sunday he could be left without a single cash cow to generate PPVs buys from.

He, arguably more than most, will be hoping more than magic is at play in the T-Mobile Arena.

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