The most intriguing bout in fight sport history is barely one month away. But while it has generated the attention that it desired, many are still convinced that it is going to be a mismatch.
No Ring Experience
Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Manny Pacquiao are among the majority of boxers who agree that Conor McGregor has zero chance of beating Floyd Mayweather Jr. Not only are they one with their predictions, all of them have a common argument that’s hard to disagree with.
Conor McGregor has never boxed in a boxing ring before, whether as a professional or as an amateur. On the other hand, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has faced the best fighters of his era and has beaten all of them. If 49 boxers could not even touch Mayweather, what makes us think McGregor is going to beat him inside a boxing ring and under boxing rules.
Left Hand Power
While it’s true that McGregor doesn’t have any competitive boxing experience, he does have world class fighting experience. And where he comes from, he is one of the best strikers in the business. Striking in MMA includes boxing and as an elite striker, McGregor has ended seven UFC bouts by TKO or KO from punches. Most, if not all of those knockouts were the product of his famed left hand punch which he boasts nobody can take. Not even Mayweather, perhaps?
Nobody knows the power of that left hand better than Eddie Alvarez, the former UFC lightweight champion whom McGregor dethroned at UFC 205. Said Alvarez:
“Conor has about three or four rounds to get this done. Within those four rounds, if you don’t think Conor can knock this guy out, you’re an idiot or you just don’t know fighting because it can very well happen.”
Good point. While Mayweather is a defensive genius, he has not faced an opponent as young, hungry and aggressive as Conor McGregor. With McGregor’s unconventional boxing style, Mayweather can be caught off guard, especially in the opening rounds. If McGregor can land his left hand clean, maybe Eddie Alvarez is correct.
But if you still don’t want to buy Eddie Alvarez’s argument because he is speaking from an MMA standpoint, then listen to former WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi, a crafty boxer who recently sparred eight rounds with the Notorious One:
”He hasn’t fought in two years which is a long lay-off. I think Conor can exploit the fact that the energy levels of the guy in front of him may not match Conor’s because he has got more youth on his side. Conor is bringing a different style to the table, a different toolbox so to speak. Maybe those tools will work maybe they won’t but we’ll find out on fight night.”
Malignaggi agrees with Alvarez that Conor’s aggressiveness and unorthodox boxing may cause problems. He also brings up two more good points: ring rust and age. Mayweather last fought in September 2015 and at 39, he is no longer a spring chicken. Will a young and hungrier lion overwhelm the old master?
Malignaggi also confirmed McGregor’s punching power, saying the Irishman has some ‘pop’ in his punches. More significantly, Malignaggi also says that there is science to McGregor’s boxing:
“I’ll put it like this: He knows what he wants to do and he has a method of how he wants to get there. The mechanism of how he gets there may look, to the naked eye, ‘hmm, I don’t know about this.’ But there’s a method to his madness. He’s a thinker.”
Without saying it point blank, Paulie Malignaggi is implying that Conor McGregor won’t be a walk in the park for Floyd Mayweather Jr. In fact, he may be a handful for boxing’s Money man.
When the betting lines opened last November, Mayweather was an overwhelming favorite at 2/45 against McGregor’s 19/2. But the lines have continually moved in McGregor’s favor as the months passed. Currently, the odds are much closer as of July 26, according to betting site Betway Sports. And the reason behind it may be more than just Irish betting money.
McGregor doesn’t have any boxing experience and that’s a fact. But those who believe that this is a mismatch because of that haven’t seen McGregor face to face, much more gone toe to toe with him. For those who have, like Eddie Alvarez and Paulie Malignaggi, there’s more to this than Conor making easy money. You cannot underestimate Conor McGregor. Not with the kind of left hand shot that he has.