Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor will lock horns with boxing Legend Floyd Mayweather on Saturday in a boxing bout regarded as ‘fight of the century’ or ‘the money fight’ at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Fight fans all around the world have been counting days since the fight was officially announced back in July after almost a year of speculation. McGregor (21-3 MMA) had been calling out Mayweather (49-0 boxing) for over a year and when he enters the ring on Saturday, in an unfamiliar enemy territory, it will be a dream come true for the Irish warrior.
McGregor possesses this notorious self of conquering the unconquerable, doing the impossible and transforming dreams, even the wildest ones, into reality.
Coming from a sport where athletes are not as highly paid as some of the other known personalities, the Irish southpaw has made unprecedented leaps throughout his career. From 13 second knock-out of featherweight champion Jose Aldo to breaking pay-per-view sales, he has done it all, but can he beat Mayweather?
The odds are against the Irishman, regardless of his exceptional striking skills and movement. McGregor has knocked everyone out in his UFC career except for current featherweight champion Max Holloway and Nate Diaz, who he has fought twice, winning once via unanimous decision and losing once via submission.
The UFC champion has ferocious power in his left hand, but mixed martial arts is an all-round combat sport. It uses boxing, kick-boxing, grappling, wrestling techniques and there are numerous way to out fox your opponent. Boxing is different and boxing Floyd Mayweather, who has been a champion in multiple weight classes, is an extremely different experience altogether.
McGregor’s biggest challenge against Mayweather: endurance. The Irishman has fough five 5 minute rounds just once in his career against Nate Diaz. In his 25 minutes against the Stockton based Diaz, McGregor struggled with his stamina, got tired and marginally beat his opponent. In the duo’s first fight, a tired McGregor in round 2 got out-grappled by Diaz, who submitted him via a Rear Naked Choke.
His boxing bout will be 12 rounds, each of 3 minutes. Can he go all 36 minutes with a multiple division boxing champion? Floyd is a master when it comes to head movement. He drains people out through deception, takes minimal damage and has extraordinary hand speed. McGregor’s best chance to win the money fight is to knock his opponent out within 4-5 rounds.
The longer the fight lasts, the more McGregor’s chances of winning would fade. Although he has been sparring with retired boxers for 12 rounds, it is virtually impossible to replicate Mayweather’s abilities for anyone.
Stylistic difference between the two sports
As mentioned before, boxing and mixed martial arts are worlds apart. Boxing is limited to fist strikes. In MMA, a combatant can use fists, elbows, legs, knees, takedowns, submission and there’s a variety of moves you can exhibit.
McGregor is a master when it comes to MMA. He is the perfect octagon warrior. Although he uses his hands to knock people out, his legs play a significant role in putting his opponents in uncomfortable positions. His stinging leg and body kicks force his opponents to move forward and into his zone: his left hook. As a McGregor opponent you would probably struggle to maintain distance.
Against Mayweather, he will have a limited Arsenal, but yet his most lethal one. He knows he can not afford to go the distance with his opponent, so he will try to start aggressive, use his awkward (for his opponents) movements to put pressure on Mayweather and try to catch him.
Chances are, he might not succeed in his attempts, but if he does and he can, it will rock the very foundations of boxing.
Doing the impossible
Stamina and stylistic difference might be the difference between the two on Saturday, but if there is one person who has this supernatural ability to do as he says, it’s Conor McGregor.
Back when he was to fight then champion Jose Aldo, he had categorically said that he would knock the Brazilian out in the first round and he did as he said. 13 seconds into the first round, he was the new UFC champion.
On another occasion, when he was scheduled to fight lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, he said similar things and so was the result.
People also poked fun at him when he said he would fight Floyd Mayweather last year and here we are. Mayweather said in one of their promotional press conferences that the Irishman and his management had played a major role in setting up the fight.
Now, if he says he will stop Mayweather within four rounds, there is no doubting the Irishman, but it will be his biggest challenge thus far. McGregor has his chances, despite fighting in an unfamiliar territory and despite being the underdog after a very long time, he has his chances and the awesome (literally) thing about this fight is that both get to make hundreds of millions of dollars.
The odds might be against him, but there is absolutely no doubt about his ability to shock the world. He has it like no one else does, but he is fighting a similar personality and when the two clash, only one would remain standing and that too, eternally.
Prediction: Floyd Mayweather via unanimous decision.