THE wait for the most curious fight in decades is almost over and I've invited fight-fan Daniel Cox to give us his view on one of the most highly anticipated bouts in sporting history.

In a 2-part post he looks at why Floyd Mayweather should outbox Conor McGregor on the way to victory, then makes a case for how the Irishman can spring a huge surprise…

It’s a Saturday night in Vegas, it’s a Mayweather Promotions main event and the legendary Floyd Mayweather will walk to the ring a red hot favourite. But that’s where the similarities with an often seen script will end.

This Saturday, the UFC are co-producers and it’s a UFC legend in the opposite corner. Conor McGregor is the first man in UFC history to hold world titles simultaneously at two different weight divisions and is the reigning UFC World Lightweight Champion.

The bold, aggresive, hard-hitting Irishman will enter the ring full of confidence in his ability to end the winning streak of arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing history. No boxer since Muhammed Ali in 1976 has fought an opponent from another combat sport. “The Greatest” fought wrestler Antonio Inoki to a draw in a special rules match back then, but 41 years later, the smart money is on Mayweather to take the spoils this Saturday under Queensberry Rules at the T-Mobile Arena.

The best defensive fighter ever

Mayweather's skills in the ring need no explanation. He is simply the best defensive fighter ever, with a natural ability to make adjustments during a fight to counter anything that has been thrown at him in a perfect 49 fights as a professional, many against the biggest names in boxing. He revels in back foot combat and that's exactly the type of fight he is likely to be involved in this Saturday, as McGregor will go looking for the knock out; his only hope of victory.

It’s all on the line for Pretty Boy, defending his unbeaten record and looking to go one beyond the great Rocky Marciano and out on his own with the best record of all time. This pressure will translate into the ring, with Mayweather typically taking no chances against an opponent who won't match his boxing skills, but who has the power to knock Mayweather out.

Expect Mayweather to establish his jab early, stay out of trouble and open up a comfortable lead in the early rounds. McGregor has never been knocked out in his 24 fight MMA career, so he's unlikely to be toppled early by the 40 year old Mayweather, who has won 23 of his 49 fights by decision and hasn't stopped an opponent since Victor Ortiz in 2011.

Will McGregor last the pace?

I expect Mayweather to comprehensively outbox McGregor and land a large percentage of his jabs in the early rounds. McGregor has only gone beyond the 2nd round in 2 of his 24 MMA fights and was undoubtedly telling the truth pre-fight, when he said he would be going for a knock out within 4 rounds. The energy he will expend on this strategy will take its toll in the middle rounds, where I expect McGregor to seriously run out of gas in unchartered territory, as a combination of chasing Mayweather and the punishment from his opponent will wear the Irishman down.

The vastly experienced referee Robert Byrd, veteran of many world title fights, is unlikely to allow McGregor to take undue punishment. An ultra conservative Mayweather approach will give McGregor a chance to last into the later rounds or even get to points, but my money will be on an accumulation of shots from Mayweather ending the fight in these middle rounds and cementing his boxing legacy.

McGregor is used to an anything goes environment where the referee only gets involved once a fighter can take no more. Old habits die hard and various reports have suggested that McGregor has struggled to stay within the rules of boxing in sparring. In the heat of battle, muscle memory, instinct, or sheer frustration at not being able to pin down the crafty head of The Money Team may take over, making a punt on a McGregor DQ worth a look.

Best Bets / Odds for Mayweather Fans

  • Mayweather by KO / TKO or DQ – 4/5 with Betfred (main stake)
  • Mayweather in Rounds 5-8 – 7/2 with Boylesports (medium stake)
  • Mayweather in Round 6 – 16/1 with Betway (small stake)
  • Mayweather by TKO – 9/4 with Unibet
  • Mayweather by Unanimous Decision – 3/1 with Unibet
  • Mayweather in Rounds 9-12 – 19/4 with Unibet
  • Mayweather by DQ oppenent – 9/1 with Bet365

Don't miss the second part of Daniel's big fight preview, especially if you're a fan of McGregor.

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