IN Part 1 of his big-fight preview, fight fan Daniel Cox mapped out why Floyd Mayweather is the clear favourite to topple Conor McGregor but he can also see why some people can see the Irishman causing an upset. Here is his case for McGregor…
So where does that leave the legions of McGregor fans out there? Or betting fans who want a longer odds return at the end of a marathon Saturday night of boxing? Fear not, for there is a case to be made for the Notorious One, who has consistently backed up his trash talk in the Octagon with a seriously strong knock out record. 18 of his 21 victories have come inside the distance, 16 of those from punches – all within the 1st or 2nd round. A boxing novice he may be, but inexperienced with his fists he most certainly is not.
McGregor has to exploit slow starting Mayweather
The early rounds are the key to this fight for McGregor. If there is a chink in the Mayweather armour, it's that he can be said to be a slow starter and less accomplished against the southpaw. Many of his fights go the distance and of his 30 fights from 1999 onwards, only 2 have finished before the bell to end the 6th round.
It will be almost 2 years since Pretty Boy last stepped into the ring and the Notorious One has to exploit any ring rust his opponent may have before Mayweather gets into his groove.
How does McGregor get to the most evasive boxer of all time? There are two answers to that question. The first is McGregor is an MMA professional who is used to fighting in the clinch. He has shown an ability throughout his MMA career to neutralise his opponent up close whilst still being able to deploy his own knock out shots.
The use of 8oz gloves in this fight instead of the 10oz gloves Mayweather has used in many of his other fights at lower weights will also play to McGregor’s strength as Mayweather will feel his punches more. As the naturally bigger man, who will be the bigger on the night of the fight after he adds much of the recently reported 10lbs he needs to shed for Friday's 154lbs weigh in, McGregor will look to use his strength and size to rough Pretty Boy up.
This is McGregor’s natural fighting weight, 1lb shy of UFC Lightweight, where he is current champion. McGregor has shown natural speed at this weight and can get close to Mayweather to try and smother Money and utilise his inside fighting skills.
Robert Byrd is seen as a referee who allows the fighters to work on the inside, often keeping a respectful distance, using his voice to command the bout and make boxers break. McGregor is therefore likely to have some leeway to get to Mayweather on the inside, but must be wary of getting on the wrong side of the referee.
McGregor should keep his distance and avoid going the distance
The second answer, is that McGregor doesn't need to get near Mayweather. The Notorious One's most potent weapon is his pull-back left hand counter, widely regarded as one of MMAs most destructive power shots. It is delivered almost at full stretch as the Notorious One moves back to avoid a punch from his opponent. The power comes at the end of this punch – with a height and reach advantage over Mayweather, McGregor is therefore capable of landing a knock out blow from close up and at range.
It would do a disservice to the variety of the Notorious One's combat skills to say he simply has a puncher’s chance against Mayweather.
He won't outbox Pretty Boy, but he can certainly knock him out. If he is to provide the thousands of fight fans in Vegas and the millions watching worldwide with an upset for the ages, he'll most likely have to do it early.
The quality on show on the undercard should ensure this is a worthwhile night of boxing. Whether the main event ends up being anything more than a spectacle remains to be seen. Whoever you’re backing, lets hope it's the bookies who take the beating of the night.
Good luck fight fans!