In the last week of August a fight will take place that seemed impossible right up until the day it was announced. Floyd Mayweather would come out of retirement to face a fighter that has never competed in a professional boxing match. Connor McGregor will make the switch from mixed martial arts to compete under the Queensberry Rules. There are countless variables that make this encounter unique. Giving McGregor’s rapid rise to the top, has he already won? As he said on the world tour, four years ago he fought in front of 500 fans in London. Now look at him. The expectation is well and truly on his American opponent. Making this a free hit for ‘Notorious’ to pull off what no man has been able to do in over two decades.
Lets not get ahead of ourselves. McGregor has a lot to do. His style in the UFC is founded on striking, making the transition to boxing easier than the majority of the UFC roster. He throws powerful and precise left hands that have seen off top competitors in his usual promotion.
This is a whole different ball game. He faces a boxer who has taken less punishment in his 49 professional bouts than some boxers take in one. On fight night McGregor will have to have a game plan that exploits weaknesses in ‘Money’ Mayweather’s technique. Obviously before this he will have to find some first. The common consensus is that the Irishman will have to fight with a high intense style to put Mayweather on the back foot and put his great defensive skills to the ultimate test. Mayweather has fought opponents who have this style before.
Ricky Hatton made the trip to America to implement his rough and ready style on the slick American, that did not workrough and ready style on the slick American, that did not work. Manny Pacquiao got his chance, too late admittedly, he was schooled by Mayweather. Oscar De La Hoya rough Mayweather up a little bit in their 2007 fight, Mayweather stayed strong and even though he was pushed he came out victories.
McGregor also has to be aware of the increased duration of the fight. He may be younger but even in the UFC he has question marks over his ability to go the distance. The fight is eleven minutes longer and Mayweather is more accustomed to going all the way. McGregor has to be patient. He has to pick his times to work and fight on the inside. His strengths are to fight at distance and get the most out of his big left hand.
Many point to the age difference between the two fighters and while McGregor’s age and relevance have helped him in the build up the youth of Saul Canelo Alvarez did not help him. He was schooled by the unbeaten boxer. Mayweather has been out for some time which will raise questions over his sharpness. It will be just under two years when the two meet that Mayweather last competed. McGregor will have to test this if he has any chance to win.
So why has McGregor won already if everything seems to be in Mayweather’s favour? McGregor would succeed in anything he does. He has the mindset of a champion and he would not take an opportunity if he genuinely believed he could triumph. He is very rarely wrong. His predictions are legendary in the UFC. His self confidence is something that Mayweather has not faced before. Mayweather cannot break McGregor in the build up, he will not be able to do the same in the ring. Whatever happens in the ring Mayweather will be tested.
Even in the build up he has improved his reputation. He is a trash talker. Simple. He loves it and it shows. He ‘does not give a f***!’ and he proves that in his action. He is simply there to cause chaos and get under peoples skin. It works. Who knows if it will have an affect on the fight. Who cares? It’s a joy to watch. He has certainly put Mayweather on the back foot. McGregor is the main attraction at the press conferences. His quotes are repeated and worked into montages on YouTube. He has delivered in that aspect already. Can he deliver in the ring?
Why not? He is the bigger man. His reach is massive and he will have to use this to his advantage. ‘The Notorious’ is also superior in the power department. If you think of the fight you cannot see Mayweather hurting his opponent. If McGregor does land he will hurt Mayweather. That’s the difference. Does Mayweather have the power to stop McGregor coming forward? The UFC is far more brutal than boxing and the first two weight World champion of the company is accustomed to taking more punishment than Floyd can dish out.
McGregor’s movement is a joy yo behold. He is dynamic, quick and unique in the way he stalks his opponent. Mayweather will never have faced somebody like this before. It will be interesting to the style McGregor employs in the ring. Surely he will have to have his guard a little higher as the fighting range in boxing is closer. His reactions are second to non but even he will have to cover up a little bit more. The Irish fighter throws punches from everywhere and the fact he is a southpaw increases the problems for his opponent.
Connor McGregor is a once in a generation fighter, as is his opponent. That is why the fight is such a spectacle. It is the kind of fight that very rarely happens and it is taking place because of the UFC fighter. He has chased this. He has worked for this. He is hungry for this. These three points could be the difference on the night. Who needs this fight more? This is a man risking his legacy and a man fighting to make one. ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor has everything to achieve in this scenario, can he take it? It would not surprise us if he did.