The moment is upon us. The biggest sports event of the year, decade perhaps, ever takes place in Las Vegas. ‘The Money Fight’ between unbeaten American boxer Floyd Mayweather and UFC mega-star Conor McGregor is estimated to generate $600 million. The name clearly fits. Behind the numbers the fight itself is a real mystery. McGregor will lace up boxing gloves for the first time in a professional bout in his career and is an unknown quantity. Mayweather knows this game like the back of his hand. It should be a forgone conclusion. It’s not. We look at some major points that will effect the fight.
This is where McGregor is so good. Reflecting on his major victory against Jose Aldo at UFC 194 it is fair to say the Irishman had won that fight before it began. He broke Aldo down in the build up and the Brazilian MMA legend never seemed keen on the fight. Mayweather is no slouch in this department. His antics were more outlandish in the earlier days of his career however. Who has got the upper hand in this build up?
It has been really even. McGregor has tried to get under Mayweather’s skin. It does not seem to have had the desired effect. Mayweather has taken a more composed approach to the build up. He has said that he would fight McGregor in an octagon, which is just never going to happen. These comments are just to sell the fight. The mind games in the build up have on the whole been even and neither fighter has got the upper hand.
One thing that everybody must concede is that McGregor carries immense power in his left hand. His UFC success has largely been based on this attribute. In the octagon and wearing 4 ounce gloves it seems effortless the way McGregor hurts his opponent with his power.
The move down to 8 ounce gloves from 10 have added fuel to the fire. It is widely accepted that this plays into the Irishman’s hands. He has taken his perdition down from a 4 round knockout to a 2 round knockout. If McGregor can have consistence clean success he will most definitely hurt Mayweather.
Directly opposing the power of his opponent Mayweather’s defensive style is vital to him becoming 50-0. The power of the 2 weight UFC world champion is obsolete if he cannot hit ‘The Best Ever’.
It has been said that Mayweather struggles against southpaws. The boxer is quick to remind everybody that he has not lost against a lefty whenever faced with this question. However, Mayweather’s preferred defensive style the shoulder role can be exposed by a straight left hand. If Mayweather can avoid too much punishment he could cruise through the fight. Being 23 months out of the competitive action could harm his elusiveness. That is what makes this fight so exciting.
McGregor is obsessed with the movements of a human body. His movement training is unique which makes him unorthodox. He has an understanding of boxing and multiple other fighting disciplines. This means that his stance may be completely different to an orthodox boxing one and the way he moves will be something Floyd has never seen before.
It is important to remember that this is a boxing match. McGregors movement excels in the UFC because of the variety of attacks a fighter can throw. This is a restricted discipline and may negate the effectiveness of McGregor’s brilliant movement.
Perhaps the biggest question mark over the returning undefeated fighter is his age. A 40 year old man going up against a 29 year old – there should be no contest. Mayweather is still in great shape and weighed in at 149 pounds, 6 under the weight the fight will be competed at. If McGregor can move forward and use his size Mayweather’s age could catch up with him.
With age comes experience and there are few scenarios that ‘The Best Ever’ has not seen. He has made great fighters look like novices during his career now he is in there with an inexperienced boxer. McGregor is a fighter and will be competitive in any fighting contest.
All in all this is going to be the most watched fight in history. Both guys attract fans for different reasons. There are two questions this fight essentially boils down to. How good is Mayweather at 40 and after 23 months out of the ring? If he took this fight straight after victory 49 against Andre Berto it would not be competitive. Mayweather was in his zone and sharp. Will he show ring rust? More than likely no. He would not have taken this fight if he knew his skills had diminished. He is not a stupid man. He has always taken fight he knew he could win.
The second issue that will decide the fight is the size difference. McGregor weighed in at 153 and Mayweather 149. ‘Money’ looked as if he was at his peek. McGregor will gain weight before they come toe to toe. The Irishman has said he will probably come in at around 170. If he can get inside and use his size in a clinch against the older Mayweather it will increase pressure on the undefeated boxer and test his ageing legs.
Whatever happens on the night this will be an event like no other. A win for either man will be possible and it is less clean cut that many boxing analysts have made out. As a fan all you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride. The world of combat sports has never seen anything like this and it will not for sometime.