We asked the boxing community – a selection of current pros, former pros, coaches and analysts – for their take on this Saturday’s hybrid super-fight between boxer Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial artist Conor McGregor. Here’s what they had to say about a spectacle that has the whole world talking…
Check out part 1 to read predictions from the MMA community.
Former world heavyweight champion
People will pay for anything. If two people are fighting, people will pay for it. I don’t believe it can ruin boxing at all. Only way it can ruin boxing is if McGregor goes and outboxes Floyd but he’s going to look really ridiculous boxing him.
Former world heavyweight champion
A professor of the sport of boxing against the professor of another sport. But McGregor, the MMA guy, is trying to come in and be the master of another sport. It’s no contest.
Eight-weight world boxing champion, former Mayweather opponent
I can say Floyd Mayweather will win because the fight is in boxing, not MMA. So the advantage is with Floyd. I’m hoping it’s not going to be a boring fight. We’ll see.
Chris van Heerden
Former IBO welterweight boxing champion
When I sparred Conor, I could see Conor isn’t a professional boxer because of stuff like defense, head movement and the placing of his feet. He moves beautifully in the ring, but the placement of his feet is not up to date with a professional boxer. A pro puts together combinations. We think ahead. I feel MMA fighters just let go of the one-two or the straight left. They do not put the combinations together as a professional boxer does.
I believe Conor McGregor could hold his ground with some pro fighters out there. Let’s say a guy with 10 fights. Conor would do pretty well. Will Conor beat Mayweather? Never. What are his chances? A puncher’s chance. He lands one wild swing, a lucky big shot – that is his only chance. He doesn’t even win a round against Mayweather.
HBO Boxing analyst
There are probably 10,000 mixed martial artists who could beat Mayweather and 10,000 boxers who could beat McGregor. But it’s something people want to see happen. Maybe they want to see someone mess up Mayweather in some way. There’s a lot of curiosity and it seems to have caught fire.
If the chance is a million to one, what is the real chance? You can never say it’s zero, but my expectation is that Mayweather will frustrate McGregor and McGregor will struggle to land much and there will be a lot of clinching and finally MCGregor will foul him and that will be the end of the fight. I think that the most likely end is a DQ. I wish they would put that up on the odds boards. I’d take my shot at a DQ.
Former WBO world heavyweight champion
It will be like taking the best basketball shooting guard in high school in the entire United States and putting him against a prime Michael Jordan in a one-on-one situation. Boxing and MMA are two totally different genres. Boxing is a specialisation of the hands and the feet and the strategy of hitting and not getting hit. MMA is a more wide range of things from kung-fu to jiu-jitsu. It includes everything.
Even if McGregor was the hardest puncher in the world, which he isn’t, do you think that just because he’s able to fire a hockey puck 200 miles per hour he’s going to win a PGA tournament against a prime Tiger Woods? No, man. In the words of Don King, his chances are slim to none and slim is out of town.
Mayweather’s going to knock McGregor out. This fight won’t go past six or seven rounds. McGregor will find himself in over his head. He’ll be fighting off of heart. Once he realises his skills don’t matter, he’s going to resort to heart, like any man should. He’s going to try and stand his ground and he’ll go out fighting. McGregor is no joke in terms of the MMA world, but he’s in a whole different world now. He’s not in a pond with fresh water. He’s about to enter the ocean with a killer whale. He might have been the big cat fish in the fresh water pond, but we’re talking about a killer whale here.
Floyd Mayweather, love him or hate him, is one of the greatest fighters inside the ring the world has ever seen. How could you think for one second a guy like Conor McGregor would stand a chance? If I was a loyal fan, I’d be all about McGregor. I’d say he’s going to win. But let’s be real here.
It’s true he has a puncher’s chance, but so did every great boxer Mayweather has fought, from Jose Luis Castillo to Manny Pacquiao. You saw how they fared. If Manny Pacquiao, as great as he is, couldn’t beat Floyd Mayweather, why do you think a dude who ain’t even had an amateur fight is going to win?
Irish southpaw and former WBO world middleweight champion
It’s an easy night for Mayweather. He’ll sit back, pick McGregor off and more than likely won’t get hit with a meaningful punch all night. The question is, can Mayweather stop McGregor? Floyd doesn’t seem to have KO power at 154lbs, so there’s a good chance McGregor will go the distance and, if he does, I guess that’s some kind of moral victory.
It’s a no-lose situation for McGregor. No one expects him to win or for it to be even close. But both men’s love of money is apparent and that’s the reason this ‘fight’ is happening. On some level you have to respect them. If they can make that money then why shouldn’t they? Most boxers toil and struggle their whole career and in the end have nothing to show for it.
Coach of three world champions
Conor McGregor will miss all night except for a few cuffing shots. Floyd Mayweather will shoulder-roll and pout for 36 minutes, all the while periodically stabbing McGregor with right hand prods. He won’t stop him, though. He’ll be too wary of the leg sweep and rear-naked choke. Or something like that.
The excitement of the crowd will fade after the ring walk adrenaline settles down – approximately by round three – and it will all culminate in a you’ve-done-me-again expression on the faces of everyone at the final bell. That said, people should not complain about this fight being made. It literally won’t harm anyone.
Former WBA world super-lightweight title challenger and Floyd Mayweather sparring partner
No matter what anyone says, Mayweather vs. McGregor is the boxing event of the year. You have boxing fans and UFC fans coming together to create up to $500 million dollars for the fighters and the city of Las Vegas. Floyd Mayweather fights are major events. There’s nothing like it.
I’m glad he’s back. I’ve missed watching him in training camp for the last two years. There have been many big fights in Las Vegas since Floyd retired and none have matched the buzz Floyd brings to the city.
Floyd has faced and beaten the best of his era: Miguel Cotto, Diego Corrales, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Zab Judah, Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao to name a few. In my opinion, Conor doesn’t have a chance. But the build-up will be worth the PPV price or the fight ticket.
I don’t like to predict how fights will end, but it’s very possible Floyd stops Conor. A win is a win. I haven’t seen the odds to the fight but bookmakers don’t know much about boxing. There’s no boxer alive with Floyd’s experience or pedigree. That’s a fact. He doesn’t get the praise his achievements deserve.
Former WBC world cruiserweight champion
If this was in a cage it would be over within a minute. McGregor would grab hold of Mayweather and eat him alive. He’d hurt Floyd with those four-ounce gloves on. He’d do damage. But it’s not in a cage, it’s in a boxing ring. Everybody says, “What if he catches him?” But by saying that people are basically trying to tell me that Conor McGregor hits harder than a prime Miguel Cotto or Shane Mosley or Canelo Alvarez. It’s unrealistic. He hasn’t got four-ounce gloves on, he’s got eight-ounce gloves on. He’s going to be in for a shock. He’ll also be shocked by how fast Floyd is. There’s a huge difference between MMA type hands and a boxer’s hands. They are worlds apart.
I’ll be amazed if this goes twelve rounds. With all due respect, Conor McGregor has found it hard in long-ish fights in the Octagon. He was breathing heavily in both fights with Nate Diaz. He struggled with the pace.
Even though he’s getting older, Mayweather is still going to win any way he wants. He can stand in the pocket and go toe-to-toe with McGregor. He’ll make Conor miss and hurt him with every shot he lands.