Floyd Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) vs. Conor McGregor (Pro Debut)
When: Saturday, August 26, 2017
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Weight Class: Super Welterweight: 154 Pounds
by Scott of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Floyd Mayweather -500, Conor McGregor +350
Floyd Mayweather takes on Conor McGregor on August 26 in a huge boxing vs. MMA extravaganza from Las Vegas. It will be a 12-round boxing match held in the ring using 10-ounce gloves. Its one of those weird novelty sports events that pops up every so often. But it will still stir up considerable interest and debate. Mayweather is emerging from a 2-year retirement and looks to go to 50-0 against the debuting McGregor, a decorated MMA double-champion who is making his first appearance in a pro boxing ring.
The thing that makes this fight tricky to handicap is that its so unusuala pound-for-pound boxing legend coming out of retirement to face a decorated MMA fighter in his first pro fight. The lines along which most boxing analyses are made wont work as well for this fight, as a different approach is necessary. While there have been MMA vs. boxing fights before, most of those were in the cage. At this or anywhere near this level, a matchup of this caliber between a boxer and mixed martial artist is unprecedented.
One thing McGregor, who will be 29 by fight-night, has going for him is that he has depended a lot on his fists to achieve MMA glory. Its not like hes a guy who depended on his ground-game to get to this point. Nice hands have gotten him to this spot and hes hoping it can get him the unlikely win against Mayweather. But the playing field is a bit different. Fighting in a ring is a different look, as will be fighting with 10 ounce gloves. And then you have the rounds. Conor has gone five rounds in MMA just once. This is a 12-rounder. And while the rounds are only three minutes instead of five, its definitely a different-feeling dynamic, especially if the fight drags on to the latter rounds.
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One of McGregors main issues is his stamina. He has gotten tired before in fights. Some might say a Mayweather fight will have a more-relaxed feel to it and that Conor will be able to better conserve his energy. But that ignores the inherent mental pressure Mayweather puts on his opponents. While a typical Mayweather fight is not the most taxing physical task in combat sports, the newness of fighting a fighter of Mayweathers caliber in his first pro fight could have a sapping affect on McGregor. This is Mayweathers domain. He will be the more-relaxed one.
Those who are hoping for a McGregor win are not without hope, however. Fighters who are retired are seldom as good as they once were when they do return. Floyd is now 40 years old and while recent fighters have thrived at that age, not all of them do. We did see Floyd taking more shots toward the end. In other words, there have been fighters who fought great at this age. But its never really any kind of slam-dunk when a 40-year old gets in the ring. Can you name a 40-year old youve seen climb into the ring against a dangerous fighter where it was a foregone conclusion he was going to win?
Mayweather has done well against southpaws, but Conor will provide an outside of the box look for Floyd. That straight left of McGregors is not something Floyd has seen a lot of in his career. With that Mayweather shoulder-roll, hes more adept at blocking right hand power-shots. So there is some daylight for McGregor. Maybe hes just the kind of X-factor that can trouble a master like Mayweather. All boxers operate within a certain framework and maybe McGregor will give Mayweather a different look.
We also cant deny that McGregor has a certain element of magic in that left hand. Obviously, landing it flush with 4-ounce gloves on UFC fighters and landing it with gloves over twice that size on the best boxer of the generation are two totally different things. But it gives this fight a real element of danger for Mayweather, who seems to hold all of the other measurable advantages. If theres one attribute that can render all the other ones mootits fight-ending power. Perhaps McGregor will also be able to remain in the fight with Floyd having stopped just two of his last 14 opponents, one of those being a little iffy.
It is also fair to take McGregors fighting spirit and mentality into account. He has a pretty extreme frame-of-mind and could be the type of guy to have some kind of Rocky Balboa moment. He went from a nobody to the preeminent MMA superstar in fairly short order. That takes ability and a definite level of greatness. And he didnt do it with ground game. He did it mostly with his fists and his mind-power.
I think the danger of betting this fight is that people will bet their feelings, especially boxing fans. A ton of people feel that as a matter of rule or principle that a debuting pro boxer cannot beat a legend of Mayweathers caliber. Fair enough. It makes a lot of sense. But we dont want to put our money behind that. A fight needs to be looked at individually, not in a thematic way. When a bettor just pushes all his money in the middle on the basis of a debuting fighter not being able to beat an undefeated legend, hes taking the fighters and their particular talents out of the equation. And good boxing bets dont typically follow that recipe.
At the same time, its only fair to look at the gulf of skills and experience for the purposes of this matchup. On one hand, the notion of McGregor switching sports needs to be more-muted than if a basketball player wanted to play pro baseball. Especially in Conors case, a lot of what he did to succeed in MMA transfers to boxing at least theoretically. But boxing up UFC fighters doesnt mean all that much when you have to face Mayweather.
Mayweathers talents are more-subtle. Hes not everyones favorite fighter because his bouts arent always thrilling and his punching power hasnt been much of a factor in the second-half of his career. But he is masterful. He sees everything and can set a man up. He has an innate sense of the angles and pace of a fight, in addition to where he stands at all times. Some say he never gets hit solidly, but he does, as would naturally be the case after two decades of taking on really good fighters. His chin has been excellent and his recuperative powers are just as good. And when it comes to straight boxing, he is advanced as it gets. For years, people have been making a case of why a certain fighter should beat Mayweather and so far, no one has ever cashed in by taking a position against him.
Mayweather might be a flashy fighter and more of a stylist than a puncher, but dont let that impugn the mental strength he has. To take on the best for this long and to always find a route to victory has required him to be extraordinarily tough mentally. He has fought hurt, sick, and with injuries before and always pulled through. And while some might nit-pick about the quality of his opposition in some spots, it shouldnt conceal the fact that he beat a ton of good fighters, with only a small handful of those bouts being even marginally-competitive. Skills aside, were talking about a winner here. And the ability to just win is an attribute in itself, one that McGregor hasnt always shown, with all due respect to his considerable accomplishments.
Conors punching power is a reason to give some pause to a whole-hearted Mayweather endorsement. But its not nearly enough to endorse Conor. You dont get to be Floyd Mayweather by falling prey to an opponents one reliable weapon. His age and inactivity are concerns, but not nearly as big of a worry as Conor being utterly out of his element in terms of overall boxing skill and know-how. Both boxing and beating Floyd are things that look easier than they really are. I see the depth of Mayweathers skills taking McGregor out of the fight somewhere around the ninth round.
My Prediction to Win the Fight:
Im betting on Floyd Mayweather at -500. The boxing legends best asset is simply his ability to cultivate victories. Combine that with his exponentially-greater skills and understanding of boxing and it will be too much for McGregor to overcome. Bet your McGregor/Mayweather pick for FREE by taking advantage of a huge 100% bonus at GTBets!