Does Conor McGregor, an MMA fighter, have a shot inside the boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather, one of the best boxer’s of all time?
That seems to be the most consistent question asked since the Floyd Mayweather v. Conor McGregor bout was announced. It is a fair question, as both styles of fighting are different in their own right. While Conor’s promos after several press conferences may have swayed people, it is his fighting that will do most of the work. As a man who just recently decided to step inside the ring, his chances have gone from, “anything is possible” to Vince McMahon’s theme song, “No Chance in Hell.”
One question that doesn’t seem to be going around is what would a Conor loss mean for MMA? Some say it’s good publicity either way, but the long-term effects could be detrimental to the sport, especially if Conor loses.
What are professionals saying about this? I asked around and found someone who was around boxing for a long time. Howard Dolgon, current owner of the Syracuse Crunch hockey team, has handled PR for numerous World Title boxing matches. He’s worked around fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Riddick Bowe, and Marvin Hagler. I asked him what Conor’s chances were and he didn’t beat around the bush:
“Conor has a 0% chance at winning when it involves boxing. Floyd can knock him out anytime he wants. Unless McGregor surprises everyone, it’s a no-win situation for MMA. These guys are positioned to be the best fighters in the world. Worst case scenario: Within a week, the UFC would have to deal with the embarrassing “Bones” Jones situation while also having your best fighter get humiliated by a 40-year old retired boxer.”
Howard went on to say:
“I honestly believe that the only way this fight goes beyond two rounds is if the combatants have made a side deal with each other. There is no way to believe that McGregor could even beat the 100th rated boxer in his weight class. That’s not a knock on him, but we are talking about two very different fighting disciplines here and you don’t become a championship boxer after an eight week training camp. A loss would have the UFC’s marquee athlete lose his image, and it would be a huge stain on the image of MMA.”
Endurance was also a major reason why Howard believed Floyd would win. The rounds and the minutes of each of them are very different in both sports. Conor isn’t used to it, even if he has gone through training. If the fight is competitive, or even if it goes 12 rounds, then it’s a win for MMA. Howard went on to say the only advantage Conor has would be the 8oz gloves both fighters will be using.
There is an important factor that separates MMA and boxing, and that’s defense. Defense is a big part of the game in boxing, and Floyd is the king of it. Conor has a strong defensive style, but he noticeably puts his hands down, among other things. MMA’s style of defense is also ground based. While Floyd is older, his reflexes are still that of a boxer. In other words, smooth. MMA coach Greg Jackson questioned Conor’s ability to defend himself while praising Floyd. In an interview with Bleacher Report, Jackson stated:
“Mayweather’s not the kind of fighter who ages poorly. He doesn’t have the mileage. A super offensive fighter who doesn’t have great defense—someone like Joe Louis—age catches up with you quick. Floyd’s defensive ability has kept him sharp. Even if his reflexes are gone, he’s so layered and smart. He’s a tricky puzzle.”
Would a loss by Conor expose MMA fighters’ defensive ability, or lack of in this case?
Former World Champion boxer James Toney gave his thoughts on the fight, and he also didn’t give “The Notorious One” a chance. Toney stated there are other factors involved. He believes that Conor wasn’t made for boxing and that he would be swinging for the fences. Conor’s punching style wouldn’t mesh well in today’s age of boxing. With MMA, the style seems wild compared to boxing. One has to wonder if that will play a factor in Saturday night’s fight.
Are McGregor’s chances of winning very low? Yes. Can he pull off an upset? It’s entirely possible? The one thing to remember is how the world of MMA will be affected by this bout. It can either be a moment to remember or the worst possible scenario for a sport looking to show it’s the best thing going. All eyes will be on Conor to unveil it’s fate.