Tuesday, December 12, 2017
McGregor vs Mayweather
Mandatory Credit: Esther Linn/Showtime/MMAfighting

McGregor vs Mayweather: 4 BIG Misconceptions

Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather is a polarizing topic of debate. Everyone and their dog seems to have an opinon or “insight” as to how this fight is going to go. If you’re Team Mayweather – Conor doesn’t even deserve to be in the ring with a legend like Floyd. If you’re Team McGregor – the tatted Irishman can accomplish anything and will have Mayweather unconscious inside 4 rounds. It’s energizing to see the casual audience (many of whom have never purchased a single boxing or MMA event) express their interest in McGregor vs Mayweather. However, it goes hand in hand with a lot of ridiculous misconceptions about the fight:

1. Conor McGregor is only showing up for the money

McGregor vs Mayweather

Even though he has made a substantial amount fighting in the UFC (more than anybody else to have ever done it), the amount of cash that he’ll be making in this fight is probably the most he’ll get in a single contest – ever. The popular number going around is $100 Million. 

So, it’s very easy to say that McGregor is simply showing up to this fight for the check. If I were in his shoes, I would probably do the same. Maybe I’d go out, swing some haymakers, ultimately lose, and then laugh my way to the bank.

But will McGregor do this? Hell no.

When McGregor was fighting on the regional circuit in Cage Warriors, he had his eyes set on winning two belts in two weight classes. He did that. Then, he had his eyes set on becoming the first Irish champion in the UFC. He did that. Then, he wanted to be the first UFC fighter to hold two belts simultaneously. He recently did that. All within four years.

To say that McGregor is only showing up for the paycheck is such a heavy underestimation of McGregor’s mentality. If you strip away the fame and fortune, McGregor is still a martial artist.

To put things simply – McGregor is coming to win this fight. Confidence has always been an asset of his, and there’s nothing he has said or done that makes me believe he isn’t 100% confident he can win and will win.

McGregor even mentioned being able to beat Mayweather back on the Conan O’Brien show in 2015, before he won the UFC Interim Featherweight Title.

A guy who shows up for a quick pay check, unconfident, unwilling to win would NOT build a custom boxing gym in Ireland, move his entire team to Vegas six weeks early, hire a squad of boxing sparring partners or hire a hall-of-fame boxing referee to work his sparring sessions.

Check out this video and ask if he’s “only in it for the money.”

2. McGregor’s only way to win is with a lucky punch

Even though I don’t believe a “lucky punch” exists (all punches are thrown with intent), I certainly wouldn’t limit McGregor’s only way of winning to pure luck. If McGregor vs Mayweather does end via a decisive KO for Conor, I guarantee you it will be a properly set up punch. A checkmate. No luck involved.

McGregor vs Mayweather

Boxing is inherently more limited and specialized than MMA; the atheletes have less to focus on. In MMA, there are almost too many potential threats which can lead to a lot of chaos. MMA reporter Luke Thomas points out that great MMA fighters are typically able to thrive in the chaos by maintaining control and staying composed which keeps them safe from getting hit with “lucky punches.” The same level of chaos very rarely exists in a boxing match because both athletes are more aware of potential threats. This leads to more chess matches than high-octane brawls. Thus, Mayweather vs McGregor (or any boxing match for this matter) resulting in a “lucky punch” KO is borderline impossible.

A caveat to this is to say, “McGregor only has a puncher’s chance.” The idea of a “puncher’s chance” is another myth in combat sports, but even more so in boxing. The sport is literally the art of punching where punches and only punches are allowed. Therefore every fighter has a “puncher’s chance.”

3. Mayweather has trouble against southpaws and is disadvantaged

One of the on-going narratives surrounding McGregor vs Mayweather is that Mayweather is older, slower, and apparently he struggles with southpaws.

Statistics will support the claim that Floyd gets hit by southpaws more than orthodox fighters. After all, some of Floyd’s worst moments were against southpaws (vs Zab Judah comes to mind). But Mayweather is still 49-0 isn’t he? He might favor fighting orthodox fighters, but isn’t really sufficient evidence to suggest Mayweather will consistently underperform against an opponent because of stance. In the end he’s still able to win at least 7 of the rounds and consequently the fight.

One of Mayweather’s biggest strengths is his mind. He’s thought of to have the highest boxing IQ in the sport, and there’s a strong case for that. Mayweather is almost always able to shut his opponent’s offense down while finding ways to make his offense thrive. It may not result in dramatic finishes, but it’s enough to get the win – even against southpaws.

As far as his age goes, again there is not evidence to think that Floyd is disadvantaged due to his age. Physically, he looks as phenomenal as ever, and his last performances were some of his finest work. I have no doubt this is Mayweather attempting to “even the odds” a bit for better business.

4. McGregor doesn’t know how to box

McGregor vs Mayweather features a guy 0-0 in boxing making his debut against a guy 49-0. On paper, this statistic looks absurd which is why a lot casual fans wonder why this fight is even happening in the first place.

In reality, McGregor does have some experience in training “traditional” boxing. He grew up boxing before he ever took up other martial arts. He eventually discovered taekwondo and jiu-jitsu, and faded out of the boxing ring. However, Conor McGregor was thought of as a skilled boxer even during his early days as in MMA. Now, as the UFC lightweight champion, McGregor’s hands are undoubtedly his best attribute.

McGregor vs Mayweather

If you look at McGregor’s boxing and compare it to other professional boxers, he’s going to look quite unskilled – almost amateurish. That’s because McGregor has no intention of changing his MMA style and replicating that of a professional boxer. Why? Because 49 traditional boxers have tried to beat Mayweather and they’ve all failed. The path to victory for McGregor is to embrace his unorthodox, awkward style and try to create problems for Mayweather that he has never had to face before.

In many ways you can argue that McGregor doesn’t how to box, but that doesn’t close any paths to victory. In my opinion, it opens more.

Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for more analysis of McGregor vs Mayweather coming soon! – Casey

About Casey Hodgin

Casey is a passionate MMA writer and journalism student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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