This is a two-part series. This piece discusses why Conor McGregor beats Floyd Mayweather. Check out the other piece which discusses how he will do it. Don’t forget to tell me how wrong I am at @GMS_CaseyHodgin
On August 26th, an MMA superstar will lace up the boxing gloves for a go at one of the sport’s greatest competitors. If Conor McGregor beats Floyd Mayweather, it will not only be the biggest upset in combat sports history, but it will spark a (r)evolution of fight analysis. I am thoroughly convinced that this will happen, and I hope you read all the way through to understand why:
Why Conor McGregor beats Floyd Mayweather
‘He doesn’t box’
Great people from across the sports landscape from David Haye to Manny Pacquiao to Max Kellerman to the great Teddy Atlas ridiculed McGregor’s chances. They made fun of his fundamentals, technique, warm up routine, claiming he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
What they did is look at McGregor through the lens of traditional boxing. They looked at the way McGregor approaches boxing, and compared it to what they know as “boxing”. When they looked at McGregor and saw differences, they came to the conclusion that what McGregor does is bad and what the other professional boxers do is good. Using this logic, they are correct; McGregor’s boxing is poor – probably amateurish. However, what they fail to realize is this:
McGregor is not trying to be the better boxer; he only needs to beat the boxer.
McGregor will never win this fight if he steps into the ring and tries to be a better boxer than Mayweather – the skill differential is too steep. Mayweather has spent over twenty years programming his body and brain to operate with near-perfect technique, reaction time, and problem solving. There has never been a boxer that Mayweather hasn’t been able to solve, shut down, and defeat. But that’s the problem – he has only fought boxers.
What is “boxing”?
Boxing is nothing more than two men in a ring who fight each other strictly using punches above the belt. Over time, boxing has defined itself stricter and stricter. It has become a specialized meta, a “sweet science”, and has moved itself from being a martial art to an institution. We no longer see ground-breaking evolution, new answers to new questions. Instead, we see refinement – better versions of old answers to any and all questions.
“Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.” – Bruce Lee
The boxing world has agreed on what constitutes “good boxing”, and these have been perceived as not just the correct way to box, but the best way to box …
For example, boxing says:
- You must keep your gloves up.
- Don’t over-extend when throwing punches.
- Never back yourself in the corner
None of these are actual rules, yet virtually every boxer follows them or atleast respects them. By doing so, it can rob a fighter of exploring new ways of fighting.
- Dropping the gloves allows punches to come unseen angles.
- Over-extending allows for extended reach on straight shots.
- Backing into the corner baits opponents into predictable attacks.
In reality, boxing is very broad and can be approached infinite ways resulting in success. Of course, there are ways scientifically proven to be more “efficient”, but a person who blurs the line between what is correct and incorrect (according to a boxer) can potentially have a greater chance of success than one who stays within the boundaries. Furthermore, a boxer who has spent 20+ years competing against other boxers is neurologically programmed to expect certain movements out of his opponent, but what happens when the opponent doesn’t do what is expected?
Evolution in MMA
We are all too accustomed to evolution in MMA already. One style or technique comes along and begins to have success, fighters start to adopt it, and then someone figures out how to beat it.
In the early days of MMA, Royce Gracie presented the unsolvable problem of jiu-jitsu. As other fighters began to adopt it and train it, it started to become THE THING to do. Fighters eventually found workarounds in the way of wrestling; they were able to snuff out jiu-jitsu with suffocating top games and mindful submission defense. Then, we saw the age of the sprawl-and-brawler; they were able to avoid take downs all together and overwhelm susceptible opponents with aggressive striking. This prompted fighters to fine-tune their counter-striking and learn how to deal with aggressive opponents.
MMA has continued to evolve to the point where you can no longer label fighters by a style – they are mixed-martial artists. It is ever-evolving with new problems arising every year, and answers soon to follow.
Evolution in Boxing
The same level of evolution is absent in the sport of boxing. Instead, there is refinement. It’s so refined that bouts at the highest level don’t come down to whether a fighter has an answer to a certain technique or not. Rather, it comes down to who anticipates and responds faster. There’s no mystery, there’s no new strategy – just read and respond. It becomes a high level chess match where everyone knows eachother’s tricks, but in the end, they’re still playing the same game.
A lot of this is attributed to the fact boxing is inherently more reduced than MMA. However, this is the challenge that McGregor will be taking on. We’ve seen him evolve the MMA world with his approaches to fight preparation, visualization, movement training, counter-striking, etc. And on August 26th, Conor McGregor will attempt to evolve the sport of boxing.
He will be playing a different game against Mayweather. The pressure will be on Mayweather to try and adapt to the unconventional, against-the-book approach of McGregor.
So how will a 29-year-old, heavily tattooed Irishman go about evolving the sport of boxing? Well, knocking out one of the sport’s greatest of all time in your attempt is one way. This is what McGregor will attempt, and I believe Conor McGregor beats Floyd Mayweather.
Credit where credit is due:
A lot of the concepts I bring up in this piece come from fight analyst Robin Black. Check him out on his YouTube channel here.
Thank you so much for reading this piece. Please, if you haven’t, go read the other part of this series which discusses how Conor McGregor beats Floyd Mayweather.
Whether you think I’m right or wrong, I want to hear it – follow me on Twitter at @GMS_CaseyHodgin
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- WHY Conor McGregor Beats Floyd Mayweather - August 23, 2017
- McGregor vs Mayweather: 4 BIG Misconceptions - August 15, 2017
- Paulie Malignaggi vs Conor McGregor Boxing Sparring - August 5, 2017
- UFC 214 Results: Jones vs Cormier 2 Next Fights - July 30, 2017
- RUMOR DEBUNKED: Conor McGregor Knocked Out In Sparring - July 17, 2017
- MayMac Tour Recap: The Good, Bad, and Ugly - July 15, 2017
- UFC 213 Results: Robert Whittaker Snags Title - July 9, 2017