One on One: Can McGregor punch Mayweather’s lights out?
MMA v boxing. The Notorious v Money. Our writers debate what can realistically happen when two sports collide in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Take it away, chaps…
JG: Koby, I've just seen that Conor McGregor is now as short as to beat Floyd Mayweather.
But surely not even an MMA junkie such as yourself believes he actually has a chance?
KG: Oh, Jackie boy, you really shouldn’t be surprised at the prospect of an ageing, over-the-hill boxer being upset by one of the finest combat athletes the world has ever seen.
We're talking about Mystic Mac here. The man who, when faced with seemingly impossible odds, continually proves everyone wrong.
Does he have a chance? Of course he does.
JG: You're right, McGregor's done some amazing things. In his own sport.
This, in case you hadn’t noticed, is a boxing match against a fighter who's never lost, and, frankly, hasn't even come close to doing so.
World champions who have dedicated their entire lives to boxing haven't been able to touch Mayweather.
What makes you think that McGregor can waltz into the ring for the first time in his life and do something that’s never been done?
KG: Well, let's take a look at these 'world champions'.
Criticism has been aimed at Mayweather – and deservedly – for fighting fighters past their prime.
Oscar De La Hoya was 2-2 in his four fights pre-Mayweather, Shane Mosley was pushing almost 40, and don't get me started on Zab Judah, who was notorious (excuse the pun) for losing the biggest fights of his career.
Put that together with boxing’s questionable pound-for-pound rankings, and we're left with a far more compelling argument: why Conor McGregor has more than a puncher's chance at punching Mayweather's lights out.
We haven't even started talking about the age and reach deficit yet. I can't wait.
JG: It’s easy to pick apart any boxer’s résumé. I’d do the same to McGregor if he actually had one.
Unfortunately, though, what you say about Mayweather is complete bollocks.
You don’t win 49 consecutive fights and 15 world titles in four weight classes without being one of the best ever.
Mayweather’s beaten everyone in front of him: the legends, the stars of tomorrow, big punchers, speed merchants – the lot.
McGregor’s left hand means he has a puncher’s chance, but he actually needs to land a punch.
Judging by the limited footage we’ve seen of him training, he doesn’t have the skills to do that. I’d be amazed if he won a round.
This is going to be so uncompetitive that, if we’re judging it on purely sporting terms, it shouldn’t really be going ahead.
If Mayweather still cared about knocking people out, I’d fear for McGregor’s well-being.
KG: Hold your horses there, Tex. Let’s not ignore the fact that Mayweather’s wins in different weight classes were not without controversy.
Even his victory over Juan Manuel Marquez isn't devoid of criticism after analysis, something that you're avoiding with that gigantic paint brush that you're using to gloss over his career with.
Marquez, who is world class, was undersized by two weight classes for the bout, while Mayweather didn't even make weight.
This isn't an isolated advantage, either. Size is a recurring factor in Mayweather's career and he regularly ensured that he was boxing fighters where he had the clear physical advantage.
You can't ignore McGregor’s own attributes. He's 11 years younger, significantly the bigger man and is carrying a two-inch reach advantage. You harp on about his lack of experience, but that might actually be an asset.
Mayweather is used to fighting boxers, not MMA fighters who have a diverse skillset, some of which will be applicable in this fight.
McGregor's use of the clinch alone will be far more advanced than anything Mayweather has faced before, not to mention his unorthodox movement.
It's short-sighted to suggest that McGregor will be ineffectual in the fight.
Seeing as you lost your glasses at the weekend, I’ll let you off.
JG: Speaking of specs, I’d suggest you invest in a pair after seeing that Crocodile Dundee shirt you rocked last week.
KG: Hey, steady on. Paul Hogan’s a national treasure.
JG: Anyway, we digress.
I’m not sure how you can try to portray someone who moved up four divisions and 24 pounds over the course of his career as some kind of bully who cherry-picked little guys.
You’re conveniently ignoring the times he outclassed and beat up De La Hoya and Canelo Alvarez, both of whom are just as big and strong as McGregor.
If you want to talk about physical advantages, let’s address the most important one: stamina.
McGregor totally gassed out in the second round of both his fights against Nate Diaz. He gave up the first time and was lucky to escape in the rematch when he’d supposedly been working on his conditioning.
You can run away for a round after 10 minutes in the UFC, but that won’t fly in the boxing ring against a master of footwork like Mayweather.
He’ll rip McGregor’s body, come on stronger in the middle rounds and the towel will be thrown in by the 10th.
You know it makes sense.
KG: Look, we could talk about the differences between the cardio exhibited in MMA v the compact movement in boxing forever.
What we should talk about, however, is the fact that McGregor was fighting at his heaviest ever weight in both fights against Nate Diaz, who, let’s not forget, he beat in their second meeting.
We should also reference Mayweather’s brittle hands, his two-year lay-off and a variety of questionable fight choices that, regardless of how little credibility you claim they have, have otherwise been widely reported over the years.
When it's all said and done, we're going to see a boxer with skills that can't be denied face a world-class striker who has nothing to lose.
I'm hoping that we'll see the biggest upset in boxing history. And McGregor has the left to do it.
JG: He'll need more than a left. He'll need a miracle.