By Jake Collins (@MelncholyFolly)
My tune has remained substantially abhorrent with regards to the Mayweather-McGregor fight. I’ve looked down on any boxing ‘person’ who has given it time of day with venom and passed it off as a money making spunk-bubble of the most grotesque proportions. I’ve tried my best to avoid its chilling embrace amongst the grappling fingers of the Sky marketing machine but alas, too many people are talking about it for me to not write a little something about it. Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.
Before I go into any kind of analysis and the like, let me make one thing clear. ‘Irish blood’ is not a reason to pick someone to win a sporting event, ever. Just stop it. Please. Especially when that person has already lost to someone without the beneficiary of Irish blood. Let me also make something else clear. I’m not really into MMA, just don’t enjoy watching it that much (unless TBE Brock Lesnar is fighting). But that doesn’t matter because this is a boxing fight as opposed to an MMA one, which is something you should consider when picking the winner between an all-time great and a debutant.
During my various discussions with vaulted MMA experts, Conor’s way to win seems to be his straight-left hand which appears to be the hardest punch in the world ever. Chris Van Heerden and Paulie Malinaggi both sparred Conor and said his power was basically kinda decent but that’s it. From all the sparring Conor and Paulie did, there’s something like 30 seconds available during which Conor lands one of those straight-lefts (you know, the one where IT JUST TAKES ONE!) on the retired Paulie (coming off a KO loss to Sam Eggington). Paulie must be on PEDs or something because he somehow bloody stayed on his feet without his head exploding. And Nate Diaz took a lot of them too, but whatever. All the same, credit where it’s due as even in the Van Heerden sparring footage it looks a reasonably decent shot in terms of technique.
Unfortunately for Conor, there are other punches you have to throw and ones you need to avoid. I was particularly impressed to see him gas out on the heavy bag during his media workout – that’s something I don’t think I’ve seen before. Manny Pacquiao (another all-time great) has an excellent straight-left too. Some may argue he is a better boxer than Conor and as every hardcore fan knows Mayweather ALWAYS struggles with southpaws (except, no) but he managed to negate Pacquiao’s danger punch. Also, the ‘beef’ between Malinaggi and McGregor is going to end up with those fighting in the most obvious thing that has ever transpired ever.
Despite ostensible rhetoric from the boxing community, Mayweather has actually been punched a fair bit in his career. He’s even been hurt a few times. However, the guys that have had these modicums of success has been professional boxers themselves, mostly exceptionally good ones. Mayweather’s chin has always stood up to the power though, so I have doubts as to wherever the guy whose Twitter name is 49-1 really ‘knows’ it just takes one! Perhaps I’m wrong. Conor could have success elsewhere too. I’m reliably told that McGregor will be using ‘angles’ which we’ve never seen before. I’m as of yet not been told which angles in particular we haven’t seen but I’m quite looking forward to finding out. Pacquiao was another fighter heralded for his use of angles so hopefully he’s tuning in to pick up some hot tips. It’ll also be interesting to see how McGregor goes from a striking sport which mostly relies on 1-2 combinations to a sport where that’s the bare minimum.
I’ve been disheartened to see so many boxing pundits giving any credence to some of these opinions. Sure, there could be a lucky punch – I don’t doubt that and it ISN’T impossible. But that’s about it. You can’t make a logical prediction because other improbable things have happened in the past. MMA has very different physical requirements in terms of fitness than boxing. The round structuring is totally different and McGregor isn’t noted for his stamina anyway. It’s a big change to your training to go from that to a 12 round boxing fight. A huge change, in fact. I realise people have their products to sell but it really cheapens what passes as ‘analysis’. One in particular who is giving this a fair shake also tipped Brook to get rid of Golovkin early, so perhaps I’m hankering for a world which has already died.
I also don’t really care for the press conferences or anything like that. I’ve never understood why that justifies this fight. This isn’t stand-up comedy. I want my ‘big drama show’ to be in the ring and not whilst two avaricious characters prance about like a pair of pissed Tsars on stage. If that’s your bag then whatever but please don’t allow that to violate your interpretation of this fight. Mayweather is really really good and if you’ve studied his career with the cynicism I have then you’ll know he wouldn’t be taking this fight if it was considered dangerous to his legacy. The reason it isn’t dangerous is because Conor McGregor is not a professional boxer. Yes, I’ve seen the Aldo KO over 9000 times but Mayweather doesn’t charge headfirst at opponents with his chin sticking out like a horny smackhead. Plus they won’t be wearing those MMA gloves either; the damage McGregor thinks he can do will be massively manipulated. And this is without going into the difference in ring IQ, fighting off the ropes (cages don’t have ropes, my dudes) and a myriad of other things McGregor needs to get to grips with. Mayweather IS 40, that’s true. But he’s always kept himself in great shape and his conditioning has always been spot on. There’s no way he’d have deteriorated enough for this to be an even fight.
If you push me for a prediction, I’ll take a Mayweather stoppage. Conor has a pretty weird body shape that is quite top heavy. He doesn’t have great stamina and the bulk of his body mass isn’t around the lower parts. He also won’t be used to inside fighting or protecting his body. Everything is screaming for Mayweather to tag a gassing McGregor to the body and him not getting back up. Mayweather has a superb jab to the body too and that tank will run out fast, especially if Conor is going to come out aggressive and use all those crazy angles. This is his first proper boxing fight. As someone correctly pointed out on Twitter, genuinely world class Lomachenko was unable to beat established veteran Salido in his SECOND pro fight, after an incredible amateur career. Just some food for though. Although when I look at the odds for this fight and consider where I’ll be putting my money, I’d implore you to consider that all it takes is just one straight-left…by