By Gary Todd
To be honest, I wasn’t going to write anything for this fight. When the hype started, I battled to watch it, but I did, and I thought the whole thing was a disgrace. I said I wouldn’t be watching anymore, but I did. I have been involved in the sport of boxing for over three decades, and I have covered major fights all over the world, and through the years, I’ve been lucky to have witnessed great champions, fighting in tremendous battles. Boxing has been a huge part of my life.
When the concept of this fight was announced, I said it would never happen, and although I thought Mayweather would definitely come back again to get his 50th win, I couldn’t believe it would be against the Irish UFC martial artist. The media bought into this, the UFC did what they do so well, and McGregor and White were unstoppable in talking it up. Mayweather started off ever so slowly , but eventually, he had no choice but to play catch up, kicking in, with his own style of trash talk. It was American wrestling”SummerSlam” trash at its best. We all watched.
Once the media promotional tour was over, both fighters immediately went into camp. It was 9 weeks out, and for Mayweather, it was business as usual, and as he said, “hard work” was the key ingredient for his success . McGregor on the other hand, would be adapting to the sport of boxing, no spinning kicks, no grappling, no choking , no groundwork, and no 4oz gloves.
I have no doubt, McGregor will train harder than ever before, as he knows he has to. The UFC fighters are disciplined, committed athletes, and when they fight, you know they have prepared their bodies well . McGregor will be at his peak, both mentally and physically. The issue I have with this whole thing is, why? Of course its money, and greed, and power. All the things, that make our world go around.
Take away the hundreds of millions, what have we got as fans? We have an ageing champion in Mayweather, who has done everything in boxing, who has made close to a billion dollars over a 20 year career, and in that career, he has faced multiple world champions, and made them look pretty average doing so. He has beaten a wide variety of big punching, highly skilled, ring savvy , experienced boxers and they all failed to take his O. For a champion to come back from a 2 year vacation, to fight a boxing novice in Conor McGregor is embarrassing to the sport of boxing.
There has been a bit of talk about the Irishman , boxing in the amateurs, fighting out of the Crumlin boxing club in Dublin, but it’s just more talk . I brought the champion fighters and coaches from the Crumlin boxing club, to Sydney, Australia , 3 years in a row to fight the Australian national team, and Conor wasn’t mentioned once, nor was he invited. If you watch the footage on you tube of McGregor working the bag, it shows a man who has a lot to learn , with regards to timing, stance, and just throwing punches correctly. Can it be he is a master of illusion, a master of disguising his real skills as a boxer, or is he so caught up in his own ego , that he actually thinks he can box.
To call McGregor a “king” of his sport, this is disrespecting all the current UFC champions, as to be the best of the best, you would surely need to have been undefeated, had years in fighting the elite of the sport, and not been submitted so easily . If you look at his record, McGregor has done none of these.
I remember I travelled to Vegas in 2000, to cover the “ undisputed “ , heavyweight title fight between David Tua, and Lennox Lewis, and flying over, I had great expectations for the Samoan puncher. Up to this point in his career, Tua had been violently knocking out his opponents , mostly using his huge and wild left hook. Really, only Ike Ibeabuchi had been able to handle his power, and I thought this power, and his tremendous chin, with his left hook would rattle the champion. I arrived at the Mandalay Bay, and I sat in a room full of boxing writers , where both teams would negotiate the brand of gloves, the basic rules of engagement in the ring, the hand wraps, and what corner each fighter would be in. Standard stuff. When the preceding’s were over, I spoke with Lennox , and his manager, Frank Maloney about the fight , and then I spoke with Tua’s coach, Kevin Barry, and his brother, and I asked them what their game plan was? Unbelievably, they told me, “ David will come out fast in the first round, get under Lewis’s jab, and try and hit him in the balls, and then knock him out with the left hook to the head.
I walked off, thinking Tua was in for a long night. I was walking out the door, following Lewis’s team , and they were all laughing, and singing, the 1999, backstreet boys song, but they changed the words to “aint nothing but a party” I asked them why they were all singing this song, and one of Lewis’s entourage said, laughing, “ this fight ain’t nothing but a party…that mother fucker thinks he has a shot. It will take more than a bad haircut and a big left hook to beat Lennox…”
Which brings me to the fight. Because McGregor can’t box, or throw an effective jab, he has no other choice but to rush in, try to steam roll Mayweather over, and in doing so, rough him up, possibly catch him cold, and try to land the left hand , anywhere he can, and seal the deal with a punch that has made him so successful in the UFC. The problem with McGregor, throwing the left hand is that he throws it from way out, and when he throws it, he forces it, leaving himself open for the counter.
If that’s the plan , the Irishman will be in for a surprise. If he has a plan b, and I really don’t think he has, then Mayweather will be 2 steps ahead, by just doing what he has done for many years, fighting smart, timing the rounds, showing elite ring experience, shoulder rolling, and jabbing the head off Conor, followed by a stinging right hand all night, to exploit, and expose the novice Conor McGregor is, in the sport of ring kings. I feel Mayweather will bust him up, until the referee , Robert Byrd will have seen enough, to stop the fight, and save him from punishment.
With the world watching, will I be? I will. I’ll be watching at home, the barbecue will be on, and we’ll have a few drinks, and when it’s over, I’ll think back to all those years ago, and think it wasn’t a fight, it was “ ain’ t nothing but a party.”
Gary Todd has been involved in all aspects in the sport of boxing for over 25 years, and he is the proud author of his books on boxing’s world champions, “ Workouts from boxings greatest champs vol. 1 and 2”