Why Mayweather-McGregor Will (In All Likelihood) Be A Dud
By: Sean Crose
So, you’re a person who loves “big events.” You know, things like the Super Bowl and presidential debates. You’re not really into things like football and politics, but you still really dig the excitement of “the big moment.” Chances are you’re someone who would be interested in seeing Floyd Mayweather
fight Conor McGregor in a boxing match.
After all, that’s as big an event as society can come up with at the moment, and, again, you’re into such things. Truth be told, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s millions like you out there and you have nothing to be ashamed of, even when smart asses like myself come along and tell you why you’re interest is misguided. After all, each of us likes “big things” we know little about at one time or another. It’s why I watch the Kentucky Derby. My grandfather knew his stuff when it came to horse racing. Me, not so much. But I watch anyway. So if and when Mayweather-McGregor is made, I honestly hope you enjoy yourself.
There’s some things I think you should know first, though, primarily the fact that the bout will most likely be a dud. Unless you love all things Floyd Mayweather, or just want to see Conor McGregor become, as he himself likes to say, a punching bag with eyes, or simply enjoy seeing people be overwhelmed by physical force, then this fight will, in all likelihood, be a disappointment. Why? Well, there’s a variety of reasons, which I’ll break down for you. Don’t worry, I’m not about to engage in a pretentious diatribe, I’m just going to point some things out as a humble boxing writer with some experience under his belt.
First, and this is extremely important, BOXING IS NOT FIGHTING. Boxing is a sport. Sure, it used to be fighting once upon a time. Back in the 1800s, boxers were allowed to wrestle and toss each other around without gloves. In a sense, bare knuckle boxing, as it’s known, was a strange hybrid between modern boxing and modern MMA. Then, however, a Scottish nobleman called the Marquess of Queensberry came up with a set of rules. Fighters had to wear gloves. Also, things like wrestling and tossing your opponent around were no longer permitted. Boxing, in short, became a sport which focused on an exact skill set rather than on the utilization of various tools. And it remains so to this day.
MMA, on the other hand, is more like “real” fighting – though it, too, thankfully has its rules – because it allows assorted tools to be used in a contest. Punches can be weapons, but so can kicks and numerous other martial arts maneuvers. Boxing, though, just sticks to the punches. And boxers, like Liam Neeson in Taken, possess a very specific set of skills, skills which can make life hell for the likes of Conor McGregor. Sure, McGregor is known as a striker, but this time he’ll fight a guy who only strikes, who doesn’t have to worry about takedowns and kicks – like McGregor himself has throughout his career – whose been able to keep his mind entirely focused on one specific aspect of fighting for over two decades – and who has done it better than anyone.
Here’s an interesting story – back in 1892, the heavyweight champion of the world, John L Sullivan defended his title against Jim Corbett. Sullivan was a “real” fighter, a man who knew fighting to be a combination of punching and grappling. His opponent, Corbett, knew only boxing. He was considerably smaller than Sullivan and had never been in a “real” fight in his entire life. Easy boxing match to pick, right? It was if you had picked Corbett. He danced away from the tough guy for round after round, deftly popping Sullivan in the face in the process. Finally, Sullivan fell to the mat, thoroughly defeated. Corbett, the man who wasn’t a “real” fighter, the man who had only used his fists, had beaten the hell out of his opponent.
The truth is that tough guys rarely dominate in boxing. Yeah, the Tysons and Dempseys are popular – and with good reason – but it’s the guys who can be tough AND skilled who tend to REALLY rise above the crop, men like Ali and Leonard, Robinson, Pep and Roy Jones Junior. McGregor seems to be able to hit like a tough guy, but can he move about the ring – not the octagon, the ring – effectively, can he employ angles and head movements the way, say, Manny Pacquiao does? He better hope he can do those things better, because – let’s face it – Mayweather beat Pacquiao handily. Yeah, I hear some saying, but this is McGregor, the master of mind games! He beats his opponents with his verbal taunts before he even faces them! Tell that to Nate Diaz, who made McGregor tap out back in 2016. Also, Mayweather brings mind games of his own. Never mind Mayweather’s own tendency to taunt his opponents, he generally gives himself all the advantages before he even steps in the ring. I’m talking referee, location, the works. Has McGregor found the kind of boxing gloves he wants to wear? He better hope Floyd doesn’t make him switch to another pair just before the fight. Floyd does things like that.
Lastly, let’s focus on the small matters that can lead to a figurative death from a thousand cuts. Accuracy rules the day in boxing. Conor can hit Floyd ten times in a row, but if Floyd lands just two or three shots that happen to be more effective than Conor’s, the judges may well ignore Conor’s blows and reward Floyd for his single punches. It’s not the punches that count, after all – it’s their quality. And Floyd, lack of power aside, punches better than anyone. He’s also harder to hit than anyone. Oh, and if the fight goes the distance, McGregor will be fighting eleven full minutes longer than his longest MMA battle.
That’s over two full MMA rounds. By the way, Floyd likes to go the distance. Oh, and excitement isn’t really his thing, either, so he probably won’t be big on engaging McGregor in a blow for blow battle.
Perhaps McGregor will defy the odds and pull it off. Perhaps he’ll do what no one else has and land clean enough to really rattle his man. Perhaps he’ll manage to get in Floyd’s head enough to make Mayweather throw decades’ worth of professional and amateur experience out the window. Perhaps, on a more sinister note, Vegas will decide it wants more revenue from suburban whites and, in the end, give McGregor an undeserved decision win. All those things are entirely possible, after all.
They’re unlikely, though…and that’s something people should consider before hopping aboard this particular “big event” train.