By: Kirk Jackson
The epic cross-over mash of combat sports is finally over and the dust settled. As cold reality sets in for dejected fans of mixed martial arts, there’s a million ways to interpret what transpired.
Photo Credit: USA Today
Most of the build-up was based on a series of extravagant statements designed to grab headlines and attention. Albeit some people genuinely believed these fables.
This match-up was racially charged, based while the promotion and eventual event capitalized on it.
The narrative as such was to actually paint the one who ended up speaking actual truths as the villain, while the one selling lies and dreams is projected as the hero.
There is much to decipher with pre-fight interviews and statements leading up to the affair transpiring between Floyd Mayweather 50-0 (27 KO’s) and Conor McGregor 0-1.
Let’s determine what occurred to be fact and fiction.
Remember the discussion of McGregor’s punching power and how Mayweather will not be able to withstand punishment from such a potent, ferocious force?
“Conor’s got extraordinary power, he’s got extraordinary movement and he’s bigger,” said former UFC commentator Joe Rogan. “He’s a far bigger guy. I mean he’s a big framed guy and he’s strong and he’s young.”
To quote television presenter/host Maury Povich, “The lie detector test determined that was a lie!”
The truth is McGregor’s power did not translate in boxing. Because it requires more than muscles and a large frame to create punching power.
Power comes from technique and as pointed out by several boxing pundits and unbiased members of the media, McGregor is a good mixed martial arts fighter, but not great when it comes to boxing.
Remember the discussion of McGregor described as an “Irish Gorilla” and aiming to take over boxing?
During the fourth episode of All Access Mayweather vs. McGregor, McGregor told ShowTime: “If there’s ever a contest to be motivated by this is the one.”
McGregor continued, “Not a chance, not a hope, he’s (Mayweather) not going to land a glove, he’s going to get embarrassed, he’s going to get killed.”
“He’s sparring 135 lbs. kids, you think I’m a 135 lbs. kid? I’m a 170 lbs. Irish Gorilla and I am going to rip his head off and play football with it. You’re seeing an animal come in here and destroy the whole game.”
More lies. Not to anyone’s surprise, boxing legend Lennox Lewis disagrees with McGregor and his attempt to takeover boxing.
“In the beginning, I didn’t look at Conor McGregor as a boxer, this guy has never been 12 rounds and he’s in there with a professor of boxing,” Lewis told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek in reaction to the fight between Mayweather and McGregor.
“A lot of people found it exciting, could Conor McGregor beat Floyd? It wasn’t the case. It was a case of a textbook style brought to school, Conor McGregor got brought to school. He got schooled.”
Further illustrating Lewis’s point, according to the Compubox punch stats, Mayweather held a massive advantage over McGregor.
There is a question of accuracy regarding Compubox because the system is predicated on two people sitting ring side clicking a button every time they think a punch is thrown and landed.
— Ben Maller (@benmaller) August 27, 2017
Floyd Mayweather connected on 58% of his power punches, Conor McGregor only 25%, Mayweather landed 68 more power punches
— Ben Maller (@benmaller) August 27, 2017
Something to wonder regarding Compubox stats is, how many of McGregor’s counted punches were behind the head and how many of the “Pitty pat” punches were tallied?
Now that the fight is over and McGregor fans are trying to save face, there’s the narrative of McGregor exceeding everyone’s expectations and performing exceptionally well. Again, lies.
Here’s a truth, Mayweather accurately predicted how the fight would turn out and told the world how he would approach McGregor and how the fight would look.
In an interview with ESPN reporter Stephen A. Smith leading up to the fight, Mayweather informed Smith, “This can’t be a defensive fight.”
“I have to go to him (McGregor), I must go to him. It’s what I gotta do. I owe the public for the Pacquiao fight since they wasn’t pleased with the Pacquiao fight. They gonna be pleased with this fight right here.”
Mayweather mentioned his strategy leading up to the fight and reiterated the emphasis of his game-plan in post-fight interviews.
Anyone familiar with the “Rope-a dope-tactic?” Lewis again alluded to that regarding Mayweather’s performance.
“Floyd took him to school, he made him punch himself out and when he was tired he took him out. It’s textbook boxing. It shows that boxing is a superior sport. In the ring, you can’t beat a boxer, it’s not as easy as everybody thought it would be, just because McGregor is a fighter.”
It’s unfortunate ShowTime’s commentary collection of Al Berstein and Mauro Ranallo failed to realize that.
We can excuse mma commentator Bredan Schuab or unfamiliar fans and spectators for their biases and misinterpretation of the action transpiring in the ring.
But the poor analysis and awareness of strategy from Berstein and Ranallo is cringe worthy. Veteran Referee Robert Byrd’s performance was also abysmal.
Why unfairly berate McGregor during the pre-fight instructions, singling him out?
And why issue more than 15 warnings of illegal tactics from McGregor (hammer punches, rabbit punches, constant holding, turning his opponent, moving behind the opponent and punching the opponent’s back, punching on the break) if you’re not going to deduct a point?
The truth regarding the notion of McGregor fighting at an unfair advantage was an exaggerated lie.
Here’s an interesting question. If Mayweather isn’t that fast or strong according to McGregor, how was he consistently able to land harder punches and stop McGregor?
There were times McGregor’s legs resembled noodles and he looked like a puppet playing to the puppeteer’s strings.
Was it just Mayweather was “Composed” as McGregor alluded to?
Here’s an even better question. If Mayweather is slow, weak, small and 40-years-old, how is he able to chase the larger, stronger, McGregor around the ring the entire fight, before eventually knocking him out?
The mma community can disrespect the sweet science of boxing all they want, but the truth is boxing is a great art form of fighting, a pristine skill requiring years of training, discipline, and intelligence to master.
Large muscles, ridiculous screams and tattoos can’t save you in the in the ring of truth. The truth is revealed when the combatants engage in combat and the truth revealed the mirage that is McGregor.
This wasn’t a risky or legacy based bout. Those are lies.
According to McGregor’s own words, boxing is only half a fight right? Where is the risk in a “Half fight?”
This was a fight for MONEY. MONEY people, MONEY.
If McGregor wanted to fight for legacy and fight the best, why not fight one of the current, active champions of boxing?
Terence Crawford is the undisputed champion at 140 lbs., Keith Thurman and Errol Spence are the best at 147 lbs., Jermell Charlo is one of the champions at 154 lbs., Gennady Golovkin is recognized as the best at 160 lbs., there’s pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter Andre Ward, etc.
Mayweather has the fame, Mayweather attracts the money and covets the position McGregor wants, which is why McGregor wanted to fight Mayweather.
Now for Mayweather, indeed a lie would be to suggest this was a fight based on enhancing his legacy. The truth is his legacy was already cemented and he wanted to earn another $100 to $300 million.
Legacy wise whether it’s world champions or Hall of Famers faced and defeated, divisions conquered and championships captured, Mayweather checks every box.
Of course critics question if his win over McGregor holds any form of legitimacy and whether it should be added to his record.
Remember legendary champion Joe Louis had a “Bum of the month” club.
Fifty plus fights into his career, legendary Roberto Duran faced inexperienced fighters like Ezequiel Obando, Pepe El Toro, Bernando Diaz, Alirio Acuna and they all had less than six fights each. Some of these fighters were winless.
Wilfred Benitez, regarded as the “Bible of Boxing” or “El Radar” fought East Boy Lake three times. Lake’s career record was 10-16-2.
Former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook battled guys with more than 80 losses on their professional record.
Brook fought a guy (Peter Buckley) with more than 189 losses on his record at the time of their encounter.
The same happens with mma as well. How many soccer moms did Ronda Rousey fight?
Is every single opponent McGregor faced an elite level fighter?
No of course not.
Every fight in someone’s career will not be against the absolute best and that’s with every single fighter in the professional ranks whether it’s boxing, muay thai, mma or some other art.
At the very least regarding Mayweather vs. McGregor, McGregor is in his physical prime at 29-years-old and Mayweather returned from a two-year retirement well into his forties.
Mayweather said this was his last fight, lets hope that is the truth. No further need to continue fighting.
McGregor has many options moving forward whether it’s in the boxing ring or the octagon. However, success for McGregor in the boxing ring may be hard to come by.
Lewis has advice for the Irishman in regards to his boxing career, “Stay in your lane. Boxing is superior.”
The truth is, no matter how the narrative is painted, McGregor was chased around by a smaller boxer returning from a two-year absence from the ring. Pursued and beaten by a 40-year-old fighter.
Chased and pummeled by a man he outweighs by 20 lbs., who is supposed to rely on defense and doesn’t like to engage or get hit.
Mayweather merely walked in with a high-guard defense, flat-footed, not throwing jabs, allowing McGregor plenty of opportunity to land his patented powerful left hands.
It’s not a matter of McGregor losing the fight per-say. It’s more so the fashion in which he lost.
After bold statements, disrespect hurled at Mayweather and the sport of boxing, McGregor was the one on his back-foot, was the one “Running” and throwing “Pitty-pat” punches and was the one getting knocked out.
Majority of the punches landed from McGregor were behind the head and “Pitty-pat” punches mostly witnessed in the amateur ranks of boxing.
The true narration of this event will reveal itself in time. But double standards and more double standards generally apply when it comes to certain athletes.
The final truth is the event ignited intrigue and generated money. This is what truly matters for everyone involved in the spectacle that was. The circus is finally over.