Manny Pacquiao Signs With Paradigm, Who Happens to Represent Conor McGregor
By: Sean Crose
“We’re very excited to announce that Manny Pacquiao has signed with PSM for full service representation!” Paradigm Sports Management announced Tuesday. “Manny is one of the greatest boxers of all time & we look forward to working with Arnold, Ping and the rest of the team back in Manila to maximize his historic career.” One of the most popular fighters in the world, Pacquiao is now represented by the same company that represents MMA superstar Conor McGregor. “Welcome to the team Emmanuel,” McGregor tweeted. Although Pacquiao is now under the Paradigm banner, his personal team is supposed to stay generally in tact.
“I am proud to partner with Paradigm Sports Management,” Pacquiao claimed, “and am excited for the opportunities that Audie Attar and PSM have to offer.” Pacquiao then went on to address the public in general. “One thing I want everyone to remember is to always think positively. Never think negatively, that is the beginning of your downfall. Everything is possible.” Audie Attar, the head of Paradigm, also weighed in. “I’m honored to have the opportunity not only to maximize Manny’s boxing career,” ESPN reports Attar as stating, “but to help him continue to leave a legacy he is proud of through the lens of business and sport…my approach is to focus on each client and their goals always, and I look forward to fighting on his behalf.”
Pacquiao is one of the most famous athletes on earth. He’s earned hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of his long career and fought in the most lucrative battle in boxing history when he lost a decision to Floyd Mayweather back in 2015. The Filipino icon has found himself in the midst of a career resurgence since besting Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman last year. Pacquiao is currently the WBA welterweight champion of the world.
Naturally, talk has already turned to a Pacquiao-McGregor fight. McGregor jumped into the boxing ring in 2017 to take on Mayweather in a bout so lucrative that only Pacquiao-Mayweather had managed to bring in more money. Although McGregor is considerably bigger and younger than Pacquiao, he lost to the far less aggressive Mayweather by knockout, meaning that the fast and hard punching Pacquiao would likely prove to be a formidable foe in the ring. Neither Pacquiao’s nor McGregor’s next opponents have been announced. That does not, however, mean that either man won’t end up facing an opponent from his respective sport.
Bob Arum Wants Terence Crawford vs Conor McGregor in The Ring and Octagon
By: Hans Themistode
WBO Welterweight title holder Terence Crawford has been a professional boxer for 12 years now. He’s managed to win world titles in three different weight classes and is universally considered one of, if not the very best in the world pound-for-pound.
Yet, with everything that Crawford has achieved in the ring, his boxing resume is amongst the weakest, regardless of weight class.
The competition of Crawford is always in question but don’t pin any of the blame on him. Simply put, some of the very best fighters in the world aren’t exactly in a rush to step foot inside the ring with him. Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) has spent the vast majority of his career calling to face the best but no has answered the call.
Crawford has repeatedly claimed that his lack of a big name opponent hasn’t been frustrating. If no one of note decides to face him, then he will simply continue to dominate whomever they place in front of him.
Frustration hasn’t hit Crawford just yet, but it does seem that it has affected his promoter Bob Arum. Although he has reached out to just about everyone about matching his star fighter with a big name opponent, it seems as though Arum has decided to go in another direction.
Paying attention to every sport is extremely difficult. Yet, even the most dedicated fans of boxing, football or even tennis who don’t pay attention to the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) knows one name. Conor McGregor.
On January 18th, the MMA superstar made quick work of Donald Cerrone in their contest at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. McGregor of course, loss his first and only boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August of 2017. McGregor’s now looking for redemption against Mayweather. If he can’t secure that contest, then he is reportedly very much interested in a matchup against eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao.
Bob Arum on the other hand, has another idea in mind. How about McGregor turn his attention to Crawford. In the case of both Mayweather and Pacquiao, McGregor would be forced to face them in the boxing ring.
In a bout with Crawford however, Arum wants to see his star face McGregor in the boxing ring and in the octagon.
“You’ve got an elite boxer in Terence Crawford fighting an elite MMA guy in Conor McGregor under MMA rules,” said Arum. “You don’t think that would be interesting and something the public would want to see? I think it’s very realistic. Whenever they are ready, we are ready,” Arum said, referring to UFC president Dana White and McGregor. “We’d do the MMA fight first if that’s what they want.”
Dangerous? Also yes.
Crazy? Hell yes.
Crawford is a great fighter. Maybe even the best in the world but MMA is a completely different animal. The story is always the same when it comes down to these crossover matchups. If it takes place in the boxing ring then the boxer will win. If it’s done inside of the octagon, then the MMA fighter will take home the victory.
That might be the right away to think about those scenarios normally, but Crawford is anything but normal.
“I’m a fighter first,” Crawford said. “As a fighter, I would entertain it. I just have to have the proper time to prepare myself. It would be a little more than boxing training. I haven’t been in that [wrestling] environment in a long time, but most definitely I feel I can compete with anyone given the proper time to train on the MMA side, being that I have a wrestling background. McGregor would have worry about my stand-up game as well. It would be interesting. He’s got good kicks and he’s strong. I’d have to prepare myself for those things, but I feel I would be all right. A lot of people may say if Terence goes into the Octagon, he will get crushed, but they don’t know me.”
A fight with McGregor would gift Crawford with more money than he can count but that isn’t on the mind of Crawford. The sort of attention that a fight with McGregor could bring the Welterweight champ is what he desires. If no one else wants to fight him then it’s time to get creative.
“I can’t get none of these top welterweights in the ring to fight me, so whatever is clever,” said Crawford. “I’m with it all.”
If this mega event actually does take place, the obvious outcome should be that Crawford wins in the boxing match and McGregor would take home the victory in the MMA matchup. But, according to Arum, McGregor certainly has no shot in the ring but you shouldn’t sleep on Crawford in the octagon.
“Fighting Crawford would be great for McGregor because he has no chance in a boxing match, except to pick up a check,” Arum said. “In an MMA match, he would be the favorite, but Crawford would have a chance because he’s one tough dude and because he has a wrestling background. I think that Crawford is the one boxer that can compete with an elite MMA guy under MMA rules. We’d do two fights so we can level the playing field by fighting in both disciplines. Mayweather and Pacquiao would never fight under MMA rules. Crawford would.”
Like It Or Not, Boxing’s Big Names Are Eyeing McGregor
By: Sean Crose
Way back in 1889, John L Sullivan, the recognized heavyweight champion of the world, battled the rugged Jake Kilrain in Richburg, Mississippi. The two men fought with bare knuckles, and were allowed to throw each other to the ground. Sullivan was said at one point to have sat atop and choked Kilrain. The fight went on for over 70 rounds under the blazing Mississippi sun. Sullivan ultimately emerged victorious after Kilrain’s team feared their man would die if he kept going and stopped the match. Make no mistake about it – Sullivan was one hell of a fighter.
Yet Sullivan proved not to be much of a boxer. For in 1892 he fought James J Corbett in a wildly publicized bout in New Orleans. This time, the combatants wore gloves…and the rounds lasted three minutes each. There was no tossing each other to the mat allowed…and the match was held in a ring. What’s more, Corbett was a boxer, not a fighter. He was tough as nails, but the San Francisco native had never fought outside of an organized contest. To Sullivan’s dismay, Corbett proved to be elusive in the ring, employing footwork and maintaining distance. An exhausted Sullivan was subsequently knocked out on the 21st round. The technician had defeated the fighter. Boxing would never be the same.
Fast forward to 2020. UFC star Conor McGregor steps into the octagon after a long absence and two defeats, one to fellow mixed martial artist Khabib Numagomadov, the other to boxing great Floyd Mayweather. McGregor’s opponent on this night is the aging but legendary UFC star Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, a man who, though past his prime, can end a fight in a wide variety of ways. Questions surround McGregor as the first round begins. Can he retain past glory? Does he still have his passion? Is he simply washed up? The Irishman subsequently ends things in forty seconds. That’s forty seconds. Make no mistake about it – McGregor is one hell of a fighter.
Like Sullivan, however, McGregor isn’t much of a boxer. Which is probably why top names throughout the boxing game are once again dying for a piece of him. As good and as tough and as impressive as he is – McGregor hasn’t shown nearly the skill set needed to succeed in boxing. His single boxing match, to an aging and retired Mayweather, ended with him being stopped in the tenth round, thoroughly exhausted, as that other great fighter Sullivan had been exhausted when he too crossed paths with a boxing specialist. People like Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and Terence Crawford might not want to battle McGregor in a parking lot – and they certainly don’t want to cross paths with him in the octagon. In the ring, however, McGregor is likely all theirs, a pinata stuffed with untold millions of dollars and the hopes of college kids who truly and mistakenly believe being a good fighter instantly makes you a good boxer.
All of this seems almost a bit unfair to McGregor. Yet the man knows what he’s getting into should he return to the ring – and he still seems bound and determined to do so. Nothing if not ambitious and self aware, it’s clear McGregor feels he has something to prove after being saved by the referee in his bout with Mayweather. He has nothing to prove, though, except in the octagon, where plenty of tough competition eagerly awaits. The showy UFC legend may somehow land himself a boxing title at some point – there seems to be constellations worth of them out there. If McGregor faces another top boxer again, however, even an over the hill one, he does so at his own peril.
Floyd Mayweather Was Reportedly Blowing Up Dana White’s Phone After Conor McGregor Win
By: Hans Themistode
When it comes to money, you won’t have to look hard to find Floyd Mayweather.
The former all-time great boxer, retired back in 2017 after pocketing over a hundred million dollars for his tenth round knockout of UFC star Conor McGregor. Since that loss, McGregor had spent a significant amount of time away from the fight game but he officially got back in the win column this past Saturday nightin the octagon with a 40 second knockout of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
McGregor had been calling for a rematch with Mayweather over two years. Now that he is officially back on the winning side and is garnering a ton of buzz, now it’s Mayweather who seems to be chasing McGregor for them to do it again.
Following the quick win for McGregor, ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto shared some news about just how badly Mayweather wants this rematch with McGregor to take place.
“Just spoke to Dana White,” said Okamoto on his Twitter account. “We finished our interview than he showed me an Instagram from Floyd Mayweather. Said Floyd has been blowing him up all night … no more details than that.”
With a nine figure payday awaiting Mayweather in a rematch with McGregor, it really is no surprise to see just ansy he is about the possibility of another matchup with his crossover rival.
Although it would be easy on Mayweather’s end to take a fight with McGregor right away. The UFC star on the other hand has his eyes on a number of other fighters in his own sport. Most notably, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Still, even if McGregor is taken off the table, Mayweather could of course bank another ridiculous payday if he rematched Manny Pacquiao. Their first bout did after all, break every pay-per-view record. If Mayweather does in fact decide to go down the route of a bout with Pacquiao, then White believes his budding boxing company Zuffa boxing could bring something valuable to the table.
“I think that the Mayweather Pacquiao fight will probably happen again and it makes sense,” said Dana White. “Especially the way Manny Pacquiao has looked in his last couple of fights. That’s something that could happen. I truly believe we would add a ton of value to that fight. So anything is possible.”
Pacquiao, McGregor or even Nurmagomedov are all on the table as possible options for Mayweather. As far who Mayweather will actually choose to take on is an easy decision to make. Whoever brings in the biggest paycheck is who Mayweather will make his 2020 return against.
Floyd Eyes McGregor and Nurmagomedov While McGregor Has Floyd and Pacquiao on His Mind
By: Hans Themistode
It didn’t take long for UFC star Conor McGregor to get rid of Donald Cerone at UFC 246.
40 seconds to be exact. It took Floyd Mayweather an even shorter amount of time to call out McGregor on his Instagram account for a rematch.
Seemingly watching the McGregor contest with his finger on the send button, Mayweather watched as McGregor landed a head kick and followed it up with several strikes on the ground that ended the contest. Once Mayweather pushed the send button, a huge picture of both him and McGregor was plastered across his Instagram account reading the words “MAYWEATHER VS MCGREGOR 2 2020”.
Before the boxing and MMA world could wrap their heads around the possibility of a rematch between the two, Mayweather posted another picture. It contained the same format but this time McGregor was replaced by undefeated UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Mayweather of course, has expressed interest in facing Nurmagomedov and defeated McGregor in the tenth round of their first matchup in August of 2017. By no means was it a blowout as McGregor made it competitive throughout.
Before Mayweather made it clear that he wants to return against an MMA star, McGregor was on his own campaign trail. Not only stating that he wants the rematch with Mayweather but that he believes it’s only a matter of when, not if.
“I’d like to rematch Floyd, I think we should rematch Floyd,” said McGregor during a recent interview on ESPN. “He’s flirting with it and he can go and rematch someone else but it won’t be the same. I did phenomenal in the bout and the only reason I lost is because I prepared for a back footed, Philly shell kind of opponent. When the fight was like that I was picking him apart. Then he started pressing forward and I wasn’t sinking into my shots like I am now. I know I can beat Floyd if we rematch. Well, when we rematch.”
At this point, everyone is calling out McGregor. With the sort of payday that he can bring to anyone he fights, it isn’t surprising. Yet up until recently, McGregor seemed only interested in facing Mayweather in terms of boxing. But now he has his eyes on another huge star in the sport of boxing at the soon to be opened NFL arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Allegiant Stadium.
“I would love to be the first combatant to fight in that arena,” McGregor said. “What a fight that would be against Manny. A small, powerful southpaw. I’d have to figure out the weight and these things. But something that interests me, no doubt.”
There is so much to dissect here. Mayweather seems to have his eyes set on either Nurmagomedov or McGregor. While McGregor on the other hand has his eyes set on Mayweather, Pacquiao and of course his own UFC rival Nurmagomedov as well.
With so many different possibilities, there is no doubt that Mayweather is likely to return to the ring to cash in another ridiculous payday.
McGregor Demolishes Cerrone In 40 Seconds At UFC 246
By: Sean Crose
After an absence of over a year, Conor McGregor returned to the octagon on Saturday night where he met Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a scheduled five round welterweight bout. The main event of UFC 246 featured a past his prime Cerrone facing the biggest star in the sport, a man who nonetheless hadn’t won a fight, either in boxing or in mixed martial arts, since 2016. The match, which was aired live on ESPN pay per view, was held at the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. Fighting at 170 for only the third time in his career, the 21-4 McGregor was eager to impress against his highly regarded 36-13 veteran opponent.
First, though, fans were presented with the rematch between Ronda Rousey conqueror Holly Holm and a woman she bested by split decision in 2015, Raquel Pennington in a scheduled three round battle at bantamweight. Although both had been bested by the potent Amanda Nunes, a good showing in Vegas would put the winner back in the spotlight. The first round saw the 12-5 Holm maintain range, then work the 10-7 Pennington against the cage. Pennington herself was able to place Holm against the cage by round’s end, though Holm still appeared in control. In fact, Holm was able to keep Pennington in the clinch for most of the second round.
The third round was more competitive than the first two. Still, it was clear that Holm was simply the stronger and more skilled of the two fighters. At 38 years old, the New Mexico native walked out of the octagon with a unanimous decision win. By fighting smartly and employing the clinch effectively, Holm was able to dominate for the vast majority of the bout. “I still want to do a lot better than my performance tonight,” Holm told Joe Rogan in the post fight interview.
It was time for the main event. And a short main event it was. Within seconds of the start of the bout, McGregor sent Cerrone stumbling with a thunderous head kick after possibly breaking the man’s nose with shoulder strikes while in the clinch. McGregor, simply put, then took to punching Cerrone’s lights out. Referee Herb Dean let the beating last for a few moments, the wisely stepped in and stopped the match. “Ireland, baby!” McGregor screamed into Joe Rogan’s mic during the post fight press conference. “Thank you all for the support!” McGregor yelled to the crowd graciously. It was an amazing return for a man whose future had been cloudy after losing to Khabib Nurmagomadov and Floyd Mayweather respectively.
“I’d never seen anything like that,” Cerrone said about McGregor’s shoulder work. “I got my ass whipped early.” In a sign of good sportsmanship, both men shook hands warmly after the fight.
Conor McGregor Eyes Mayweather, Pacquiao
By: Sean Crose
Even though he hasn’t fought in over a year – Conor McGregor is still the biggest star in the UFC, as is evidenced by the enormous press coverage leading up to his Saturday nightthrowdown with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in Las Vegas. Still, it’s seems McGregor really wants to box. At least that’s the impression the man’s been giving leading up to Saturday. Even though McGregor was bested by Floyd Mayweather in the tenth round of their 2017 novelty boxing match, McGregor seems to want more of the sweet science.
According to the Los Angeles Times, McGregor and UFC honcho Dana White recently “fielded almost as many questions about boxing as they did about the UFC 246 pay-per-view taking place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.” White reportedly wants McGregor to stay put in the UFC – though it’s clear White himself wants in on the boxing game, in a managerial or promotional level. McGregor, on the other hand, wants a second shot at the almost 43 year old Mayweather. He’s also expressed interest in fighting Mayweather’s arch rival, Manny Pacquiao. McGregor has even responded positively to the idea of facing Pacquiao in the yet to be completed Allegiant Stadium, soon to be home to the NFL’s Raider’s.
“I would be honored to be a part of that,” the Times quotes McGregor as saying. “I would love to be the first combatant to fight in that arena. What a fight that would be against Manny — a small powerful southpaw. We would have to figure out the weight and those types of things, but it’s something that interests me, no doubt.” Weight would certainly be an issue. McGregor is facing Cerrone at 170 pounds. Pacquiao fights at around 147 pounds – and has to eat copious amounts of food to even reach that weight. Add in McGregor’s height advantage and the two would make an odd pairing. It would also be a terrible look for McGregor if the much smaller Pacquiao beat him – which is something most analysts would likely predict anyway.
Not that McGregor can be blamed for wanting to box again. He’s making a reported three million dollars to face Cerrone this weekend. That’s a whole lot of money, but not nearly the kind of payday a top name boxer makes. The simple truth is that, even if he loses, McGregor can make a lot more fighting Pacquiao than he can fighting a top level opponent in his own sport. Then there’s the matter of ambition, something McGregor has never had in short supply. To conquer both boxing and MMA would be a bright feather in any fighter’s cap. It seems only Holly Holm, who will be fighting on the McGregor-Cerrone undercard, has been able to pull off such a feat to date.
UFC 246 Preview: The Second Act Of Conor McGregor
By: Sean Crose
It’s been a tough couple of years for Conor McGregor. After assuring the world he would “educate” the greatest boxer of a generation, he ended up losing handily in his first boxing match. Then, the following year, he stepped back into the octagon after a lengthy layoff only to be completely dominated by a man he had mocked mercilessly. Then, of course, there were the consequences of antisocial behavior– charges of racism, and Islamophobia, sexual assault accusations, and numerous recorded incidents showcasing aggressive physical behavior. Again, it’s been a tough couple of years – much of it self-inflicted. Still, McGregor, one of the most famous athletes on earth, is planning on turning things around starting this Saturday night in Las Vegas.
For there, at the T-Mobile arena, the Irish star will once again step into the octagon, this time to face the highly respected MMA vet Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a scheduled five round welterweight fight. Cerrone, at first blush, looks to be the perfect opponent for McGregor at this point. With a record of 36-13, and at 36 years of age, the product of Denver has lost his last two fights – to Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson respectively. Still, the 21-4 McGregor doesn’t have the greatest track record at welterweight, having split two matches with arch foil Nate Diaz in the 170 pound division back in 2016.
It’s also worth noting that McGregor hasn’t won a fight since 2016, when he stopped Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title that November. After moving on to face – and be stopped by – Floyd Mayweather the following summer, McGregor took over a year off, then tapped out to Khabib Nurmagomadov in October of 2018. Then there’s the matter of those well-publicized troubles the Dublin based fighter has faced before, during and since that time. The wear and tear seem to be evident in the McGregor’s latest public appearances. Here is a man, it appears, who has been genuinely impacted by his experiences and decisions.
It’s best to keep in mind, though, that McGregor looks physically GOOD heading into Saturday. He’s carrying that needed extra weight well. He’s also appeared extremely sharp and focused in training. It sometimes may be easy to forget that McGregor is more than a pop culture presence, he’s a professional fighter who excels at the highest levels of his chosen sport. He is, simply put, a lot more than just hype. Should McGregor show the skills he’s noted for – the awkwardness, speed, and expert use of a deadly left hand – Cerrone may well be in for a long night come Saturday. Or perhaps a very short one.
In fact, it’s being noted among analysts that the fight – which McGregor is favored to win as of press time – can go one of two ways: McGregor will wrap things up in rapid whirlwind fashion, or Cerrone will survive an initial onslaught and take McGregor deep. Known for having less than impressive cardio, the second scenario could prove all wrong for McGregor. Cerrone, on the other hand, would be well advised to be mindful of the first scenario, as his lack of head movement in the octagon can make for a perfect target for McGregor’s missile like strikes.
As he enters his second act, McGregor brings with him a great many questions. He can take comfort knowing other major combat sport stars, such as Muhammad Ali, and George Foreman, also brought questions with them into the mid to late portions of their careers. Both those men obviously did exceptionally well for themselves. Then again, many fighters have crashed and burned under the circumstances. It will be interesting to see where McGregor stands after this weekend.
McGregor Edges Farooq Amid Controversy
By: Oliver McManus
Glasgow was finely poised last night for what promised to be a tantalising fight between Kash Farooq and Lee McGregor. The relatively novice pair, twenty fights between them, had seemed destined to face each other sooner or later and the occasion didn’t disappoint. Farooq’s British title, defended three times, and Lee McGregor’s Commonwealth belt (second defense) were on the line.
The first round was relatively tepid as both men looked to suss each other out. McGregor tried to piece slashing combinations at times but the gliding movement of Farooq made him miss. The Commonwealth champion dipped his way in and out, under the extended arm of his opponent.
Farooq continued to puzzle with his movement as the tempo heightened. McGregor rallied with flurries of punches but his most successful shot was a lurched, straight right thrown with real vigour. There was plenty of missing involved in the opening rounds; McGregor made to look wild with his swings by his opponent’s elusive movement.
When the Commonwealth champion was able to set his feet there was significant spite applied to his punches. Farooq looked to have settled the quickest with a composed body of work in the face of a lot of clinching. A crisp left hook struck McGregor brash across his face in the third to momentarily snap his head back in an early sign of Farooq’s power.
The Renfrewshire Boxing Club product was fighting at an ideal range; dancing his way up close to prevent any meaningful jab from McGregor and really digging into the body. The opening half of the bout went largely Farooq’s way as he looked breezy and relaxed.
In the seventh round McGregor began to push forward with more aggressive intent. The cut of Farooq was worsening, sustained in the fourth, and confidence started to flow for his Edinburgh-born opponent. He was no longer finding success with single punches but starting to land consistently with combinations. Farooq, for his part, remained mobile in dipping the knees and turning the body. A big surge from McGregor saw him take the round after a considerable effort.
Still the body movement of Farooq posed questions of McGregor’s variety. Good, strong punches were coming his way but not often enough to start clawing back at the tide. McGregor was looking to load up and punch down as Farooq twisted and turned.
Both fighters were sinking their feet into their canvas and fighting with conviction – more so as the fight progressed. It was the more imposing stature of McGregor that held up better as the rounds went on; whilst Farooq was still nipping around he was slightly slower than at the beginning. Crimson was flowing from his cut – near the right eye – and the punches followed. McGregor persisted in looking for heavy shots to get his weight behind. Farooq was satisfied with his chihuahua-esque work rate.
The tenth round saw McGregor landing fervent punches. Farooq still trudged forward but McGregor was adapting and holding his feet. A good right hand caught Farooq slightly unawares and it was a strong round from the Commonwealth champion. He fought at a resurgent rhythm and was rallying in the final rounds. All good until Victor Loughlin docked a point for persistent holding and not undeserved.
There is often a danger of fights as hotly anticipated as these being half-cooked but this was a pie full of heart. McGregor needed a strong finish and he responded in kind. He would catch Farooq with hefty shots in response to the cunning craftmanship of Farooq. The pressure from both men was unbelievable who mustered all their heart to put it on the line.
Onlookers for the most part had Kash Farooq winning a remarkable contest. The judges scored it with a tang of controversy – 114-113 to Farooq, 114-113 to McGregor and 115-112 to McGregor. Reaction to the decision was sour but, regardless of result, a rematch would have been high on the list for 2020.
Fight Preview: McGregor vs. Farooq
By: Oliver McManus
Promoting a fight when it makes sense: not letting it “marinate” or touting it as “one for the future”. It’s a rare commodity nowadays within the sport but Lee McGregor vs Kash Farooq provides some fresh relief this weekend.
The contest is a bruising all-Scottish affair with the Commonwealth and British bantamweight titles at stake. Between them the pair have had just 20 pro bouts – eight in title fights. This particular piece of matchmaking has been in the works for a while and doesn’t look like disappointing.
Farooq is touted as the slight favourite (4/6) having defended his British title on three occasions. The likeable 23 year old has proven to be a spiteful fighter over the course of 2019 with sharp stoppages over Kyle Williams and Duane Winters. His power at 118lbs has been evident from the early stages of his career with stoppages in all but one of his five title fights.
Eighteen rounds, over the course of two fights, with Scott Allan provided the most learning for Farooq. Their first bout, at the beginning of 2017, was comfortable enough for Farooq; Allan tied him up at points to prevent more fluid combinations. In the second encounter, ten months later, Farooq was wary of this and demonstrated a strong adaptability to get his shots off and stop Allan in the eighth.
Kash has looked effortless, breezily comfortable, in his thirteen professional fights. His reign as British champion hasn’t been too testing; Iain Butcher the only challenger to go the distance. It’s through a lack of competitive matchmaking – he’s faced a former Commonwealth challenger, a two time British title challenger, an undefeated English champion and a Southern Area titleholder. The youngster has simply been in the right fight at the right time and his class has shone through; Lee McGregor will take him to the well, of that you can be sure, and then we’ll see how he responds.
Edinburgh’s McGregor will be in his second bout since linking up with Grant Smith having left the McGuigans earlier in the year. At 22 years old he has wasted no time in establishing himself among the upper rungs of the domestic bantamweight division; Commonwealth champion in just his fifth fight.
Against Thomas Essomba in October last year, to secure the Commonwealth belt, a few challenges were posed of the Scotsman but he responded acutely. He was able to show plenty of grit to finish the contest with just over 90 seconds to go and he has always got that relentless, full-blooded body of assault to get himself out of trouble. That finisher’s instinct to kill a fight given even half a chance has been apparent from the off; McGregor has been able to produce a stoppage even against the most traditionally durable of opponents.
The experienced amateur – a competitor on the World and European stage – isn’t a one-legged Shetland, however. His workman-like approach to as meticulous as it is thorough and he can respond to different propositions. He always appears itching to get involved and make something of nothing – to put on a show – but as he’s got older there’s the realisation that patience will benefit him. A violent hook to the midriff will sneak out at every possible opportunity but McGregor is wiser than his past performances and has a genuine maturity to his boxing nowadays.
This should be twelve rounds of pure, unfiltered violence. We saw what happens when willing participants go to war just the other week; Jay Harris and Paddy Barnes sharing four rounds of “hell and abuse” – to quote Harris. This is set to be a second serving of that spirit.
My advice for Saturday night; put the kids to bed, turn off the phone, tell your wife you love her and sit in front of the television with a pack of Jammie Dodgers to enjoy one of the most joyously unpredictable fights you’ll see all year.
Tyson Fury Eyes MMA Move With The Help Of Conor McGregor
By: Hans Themistode
Tyson Fury has made headlines recently. The Lineal Heavyweight champion has been seen in recent weeks in the WWE world. His back and forth feud with super star wrestler Braun Strowman has captured the imagination of everyone. It was fun to see Fury outside of his normal boxing element.
The fun quickly ended when it was reported that Fury was seriously considering to forego his 2020 rematch with WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder in favor of pursuing a full time career in the WWE.
In just a few short days, Fury will settle his beef with Strowman at the highly anticipated Crown Jewel wrestling event which is slated to take place on Halloween. With Fury reportedly making 15 million for his lone contest with Strowman, the possibility of Fury leaving the boxing ring for good is a real possibility.
With the obligations of defending his Lineal crown, coupled with his WWE commitment, Fury seemingly has a full plate in front of him. Well, according to the man nicknamed the “Gypsy King” he still has room for other ventures as well.
The undefeated Heavyweight champion is in serious talks with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) star Conor McGregor about a possible move into the world of MMA. Fury isn’t simply thinking about making a move to the cage, he is apparently ready to go head first into it with McGregor firmly in his corner as his training partner.
“I have been speaking to Conor about it,” said Fury. “He’s willing to train me. It’s gonna be good”
Many boxers have made the transition to MMA or at least have given it thought. To train for such a complex sport, many would be led to believe that Fury’s possible MMA debut is something that could happen sometime in the future. Getting acclimated to an entirely different sport is something that could take Fury quite some time to get the hang of. If this was your first initial thought, it would be a good one, but ultimately, you would be wrong.
For Fury, stepping into the cage is something that could happen much sooner than anyone realizes.
“Who knows? I have got something big coming up after this, even bigger than this. We might see Tyson Fury have his MMA debut this year. Tyson Fury is taking over,”
If Fury truly is considering the move to MMA, then he has chosen the perfect person to train him. McGregor is the most prominent name in MMA and one of the most popular athletes regardless of the sport. According to Fury, the extension of help offered from McGregor is something he surely can’t pass up on.
“He’s just said any time that you are ready come over to Dublin and let’s go. I can’t wait, I’m going to take him up on the offer. Who knows we might be on a double-header.”
Although MMA would essential be a new ordeal for Fury, his background has led him to believe that any form of fighting is something that he will excel at.
“I come from a long line of bare-knuckle boxing champions. Getting hurt, getting bloodied is nothing new to me, it’s all a part of my heritage. I would love to get in there and smash someone up.”
McGregor and Smith Retain Titles in Glasgow
By: Oliver McManus
MTK Global touched down in Glasgow on Saturday evening having produced a scintillating card at Ulster Hall, Belfast, just 24 hours previously; Steven Ward vs Liam Conroy an early contender for fight of the year, in case you haven’t caught it. Two title fights topped the shortened seven fight card that had been bereft with injuries and late withdrawals; nonetheless Lee McGregor vs Scott Allan and Kieran Smith vs Ivan Montero were enough to pique interest.
McGregor, the Commonwealth bantamweight champion, was making the first defence of the title he won in October (a 12th round KO over Thomas Essomba) whilst Allan came into the fight having outpointed Gary Rae for the Celtic equivalent, also in October. McGregor had already made clear his intention to chase a showdown with, British champion, Kash Farooq should he emerge victorious.
Animosity brewed between the two men before the contest and they both set out looking to take the centre ground. Allan, significantly the smaller man, looked in fantastic shape and marched forward with gusto whilst McGregor looked to tee off with heavy shots from the inside; a couple of uppercuts finding their mark early on. McGregor, trained by Grant Smith, was making the most of his stockier frame but Allan was undeterred by any such disadvantage and was keen to keep McGregor alert from the off.
The long limbs of the champion enabled him to box from distance and out of Allan’s reach – despite the shuffles and feints from the challenger – but both found it hard to resist getting involved in a skirmish and would find each other, again, at the centre of the ring. Mini trade offs took place within rounds as both men unloaded on brusque swinging hooks and the encounter was enthralling from round one.
Allan, to his credit, was eager to take the fight to the 1/10 favourite and was making himself elusive thanks to effective head movement and a constant shuffle of his front foot; McGregor struggled with finding his range on occasion thanks to footwork of his opponent. Indeed the challenger was able to pick his punches well when dipping inside and landed two accurate, if not telling, uppercuts in the third round.
Despite such odds being available beforehand you couldn’t separate either man in the first third of the fight as Allan fought, seemingly, without pressure – light on his feet and willing to step into range in order to fire in some shots of his own. McGregor, you felt, was doing enough to pip the rounds and, once he decided that it was best to fight from distance, began to look more measured in his approach. The temptation in a fight with high tensions is always to get involved in a brawl but that carrot disappeared after a few rounds with McGregor willing to go back to basics. The same could not be said for Allan, however, who was finding success in the scrappier phases of the fight and moved around McGregor well to continually open up angles.
With the fifth round dwindling and Allan gaining a foothold, McGregor looked to go after his man and was firing in punches with real conviction – slamming shots into the body of his counterpart and sapping away the energy. As soon as Allan showed he was hurting there was an undeniable burst of torrid aggression from McGregor who was gung-ho and care-free in his pursuit of the finish.
That looked to be a turning point for the 22 year old who emerged in the sixth round with a renewed fire in his belly and he did well to remain composed; dangling the left hand around waist high and remaining fluid with his movement. Allan, too, regained his focus and responded well with the lead left leg control the distance between both men and resulting in a round where McGregor was unable to capitalise on the frailties of his opponent.
The Celtic champion, aged 26, was proving to be far more than just an “underdog” with great resolve to bide himself the time to recover and an apt shot selection that was garnering him success. He was taking rounds off the pre-fight favourite on merit and leaving McGregor in two minds as to which strategy to pursue: calm from distance or look for the finish in a brawl. It must be said, though, McGregor remained at ease throughout the fight and was confident his more precise work-load was seeing him collect rounds. Allan’s pot-shots were landing with regularity, mind, as he took the seventh round with some eye-catching counter punches.
You suspect, though, that Allan required more sustained spells of success in order to start procuring the rounds necessary for victory and it was, in likelihood, the more prolific body of work from McGregor that was seeing him through the contest. A body shot, catching Allan on the left side, dropped his challenger despite protests and, once more, he began to tee-off on his opponent; Allan’s body began to droop and Victor Loughlin had seen enough. All over in the eighth in a thoroughly enjoyable encounter.
Initially scheduled to face Michael McGurk, Kieran Smith found himself facing a tricky Mexican challenger in the form of Ivan Montero. Montero (21-3) is a veteran of the sport having been a professional for eight years with fights against Michel Soro and Erickson Lubin; McGurk, meanwhile, won the WBC International Silver title against Evaldas Korsakas (another late notice replacement) in November and has stayed busy by beating Jan Balog in March. Three fights on the trot where McGurk has had to face a replacement opponent but, still, a chance to get a reasonable scalp on his resumé.
The pace was bouncy from the off with McGurk, fighting from the southpaw stance, looking to lurch in and attack the body of his shorter opponent. Montero kept a cautious guard with the hands perched loftily around his head but having sought to land a shot of his own Smith was able to land a decent right hand to the Mexican’s cheek. Montero was down on three occasions in the first round, all ruled a slip, and he seemed to struggle to find any sort of comfortable rhythm. Smith looked in control from the outset, rolling his shoulders as they stood opposite each other and continually moving to ensure Montero couldn’t hold ground.
Both men were listed as 6”2’ but it was the home fighter who carried the height advantage and he was visibly punching downwards over the opening phases. Fighting on the outside, like a true southpaw, he seemed comfortable in allowing the jab to pick Montero off while Montero looked to engage in a machismo stand-off – who will blink first. Smith refused to be drawn into such tactics and was persistent in looking to target the body of Montero; his opponent was astute at dipping his legs to prompt a change in levels from Smith.
Montero was more rugged and less thought out than the home fighter and he was brash in lunging in, often missing the mark by some distance, whilst Smith fought on a tether – restrained to begin with and gradually loosening up as the fight progressed. Significant shots landed to boost his confidence and you could feel a relaxation as the fight hit the halfway stage. A clash of heads in the fourth round stirred the spirits and enticed Montero forward as he encroached on the territory of Smith: nipping in when the Scot tried to throw a jab from distance.
Heads collided at the turn of the fifth round with the styles struggling to gel cohesively but, in response, Smith fought to a sharper gameplan with a focus on landing accurately as opposed to with great volume. Jostling around the ring, in response to a lackadaisical posture from Montero, he popped the right hand jab with consistency and actually landed a couple of nice straight-left’s down the gulley of his opponent. A familiar rhythm ensued with Montero unwilling to commit to any game-changing attacks of his own and Smith content to ride out risk-free advantage whilst producing occasional glimpses of his raw ability.
That was enough to prevent any enthusiasm from Montero who would visibly fatigue with each passing round, becoming sluggish and indifferent, whilst Smith stamped his authority over the contest. Not a beatdown, by any stretch, the champion grew stronger as the fight went on and began to unfurl shots with greater spit when the spirit of Montero was firmly sniffed out. A nastyy gash opened up over the bridge of the Mexican’s nose and we went to the scorecards a minute earlier than scheduled – 99-91, 99-91, 99-90. A comfortable win and a performance Smith should be pleased with, given the circumstances.
Conor McGregor Wants Floyd Mayweather Jr. Rematch
By: Jesse Donathan
Conor McGregor needs a big win and he needs one now. At stake, a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and another multimillion-dollar payday. According to a May 24, 2019 bloodyelbow.com article titled, “Conor McGregor insists he’d beat Floyd Mayweather in rematch: I whooped him ‘in the early rounds’,” author Mookie Alexander writes that, “It’s been nearly two full years since former UFC champion Conor McGregor stepped into the boxing ring to take on Floyd Mayweather in one of the richest fights in history.”
According to Alexander, it was a moral victory for McGregor, if such a thing exists, because prior to stepping in with arguably one of the best to ever lace them up in Floyd Mayweather Jr., McGregor had never fought in a professional boxing contest before.
“I was whooping him in the early rounds,” writes Bloodyelbow.com on McGregor’s initial assessments of breaking the ice with Mayweather. “I actually went back to my corner after the first round and said ‘this is easy’. I literally said that to my corner man.”
While Conor was busy playing checkers, Floyd was playing chess. Speaking to FightHype.com, cbssports.com quoted the great Mayweather as stating, “You know I carried McGregor. You know I made it look good for y’all,” writes author Brian Campbell in his December 5, 2017 article titled, “Floyd Mayweather admits to ‘carrying’ Conor McGregor during De La Hoya rant.”
According to Campbell, “there was a lingering feeling from some in the aftermath that the fight, pairing the greatest boxer of his era against a boxing novice, may not have been completely on the up and up.”
The cbssports.com boxing analyst would go on to write that, “At the very least, many wondered whether the 40-year-old Mayweather carried McGregor in the early rounds before switching gears and finishing him late. “
In other words, Mayweather employed a rope-a-dope strategy to lure McGregor into tiring himself out early on and ultimately drew the Irishmen into his tangled web of deceit. And McGregor to this day is busy bragging about how he would fair against Mayweather in the early rounds of a rematch that few want to see; still too foolish or stubborn to see he was played like a fiddle by the boxing icon.
And why would he? Everyone but the general public knew what the end result of Mayweather vs. McGregor would ultimately turn out to be. The entire charade was little more than a revenue generating machine for everyone involved. McGregor had no chance; he was there to collect a check and laugh all the way to the bank. And by all accounts, that is exactly what he has did.
According to a September 8, 2017 NYPost.com article titled, “McGregor already blowing through his $130M payday,” author Stuart Adkins of The Sun writes, “The mixed-martial-arts superstar is clearly enjoying his reported $130 million payday.” Adkins would go on to note that McGregor was reportedly, “… emptying the tank partying in Ibiza after his first professional boxing match, which ended in valiant defeat in Las Vegas.”
Now, McGregor wants a rematch. The Irishmen claims he would beat Mayweather Jr. this time around, though after going approximately three years without winning a fight period, in boxing or mixed martial arts, nobody is buying what Conor McGregor is selling anymore. McGregor has been busy living up to his “Notorious” nickname instead of busy training for big fights. As BoxingInsider.com previously reported, McGregor has been accused of rape in Ireland and has had a string of legal issues since losing to Mayweather in 2017.
McGregor last competed in the cage in October of 2018, losing to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov by submission in a failed bid to recapture UFC lightweight gold. It was a fight McGregor with McGregor’s fate already etched in stone.
Coming off a relatively long lay-off the inactive McGregor faced the undefeated Nurmagomedov destined to be taken down and beat on from post to post. Having proved very little on the mat previously besides a propensity to avoid it at all costs the formula on how to beat McGregor had been written long ago.
The only thing the fight did prove beyond McGregor’s infamous lack of ground acumen was the fact McGregor was willing to step into the cage with legitimate competition in a risky bid to put himself in a better position to lobby for a rematch with the boxing great. McGregor had his opportunity to rematch Mayweather served to him on a silver platter and he let it slip right through his fingertips.
In short, Conor McGregor has lost his way. A former two division champion who made his name cherry picking opponents and fighting smaller men, McGregor now finds himself on the cusp of “Mayweather irrelevancy.” Reduced to begging for rematches against Mayweather and the current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, a loss for the UFC star against virtually anyone else would all but guarantee running it back against “Money” Mayweather would be little more than a waning image in the Irishmen’s rear-view mirror.
McGregor, like the great Bonnie Tyler before him, needs a hero. Someone just like Dmitri “The Lifeguard” Smoliakov; someone to throw the Irishmen a life preserver and save his career from certain major setback. It would be in McGregor’s best interest to go back to his roots in his next outing in hand picking big name, smaller opponents in an effort to maximize the former UFC two-division champions chances of success in what could be characterized as a must win scenario for the Irish mixed martial arts superstar.
On the line, another lucrative payday for both Mayweather and McGregor in a fight that at this time is an incredibly hard if not impossible sell given Conor’s current set of circumstances. McGregor needs another major scalp to add to his belt, and until then he finds himself in no man’s land where the prospect of facing legitimate competition and losing could be potentially monetarily disastrous. Conor McGregor needs a hero. And he’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast, and he’s gotta be ready to carry the fight. At least, that’s how I think the song goes?
McGregor Accused Of Throwing Cheap Shot In Amateur Boxing Match
By: Sean Crose
Conor McGregor is back…in the ring that is. And yes, he’s still Conor McGregor, still spreading controversy wherever he goes, and still reportedly not doing all that great in between the ropes. Last Friday night in Dublin, the UFC star and international celebrity engaged in an exhibition boxing match in his home country of Ireland against Michael McGrane, an Irish electrician and boxing hopeful. Needless to say, the event has drawn attention.
McGrane, it seems, took a left hook from McGregor at the beginning of the fight, when he argues the two men were supposed to touch gloves. “It was as the cheapest shot I ever caught in me life, man,” McGrane, a good natured type, told TMZ, which has video of the incident. “You’re meant to go back to your corner,” McGrane claimed, “but Conor never went back to his corner… leaped at me with a left hook.” TMZ showcased the mark on McGrane’s face that he said came from the McGregor shot. Needless to say, McGregor was not called out for the blow.
“The ref was on his side,” said McGrane. “There’s no way I would have won that fight unless I knocked him out.” With that in mind, TMZ claims it’s been “told the fight ended in a DRAW,” which pretty much means McGregor may well have yet to win a ring battle in either the amateur or professional ranks since becoming a household name several years ago. At the moment, the man known as “The Notorious” is kinda-sorta retired from the UFC and swimming in controversy, some of it quite serious and disturbing.
Through it all, however, McGregor has made it a point to stay in the public eye. Whether he’s pushing his Proper 12 whiskey brand on television, or posting comments on Instagram, the man is terminally keeping himself in the news. Although he tried to crack into boxing by facing Floyd Mayweather in 2017, McGregor ended up being stopped by Mayweather in the tenth round in what had essentially become a one sided fight. The cheap shot story, however, shows that McGregor may have learned some lessons from the old master, as Mayweather famously stopped a dirty-fighting Victor Ortiz via cheap shot back in 2011.
Although openly grateful for the opportunity to face an enormous star like McGregor, McGrane expressed shock at the surprise left hook. “Conor McGregor hit me a cheap shot in his own hometown!!!” TMZ quotes the man exclaiming.
Conor McGregor Accused of Rape
By: Jesse Donathan
There was an eerie silence within the mixed marital arts media; whispers and rumors were circulating throughout social media concerning reports which suggest, “that a well-known sportsperson has been accused of sexual assault,” and “that the star, who has remained unnamed, was on a two-day drinking binge in advance of the attack” according to a December 12, 2018 rt.com article titled, “‘Wild-eyed’: Irish sports star accused of sexual assault engaged in two-day ‘bender’.” The article would go on to state, “the woman is understood to have received physical injuries, including bruising and bleeding, in the attack. No arrests have yet been made.” On Tuesday, March 26, 2019, the social media rumors seemed to have been confirmed as the New York Times published an article titled, “Conor McGregor Under Investigation Over Sexual Assault Allegation in Ireland” by author Tariq Panja.
Photo Credit: Conor McGregor Twitter Account
According to a January 18, 2019 irishcentral.com article titled, “Irish sports star accused of rape and assault arrested and released” the unnamed Irish sports star “presented himself to police at Dundrum Garda Station on Thursday night, having made an appointment. He was accompanied by his lawyer.” A Garda spokeswoman told the Irish Mirror:
“Gardaí [Irish police] in Dundrum investigating an alleged sexual assault reported on Monday 10th December 2018 arrested a man on Thursday 17th January 2019.”
The irishcentral.com article would go on to state that according to one police source, “there is no doubt that this young lady suffered a horrendous ordeal – the examinations and all the evidence shows that she was raped and very badly assaulted in that penthouse suite.”
“Speculation is rife on social media as to the identity of the sports star who can’t be named in Ireland for legal reasons,” writes Niall Connor in his December 12, 2018 irishmirror.ie article titled, “Woman ‘raped’ by Irish sports star in Dublin has ‘partner and young child’.”
In a January 18, 2019 irishtimes.com article titled, “Sportsman arrested over alleged sex assault in Dublin” author Conor Gallagher and Ronan McGreevy write that the unnamed sportsman was, “detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 before being released without charge. A file on the matter is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions and the investigation is ongoing.”
In an unrelated, separate matter, a November 28, 2018 rte.ie article titled, “Man convicted over breach of anonymity in Belfast rape trial” writes that, “a man in his 30s has been convicted in Northern Ireland after admitting that he used social media to publish the name of a complainant in a high-profile rape trial earlier this year. In a statement, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for Northern Ireland said that Sean McFarland appeared in court in Belfast today and pleaded guilty to one charge of breaching a ban on reporting the identity of an alleged victim.” Marianne O’Kane, head of the PPS serious Crime Unit is quoted as stating, “we would also ask the public to take extreme care when publishing any type of commentary on any live court proceedings, given the potential risk of prejudice to a fair trial.”
“People standing trial for rape should not be identified unless they are found guilty, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Ian Paisley has said. It follows the high-profile trial of rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding who were acquitted of rape. Mr. Paisley called for a change in the law to give the accused the same right to anonymity as a rape complainant,” writes the BBC in their March 29, 2018 article titled, “Ian Paisley says raped accused should have anonymity.” The article would go on to quote Mr. Paisley as saying, “No party should be identified in advance of the verdict and only then when there is a guilty verdict.”
The New York Times report comes on the heels of Conor McGregor’s arrest in Miami following an altercation with a fan where McGregor is alleged to have taken liberties with the fans phone resulting in the UFC stars arrest for strong armed robbery according to March 11, 2019 Miami Herald report by David Ovalle.
McGregor burst onto the UFC scene in 2013, going on to become a two-division champion while virtually being the face of organization. Coincidentally, McGregor announced his retirement from the sport Tuesday, March 26, 2019 hours prior to the New York Times article running. The announcement was widely viewed as a faux move, with McGregor holding out from competing in the UFC in a bid to attain partial ownership from the organization. The betting man might come to a different conclusion however, with McGregor’s retirement announcement likely being a strategic move in an attempt to smoke screen and stem the tide of news in the United States of his investigation for sexual assault in Ireland. At any rate, this is bad publicity for the UFC and heartbreaking news to the legions of Conor McGregor fans around the globe.