Predictions: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor? Duh.
No one with even a rudimentary understanding of boxing gives Conor McGregor much of a chance to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday in Las Vegas.
That’s reflected in this poll of 23 RING experts and other boxing insiders, who are unanimous in predicting that Mayweather, even at 40 years old, will defeat the boxing novice from Ireland.
The only question is whether it will go the distance or end early. And the experts lean heavily toward the latter, as 18 are predicting a stoppage for Mayweather. One believes McGregor will be disqualified.
Here are their thoughts:
HOW THE EXPERTS SEE IT
DOUG FISCHER: Mayweather UD
I don’t know much about Conor McGregor. I’m not an MMA fan, I don’t follow the UFC and I’ve never watched a live McGregor fight (or even a replay in its entirety). And I don’t care enough about this Bizarro World business transaction to bother researching McGregor’s MMA fights to get a gauge on his style. However, I know he’s not a boxer. He’s making his pro boxing debut against Mayweather, so it’s ridiculous for anyone to seriously analyze or contemplate how he matches up with an Olympic medalist who won world titles in five weight classes. McGregor hasn’t even fought the four-round distance. But in his first boxing match he’s supposed to compete with the finest defensive boxer of this generation in a 12-round bout? If there was ever an opponent that could make Mayweather look like Sugar Ray Leonard — heck, like a prime Sugar Ray ROBINSON — it’s McGregor. But something tells me (and that “something” is 20 years of covering Mayweather’s fights) that Floyd will be more than content to carry — and humiliate — his business partner over the distance.
MICHAEL ROSENTHAL: Mayweather KO 4
This “fight” is ridiculous if you remove the business element, more akin to a WWE event than a genuine boxing match. Mayweather is the best boxer of his generation and is as fresh as any 40-year-old in history. McGregor is making his boxing debut. It doesn’t take a genius to see what will happen. McGregor will realize within seconds that he couldn’t hit Mayweather with a handful of rice, making him pathetically helpless prey. Mayweather will toy with the Irishman, popping him with a variety of punches that he won’t see coming. Those shots will sting and fairly quickly break McGregor down. And when Mayweather is ready, he’ll finish the job – either with one big punch or a flurry that will prompt McGregor, his corner or the referee to save him from further embarrassment.
BRIAN HARTY: Mayweather TKO 8
Boxing people already know this: McGregor is not the first person to say that “Floyd has never seen a fighter like me.” To the rest of you: He has. Though they were far too young to have beards at the time. Here’s my prediction: Lots of hats and shirts will be sold. The casinos will come out ahead on the blackjack tables. Mayweather will wait out a couple rounds as McGregor stokes the crowd with that “puncher’s chance,” somebody in the 200-level seats will yell “Knock him the f–k out!,” Floyd and Conor will grin at each other a lot and then over the course of a few more rounds Floyd will counterpunch and check-hook the cauliflowers off Conor’s head before going to town with a 15-punch combination that will draw the referee’s mercy and release a tsunami of buyer’s remorse. A man staying at the Luxor will get drunk and buy a lapdance.
MIKE COPPINGER: Mayweather KO 7
Floyd Mayweather, simply put, will play with Conor McGregor. After Mayweather sees McGregor for a couple of rounds and has time to process his style, it will be absolute toyage. “Money” will pop him with right-hand leads; left uppercuts on the inside; a jab to the body. He’ll do whatever he wants in there. By around Round 5, McGregor should be gassed, and then, Mayweather will begin to really potshot him. Shades of the Arturo Gatti destruction. Floyd should plant him on the canvas with a counter in the mid-rounds before a well-placed body shot drops the bloodied and swollen Irishman in Round 7. This time, he won’t beat referee Robert Byrd’s 10-count.
TOM GRAY: Mayweather TKO 7
What’s to say? Mayweather can do whatever he wants against a boxing novice. I expect the former pound-for-pound star to come out with an exaggeratedly high guard in order to catch McGregor’s shots on the gloves. The threat, however small, will be gauged quickly and Mayweather can then slip into exhibition mode. He can jab off the target. He can stay in the pocket and land single power shots. He can counter off the ropes. The jab and right lead will work wonders. McGregor will look like he doesn’t belong in the same zip code, never mind the same prize ring. I also expect a ludicrous side story as an excuse for the match being pathetic.
RON BORGES: Mayweather KO 9
Mayweather is going to make this guy wish he’d never left Ireland. What I predict is not a knockout but a fight so one-sided it will be an utter embarassment to McGregor and the UFC. Followed by a knockout when McGregor taps out … only to learn there’s no tapping out in boxing. Thus inspired, Mayweather will finally put him out of his misery with a four-punch combination around the ninth round. Irish eyes will not be shining by then but they will have two shiners.
NORM FRAUENHEIM: Mayweather DQ 5
It’s impossible to know what to make of this crazy event. The guess is that we’ve already seen it at its best with the trash-talking spectacle that played out in a frenetic press tour. Spectacle is substance these days. That’s what Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are selling. And people are buying. Dollar-for-dollar, their salesmanship is undisputed. But as a fight, it’s hard to buy. A novice boxer against the best of his generation? The contract prohibits McGregor, the novice, from MMA tactics. But Mayweather’s precise counters will make McGregor forget the contract’s details and force him to be who he is, which means a disqualifying kick in the fifth or sixth round.
ANSON WAINWRIGHT: Mayweather UD
I see this as nothing more than a freakshow. I’m not particularly interested but will probably rubber-neck nearer the time more out of mild curiosty. You have the best boxer of his generation, unbeaten in 49 fights, facing a fighter who has never boxed in his life. MMA is completely different to boxing; it’s like baseball and cricket, tennis and badminton, distant cousins of each other and the skills of each not instantly transferable. We’ve seen how boxers — such as Ray Mercer, James Toney, Ricardo Mayorga, etc. — have fared when they’ve switched codes. This time the boot’s on the other foot. I don’t know too much about McGregor as I don’t follow MMA. He’s clearly a good showman … if that’s your thing. I would imagine he’ll come out and go for broke, Mayweather will play it cautious, use his shoulder roll and pick his moments, landing check hooks, keeping McGregor honest. By the halfway point, Mayweather will be in control and the only question will be whether “Money” can get the stoppage. I don’t think he will but he’ll win a wide, maybe shutout decision.
LEE GROVES: Mayweather UD
Because this event is taking place entirely under boxing rules, McGregor is entering Mayweather’s world — and one does not succeed if someone is competing in another man’s world. This encounter will likely go the distance because the pain tolerance for MMA fighters is so high and because Mayweather will be hesitant to invest full power behind his blows due to his chronically brittle hands. I believe the only way this will end in a knockout is if the talent gap is so large that Mayweather can’t help but score the KO.
MARTY MULCAHEY: Mayweather TKO 5
This is an event, not a boxing match — much like Muhammad Ali’s exasperating exhibition bout with Antonio Inoki — with little to evaluate in terms of styles or competency. The comparison I make is between tennis and ping-pong table tennis: both sports have the same basic concept and set of rules, but whichever champion faces the other in their discipline will lose. So, McGregor is a ping-pong player facing a Wimbledon champion and, as such, will get dominated and lose badly.
MICHAEL WOODS: Mayweather TKO 3
The result is not up for debate. Floyd Mayweather will win; it’s just a matter of how. I think for the good of the sport, it is necessary that fans get their pound of flesh, see a climax. I wish for this, again, for the good of the sport. I picture two rounds of Floyd scouting. watching, dissecting, landing his jab wherever and whenever he wants. He will throw a couple hard lead rights late in the second. Then, in Round 3, after Conor lands one clean punch in the first, and one in the second, Floyd closes the show. He flurries, furiously, and eight punches rain down on the Dubliner, who gets dropped and stopped. Really, this has to happen, something akin to this, so patrons can feel satisfied about their purchase. Mayweather, TKO 3 win. A stoppage at any point, though, will leave people happy — or happy enough.
JOSEPH SANTOLIQUITO: Mayweather KO 6
This has a chance to be more action-packed than the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, simply for the fact that McGregor knows the only way he can win is to go all-out for as long as he can last. That will go on for maybe four, possibly five rounds at the most. By then, McGregor will be spent and I get the impression Floyd will want to stop this guy. It has a chance to be fun while it lasts. let me stress: a chance. The greatest fear is this thing turning into an absolute mess of McGregor running after Mayweather, throwing punches as Mayweather avoids them as if he is Spider-Man, with his Spidey sense looking at McGregor’s punches whisk by in slow motion.
RICKY HATTON (FORMER BOXER/TRAINER): Mayweather UD
I can’t see how Conor can possibly defeat Floyd, Floyd’s the master of defense and always works out his opponent. Unless Conor gets lucky — and I cant see it — then it’s Mayweather all the way. Mayweather-Pacquiao was a stinker of a fight, so Floyd might want to put on a show, and it’s an exciting fight or a total mismatch. Floyd by points.
SERGIO MORA (BOXER): Mayweather TKO 5
Mayweather, even at 40, is too much for this MMA character. Does McGregor have a chance to win? None. Last the distance? Maybe. McGregor won’t win one round. Jabs and a few body shots will end this spectacle. Mayweather TKO 5.
ERIC BOTTJER (MATCHMAKER): Mayweather KO 5
I predict Mayweather in five rounds. I would be shocked if McGregor lasted past eight. He will certainly bring the crowd into it the first two rounds with his antics, rushes, and punches, which will be as accurate as North Korean missiles. He’ll be tired by the third, exhausted by the fifth. Mayweather will have some fun with him before putting him away.
RAUL MARQUEZ (FORMER BOXER/TV ANALYST): Mayweather TKO 9
This is entertainment. Fans are curious; they want to see what a big UFC name, McGregor, can do against the best pound-for-pound boxer of his era, Floyd Mayweather. Floyd will be cautious early in fight. Once he finds his range and figures him out, it’s up to Floyd how much punishment he wants to give to the Irishman. I don’t think Floyd will KO him but will stop Conor late in the fight.
DUKE MCKENZIE (FORMER BOXER/TV ANALYST): Mayweather KO 4
This event is undoubtably box office and should break box office receipts. It brings rival fans together; it can’t fail to be a success. But let’s get real. I’d fight McGregor for £50 million in a boxing match. There’s only one winner. How can a novice boxer, McGregor, beat a pound-for-pound king, Mayweather? Miracles do happen, like when Jesus walked on water. I, for one, can’t wait for the second coming. However, McGregor can’t win and certainly can’t walk on water. Mayweather inside the distance, four rounds maximum.
JOLENE MIZZONE (MATCHMAKER): Mayweather TKO 7
The feeling on this one is that McGregor is a great fighter in the UFC, but boxing is another world. They are trying to use the fact that McGregor has power – well, most of Floyd’s opponents had power; the only difference with the other opponents is they were fighting since they were little kids. It’s very nice that they try and make it that McGregor was interested in boxing when he was little, but being interested and actually fighting in the amateurs for years are two different worlds. So, like the rest of the boxing world, my pick is Mayweather, whether it be by TKO or UD. I’ll go with Mayweather TKO 7.
RONNIE SHIELDS (FORMER BOXER/TRAINER): Mayweather TKO 5
To me it’s not a hard fight for Floyd. McGregor has to come to make the fight; Floyd’s not going to try to make the fight. McGregor has to come forward. The only way he wins is if something happens that I don’t see. I think Floyd stops him in four or five rounds. I think Floyd is going to set him up in the first round to see what he’s got, and after that he’s going to start to pick him apart. I think Floyd will drop him a couple times with bodyshots and I think around the fifth round I think the referee will step in and stop it.
GARY LOCKETT (FORMER BOXER/TRAINER) Mayweather TKO 9
I can see Mayweather showing the gap between a world-class boxer and world-class MMA fighter in terms of “striking.” Conor McGregor will not have been countered anywhere near as cleanly, or witnessed anyone as sharp as Floyd, in his career. The 40-year-old Mayweather has enough in his old bones to register a one-sided beating – or I give up boxing on Monday!!! Mayweather by mid- to late stoppage.
BRAD GOODMAN (MATCHMAKER): Mayweather KO 5
I think Floyd stops him basically anytime he wants. It’s a great event but not a fight. Do I think McGregor has a chance? None. I think Mayweather will stop him in about five rounds.
SEAN GIBBONS (MATCHMAKER): Mayweather KO 6
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Your entertainment dollar spent at its finest. That said, I find it an interesting fight. Floyd should pretty much do what he wants. Conor I think will come out strong and look to attack right away with angles and lots of punches. He could have some early success if Mayweather lays on the ropes. But ultimatley Floyd will start to pick him apart as the fight goes on, and Floyd could end it by KO within six rounds.
TIM BRADLEY (FORMER BOXER/TV ANALYST): Mayweather KO 10
It shouldn’t be a sanctioned fight; it’s ridiculous. The reason this fight is sanctioned is because boxing has no integrity about Money. We know that, the fans know that. It’s about entertainment. This fight should be called an exhibition, not boxing, because Conor McGregor never boxed in his life. Conor McGregor is good at what he does, he likes to strike. Great, but he has no boxing experience; he’s never been 12 rounds in his life. In my opinion, it’s super, super hard to get into tip-top shape, and he has never built that type of endurance over the course of a career to get to this level of boxing — and fighting the best, No. 1 fighter in the world, the smartest guy in the ring. I never got the opportunity to fight Floyd and I’ve done way more than Conor McGregor has. I’m not hating, I’m just telling the facts and keeping it real. Floyd’s going to sit back, Conor’s going to come to him, he’s going to make mistakes and Floyd’s going to make him pay. That’s it. That’s all Floyd’s going to do all night. Floyd’s not going to take chances. I think he could stop Conor if he goes to the body. If he wants to stop Conor, it has to come from a bodyshot because I’ve sparred MMA fighters in the past and let me tell you: They can’t take bodyshots from a professional fighter. I see Floyd dancing, moving, laughing, playing with Conor, Conor trying everything he possibly can to get to Floyd and get Floyd out of his element. Floyd’s a complete professional; he’s going to jab his way to victory, occasionally pop him with the right hand when he can, controlling the distance, controlling the range. If he see’s an opportunity, later in the fight, he may possibly – because Conor will fade – stop McGregor. I want a KO in the 10th. And after Floyd wins, Conor’s going to call Floyd to the Octagon. That’s what’s gonna happen.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright