America’s out-of-retirement and undefeated world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight against Republic of Ireland’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, Conor McGregor – the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, on Saturday, August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, USA.
Nigeria’s UK-based welterweight boxer, Larry Ekundayo fields questions from Completesportsnigeria.com‘s Johnny Edward and expertly dissects the long-anticipated Mayweather Vs McGregor fight for your reading delight.
Mayweather looks to be the strong favourite to win the bout with Conor McGregor. Can McGregor pull off an upset?
I don’t see that happening. Mayweather has been in boxing for two decades and there’s no fear that the bout with get to kickboxing. Mayweather will knock him down hands-down. It’s an event, not a bout.
Mayweather is a great boxer who knows how to land punches, and don’t forget he is the master when it comes to defensive. Mayweather doesn’t need to worry about the rules of boxing during the course of the bout, but McGregor will because he won’t use his elbow and leg throughout the fight.
McGregor turned a professional boxer in less than six months ago, and you think he will create an upset? I don’t see that happening. Boxing is being shown so little respect that people believe that McGregor can just come in from a completely different sport and beat the greatest fighter of our era.
How much of a factor or setback is Floyd’s age likely to be in this fight?
Age is nothing. A good example is Bernard Hopkins. When he was past his prime, he was knocking out young prospects. The likes of Oscar De La Hoya, John David Jackson and the likes. Forget the fact that Floyd hasn’t fought in nearly two years. He readily admits that himself – that he may have lost a step in that time, and he is bound to have slowed down to an extent.
Whether that’s enough for McGregor to exploit, we won’t know until fight night. But the Irishman certainly has a lot more to prove. Mayweather is arguably the greatest boxer in the history of the sport. Even if his birth certificate offers comfort to McGregor, the American’s performances after prolonged ring absence do not.
Can McGregor stay true to the rules?
That’s left to be seen. When you cannot kick, when you cannot clinch, when you cannot do the arm bar, when you cannot choke somebody out and you can only punch, it’s a whole different sport, it’s a whole different discipline. He’s possibly the fastest growing sportsman in the world I have seen in my lifetime.
I have never seen a rapid rise like it in my life. It will be the biggest ever achievement for him if he manages to pull this off. If a boxer has no chance in a MMA fight, then an MMA fighter won’t stand the heat. I am surprised that McGregor agreed to fight with boxing rules and will challenge Floyd Mayweather as a boxer, not as an MMA fighter.
How damaging would defeat be to McGregor’s reputation and future career prospects?
Sincerely, no damages to McGregor’s reputation. It’s a win-win situation for him but, there’s all to lose for Mayweather. The likelihood is McGregor will go back to UFC where he is still undoubtedly the biggest fish in an ever-growing pond. If he performs well and is still defeated, then who knows, perhaps that will be enough to convince him to stay in the squared circle.
For Mayweather, he took a big risk in agreeing to this fight and his record and history will get some blot if it goes awry for him in the ring. But we all know he ranks among the best boxers.
Would you like to see more bouts between boxers and UFC fighters?
I don’t think there is a clamour for it. This crossover only happened because we are talking about two of the biggest superstars the fight game has ever produced. The money involved meant they were on an inevitable collision course.
But could any other boxing-UFC mash-up draw the attention that Conor and Floyd have?
That is undoubtedly a big no. The old adage in boxing of “if it makes money, it makes sense” means it is unwise to rule anything out.
Your compatriot, Anthony Joshua, is billed to fight Kubrat Pulev in December for the IBF title?
Joshua is an amazing boxer, and I don’t see Pulev winning this one. He will build on his unbeaten performances again.
Okay, on a personal level, what are your plans for the future after the defeat to Gary Corcoran in the WBO International title fight?
Well, I have to go for a surgery to treat my hand. If you saw that bout you will know that I did not deserve to lose. They did everything to knock me off my rhythm. My theme song was not played and the decisions severally went against me, but I’m looking towards my comeback fight in December, and that will be in Nigeria. Afterwards I will seek a rematch against Corcoran for the WBO International title.