Betting Tips and Previews: Boxing

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor - Sunday 27th August 2017

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Las Vegas; a city where nothing is knowingly understated. On Saturday night, the T-Mobile Arena will fill to its’ 20,000 capacity and an audience of billions around the world, will watch Floyd Mayweather Jr. put his reputation as being the best pound-for-pound fighter there’s ever been against the UFC’s legend, Conor McGregor.

It’s the Fight of the Century, and very much a fight of this century. Born from social media, tense negotiations drew to a close when McGregor followed Mayweather’s lead to confirm that the bout was on.

The pair are a promoter’s dream. Mayweather struts around like he owns the place and McGregor has the gift of the gab mixed with an unshakeable self-belief. Hundreds of millions of dollars ride on this bout and nobody can argue that the fighters haven’t pulled their weight in promoting Saturday night’s action.

But the time for talking is over. We take a look at both fighters and their prospects of winning.

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This is a fully sanctioned bout by the Nevada State Athletic Commission so anyone who believes Mayweather’s motivation is purely financial must think again. His clean 49 – 0 is at stake; 50 – 0 takes him ahead of Rocky Marciano’s immaculate record but not without questions hanging over it.

Mayweather surprised a few people by requesting the use of 8oz. gloves in the fight. It underlines how seriously he is taking McGregor. The MMA specialist is used to fighting with 4oz gloves and has superior hand speed; Mayweather can counter this with lighter gloves than his 10oz pair.

Nor is the boxer daft. This isn’t the first mixed fight and boxers haven’t come out well previously. Muhammed Ali’s bout against Antonio Inoki achieved notoriety for its dullness in 1976. Ali threw just six punches all evening, the first in the seventh round as the Japanese martial artist skirted around the canvas for most of the bout, looking to kick at the boxers legs.

With recent bouts under hybrid or MMA rules tending to end badly for the pugilists, little wonder Mayweather insisted on full boxing rules applying. It gives him a significant advantage over McGregor who has never fought a professional boxing match previously. Oscar De La Hoya questioned the Irishman’s wisdom in taking this as his first bout; Mayweather will ruthlessly expose any naivety on his part.

floyd mayweather_.jpg

Countering that is Mayweather’s inactivity in the ring. No amount of sparring can compensate for ring rust and his last bout was almost two years ago when he defeated Andre Berto with a unanimous decision. Will that compensate for his technical advantage?

Despite this, Mayweather is the overwhelming favourite. He won 26 of his 49 bouts by KO, and been put on the seat of his pants just once, Carlos Hernandez doing so in 2001 although Zab Judah thought he’d done so eight years later. If McGregor is to knockout the American, it’s going to take a hell of a punch.

Mayweather has previous in this kind of event. He famously KO’d Big Show at WrestleMania XXIV in 2008; theatrics are the 40-year-old’s speciality.

Having mastered the ring, this feels like the final arena to conquer. 50 – 0 with a win over an MMA legend? Some will raise eyebrows over the record but in the 21st century when boxing is in desperate need of a shot in the arm, what better way to achieve that record?


The mercurial Irishman walks into his opponent’s domain, solidly as the underdog. Not that you would know it from his pronouncements; confidence and self-belief aren’t in short supply with Conor McGregor.

From rags to riches, his estimated take from the fight will be $75-100m; the phrase could have been written for the man who walked away from a plumbing job on a wet afternoon to follow his dreams.

The prospect of taking the scalp arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter there’s ever been and winning seems fantastical but in the fairytale, this is the happy-ever-after ending. Allow reality to intercede.

McGregor is one of the finest exponents of MMA but his boxing experience is limited; his professional boxing experience is zero. A recent analysis of his style suggests he will be left exposed to counter-punches when he leans in to land his punches.


The saving grace is Mayweather’s inability to find the decisive punch; he last knocked an opponent out in his 42nd fight in September 2011. Indeed, the American has only won 14 of his last 31 fights inside the distance.

If McGregor’s chin holds firm, he has a chance, particularly as 15 of his wins have come from KO’s as a result of punches. Mayweather’s chin may be tested as well, particularly with the decision to drop the weight of the gloves to 8oz. The heavier glove favoured the boxer, muting the Irishman’s attack. While the lighter weight improves the American’s defensive speeds, it helps the potency of McGregor’s attack.

The chink in Mayweather’s armour comes from McGregor’s willingness to get ‘in his face’. By the end of the ‘world tour’ promoting the bout, the boxer made no attempt to hide the fact that his opponent was winding him up. Being able to unsettle the American by climbing inside his head could distract him; McGregor’s left might just land if he can keep the banter throughout the night.

McGregor’s best weapon is his amateurism in the ring. It makes him unpredictable and even for an opponent whose strength is anticipation, this is a problem. McGregor isn’t a boxer so he won’t react as a boxer; he’ll have to curb the instinct to kick or choke but his reactions will still be those of a mixed martial artist. Mayweather must prepare for the unexpected but how do you predict the unpredictable?

The final question to answer is whether McGregor’s relative youth will count heavily in his favour. Age respects no man; reactions still slow, no matter how potent they were previously. McGregor will also be heavier come the bout


                MAYWEATHER   McGREGOR
Age:                  40                29
Record:          49 – 0          21 – 3
Height:             5’ 8”             5’ 9”
Reach:              72”               74”
Weight (est)    146              155


  • 0 – the number of bouts lost by Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Never lose sight of this number; it underpins everything anyone says about the boxer.
  • 0 – the number of times Conor McGregor has been knocked out. His three defeats have all been submissions (2 chokes and 1 kneebar).
  • 5 – the most number of rounds McGregor has ever fought in one bout (vs. Nate Diaz, won by unanimous decision).
  • 43% of blows opponents landed on McGregor; coincidentally, Mayweather landed 43% of his punches.
  • 166 – the number of blows Nate Diaz landed. McGregor won the fight without going to the canvas.


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Surprisingly, many observers think the move to the lighter gloves has sealed the bout in Mayweather’s direction; surely it’s the most one-sided fight since Richard Dunn walked to the centre of the ring against Muhammad Ali in 1975?

There’s very little in the cold facts to swing this in McGregor’s favour but you can’t rule out a major upset in the most egregious of match-ups on paper. It’s certainly a bout which has captured the public imagination which underlines the desperation for personalities to emerge in boxing once again.

Fans love them and love to hate them; Mayweather is the former while McGregor is the one they love to love. The world would love the Irishman to win but will be shocked if he does; Mayweather has too much of everything. Bar a knockout punch.

And that may be the difference. He may not have been in trouble before but there’s no doubt that McGregor has the hand speed and power to trouble Mayweather and he might tag him. If it goes the distance, McGregor has the moral victory to some extent and that’s likely to be the only victory he tastes




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Stuart is a freelance writer and well-known Arsenal blogger, writing A Cultured Left Foot since 2006. As well as football, he regularly writes about cricket, tennis, rugby, baseball and American football.

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