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Mayweather vs. McGregor Preview

By on August 24, 2017

mayweather mcgregor 2We’re getting closer and closer to the fight that many, including myself, never thought would happen: Mayweather vs. McGregor.

Much of the talk about this fight, and definitely the profitability of the fight, has hinged upon one basic question: Can Conor McGregor win?

A lot of bad sports analogies have been thrown around over the past six months to describe what Conor’s trying to do, such as a hockey player playing baseball, etc., but those are awful comparisons. The one that I’ve said is the best comparison, and the one that I don’t see anyone else making, is a decathlete trying to take on a specialist in the 100 meter dash, or hurdles, or any other specific track and field event.

Decathletes, like mixed martial arts fighters, have to be good at several different disciplines. However, they don’t have to be elite in any of them. Sometimes they are, sure. But the real trick is to be consistently good enough at all of them to win the overall decathlon.

Another good comparison would be a regular golfer vs. a long drive champion. There are some great all-around golfers who can hit the ball a mile, but the regular golfer has to spend time putting, chipping, hitting out of the sand, etc. They can’t focus 100% on hitting long, straight drives, just like the decathlete isn’t going to spend all of his or her time working on the pole vault. So to expect a decathlete to beat someone who spends all of their time and energy perfecting the pole vault is crazy.

So Conor can’t win, right? Well, slow down a bit. Because in combat sports, you can’t forget the fact that the best man doesn’t always win. As counterintuitive as it may sound, it’s true. That’s because human beings react in surprising ways to being punched and kicked and the unexpected can happen. Matt Serra was not a better fighter than Georges St. Pierre, full stop. It’s just a fact. But he won. And so can Conor.

What does Conor need to do?

Conor needs to get Floyd out of there by round six, period. He can’t try to box with Floyd. Instead, he needs to take advantage of what he has that Floyd doesn’t, which is an unpredictable style. While Conor has never learned how to “box” like a professional, that doesn’t have to be a weakness. When the other fighter is trying to anticipate and respond to your actions, fighting in an unconventional way can be a huge advantage and actually help you surprise your opponent and land punches.

McGregor needs to switch stances. He needs to throw fakes and punches at weird angles. Try different combinations and feints. He needs to take advantage of the fact that he’s from a different sport and also that he’s a lefty, which is always an awkward matchup for an orthodox boxer. But most of all, he can’t rely on the judges giving him close rounds and he definitely can’t count on Floyd getting tired. He needs to win decisively in the opening half of the fight.

What does Floyd need to do?

Floyd, quite simply, needs to stay out of trouble and not get absorbed into Conor’s type of fight. He needs to have the mindset that boxing is his sport, the ring is his home, and he doesn’t need to fall into any of the traps Conor will be looking to set. The more defensively Floyd can fight, the better…at least, at first.

Later on, I believe Conor will struggle with stamina. He has had trouble with his cardio in the past, and in boxing, when you can’t sneak a little breather in with a well-timed clinch or takedown, it could spell doom. If tiring takes even the slightest bit of zip or snap out of Conor’s punches, Floyd will be able to open up with greater frequency, adding clearly won rounds to the pile of close rounds that the judges are sure to favor him in.

Conor can win, but he’ll be fighting more than just Floyd to do so. He’ll be fighting his own cardio, his nerves, even the judges on Saturday night. Let’s see if he can pull it off.


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