Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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So Conor, What First Attracted You To A $100m Fight With Floyd Mayweather?

TPQ stalwart and regular commenter Daithi O’Donnabhain, discusses the potential boxing match between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.


Daithi O’Donnabhain

Conor McGregor has recently received his California boxing license setting up a potentially lucrative fight with Floyd Mayweather. This article explains why I think Conor would lose this spectacle, and why it still worth him trying at least.

The entry point in the saga is that Conor seems to be in a pay dispute with the UFC. In the UFC 205 post-Alvarez fight conference, he repeatedly said he wants an equal stake in the gate revenues if he is to return to the octagon. For a fighter that had more pay per views than the whole of boxing combined in 2016, but a fraction of a boxers pay, he has a point: he is undervalued at present. A fight with Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather would increase his highest UFC cheque by a factor of 50. It's something Floyd has seemed open to, and has been rumoured to be having “50-0” (50 wins , 0 losses) merchandise being made already in anticipation of his comeback victory.

Floyd is typically confident, but then he has earned the right to be: his numbers speak for themselves. He is as skilled a businessmen as a boxer, and for someone said to be totally illiterate, he knows how to count zero’s just fine. He is everything that Conor should aspire to in sporting and business fields. He set up his own promotion company, having no bosses like Dana White in the UFC or Bob Arum in boxing, ensuring that he takes home the biggest cut of any event he is in, and is said to have amassed an $800m fortune in the process. And this figure seems an adequate monetization of his talent, as probably the pre-eminent athlete of his era in any sport.

But is this still his era - he has been retired for over a year after all? If Floyd enters the ring in anything resembling the condition he has fought before, I would imagine they would have to fight 50 times for Conor to win once. Floyd probably won't knock him out: he hasn’t done that to an opponent since Ortiz in 2011 (infamously hitting him after hugging gesture, before this the next last knockout was Hatton 2007), but he would outpoint him nearly every round until the 12th. This will be a boxing match, on top of whose rules Floyds contract will add extra stipulations (like Glove types) to his increasing benefit. Totally in keeping with the marginal gains philosophy. And the rules of the fight will determine who wins this spectacle. For example, if Floyd entered Conor's octagon, Conor would win every time, and he wouldn’t last longer than a minute.

Conor's chance improves depending on what toll time and lifestyle have taken on Floyds body. Conor also has a 2 in reach advantage which would make it the largest Mayweather has faced. Imagine how the Alvarez fight could have gone if Eddie's final punch of the fight was even one inch closer. Would he then have faced the four punch combination that finished him, or would Conor have been staggered?

One aspect that will be quite telling is if this match with Floyd is his first fight professionally, or if he takes at least one opponent before him. It makes little sense to test yourself first off with someone with a legitimate claim to being the best ever in his sport, unless you think you will be beaten by a lesser fighter thus reducing the chance of the Mayweather payday.

Conor has the range controlled in the octagon, but Floyd is the master in the ring. As good as Conor is in his stand-up game, Floyd has shown under boxing rules, he is by far the best around. The nearest competitor to him was Manny Pacquiao and I had waited since at least 2008 for Manny to prove himself the better fighter, but he couldn’t get close to Floyd, who turned in a thoroughly brilliant performance, but in a cumulative sort of way, mostly after the final bell when it was clear Floyd had choked the drama from the spectacle so completely, so professionally.

Mayweather with his characteristic timing picked the fighter that was on the descent from his 2010 peak. Timing beats speed as someone once said. Heavy hitters such as Hatton, Canelo, Marquez were forced to wait to land even one big shot, and that chance never came for them. He just leaves no openings where you could see Conor's left landing (out of all 49 fights I watched of his, only twice, versus Mosely & Maidana, has his defence been significantly breached). It sounds almost flippant, but Conor's best chance would be a first round knockout, before Floyd finds his range and balletic rhythm.

But even after all this, its still worth Conor pursuing. He will lose no credibility in MMA for having tried a different sport and lost. He doesn’t have the perfect unbeaten record to defend like Floyd's perfect boxing record and whatever sense of loss he does feel will surely be soothed with that gargantuan chunk of cash. And with a family on the way $100m will go along way to ensuring he doesn’t need to fight forever to support them, with all its associated risks.

This is the bare minimum to expect too. What happens if he confounds expectations like throughout his career, and actually beats Floyd? Well a $300m rematch would be on the cards at the very least, and the prestige of taking Floyd's perfect record would be world shattering. I really, really hope this is the case, but experience tells us Floyd always finds a way.

13 comments :

Steve R said...

"Someone with only a year of training in boxing and wrestling could easily defeat a martial artist of twenty years experience"-- Bruce Lee

Boxers are trained to cope with taking hits and to keep on their feet. It's a completely different skill set. McGregor, as much as I enjoy his showmanship, would be picking up his teeth with broken fingers if it was a straight up boxing match.

Enjoyed the article Daithi!

DaithiD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DaithiD said...

Thankyou for carrying this! At least one comment (my own !) will soothe my ego. Very topical subject if you are following this subject.Its more understandable than politics at least.

jgr33n said...

Although this fight will likely never happen - Conor has a good left hand, devastating to some in MMA but many in the MMA aren't hit as often as a boxer is (although striking is making a comeback in recent fighs) and he is likely to find a top flight boxer harder to hit and harder to knock down - plus don't forget Nate Diaz rocked Conor's world with heavy punches in the first fight where it looked like Conor went for the take-down to avoid being knocked out and Diaz trains with some world-class boxers. So sure take the Mayweather fight for money but given Money's last few outings it would likely be a snooze fest as Mayweather tags and moves to outlast and outpoint McGregor.

AM said...

DaithiD,

I think boxing at the strata peopled by fighters like Mayweather is a league apart. I could not see McGregor surviving there. I'm thinking of a classy table tennis player trying his hand at hurling on the basis that both are bat based sports.

DaithiD said...

Thanks all.
A common theme in the comments is the supposed damage to Conor Floyd would do, I really dont think so, Floyds hands suffer from being brittle, he doesnt punch with tremendous power anymore because of it. The power in Conors left is what gives him a slim chance, because even moving backwards he can knock people out when he seems to merely touch them with it.

jgr33n said...

Good point, Daithi, I just think Mayweather would tag and move - not necessarily knock out Conor but outpoint him - and Conor would chase shadows just like a lot of other fighters did with Mayweather even when they had punching power that they never got to use because Mayweather tags and runs.

DaithiD said...

thanks jg33n,sure.And one tactic that killed Pacquiaos attempts to build momentum was just to reach out and grab him. There are many things such as this that are natural to Floyd, but Conor wouldnt have the 'muscle memory' for. But hey, for $100m Floyd could offer to bugger me silly in the middle of the ring for 36 mins, id probably still go for it. Conor put in a wild performance in the first Diaz fight, but at least he showed he could learn from it in UFC 202.PS Those Diaz brothers can take incredible damage but still retain their motor functions.

AM said...

DaithiD,

Floyd will probably consider bare knuckle fighting 1000 starving crocodiles at once for 36 hours rather than the offer of 36 minutes with yourself

larry hughes said...

I think if its boxing rules it will be hard for McGreggor to catch him, he runs that fast.

Great world said...

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DaithiD said...

Thanks Great world, while you are here, I dont suppose you know a Dr that will cure HIV/Herpes at affordable prices do you? For some reason, I think you might know a few. Asking for a friend.

DaithiD said...

PS while I am on this, I would add, in the pre-fight media, Floyd wants to give the impression he isnt preparing for this fight at all, he is photo'ed at pool parties in Vegas or cycling though Miammi when he is supposed to be in camp training. The conspiracy lover in me thinks he could throw the fight and point to bad preparation as an excuse why the $500m re-match(es) will yield different results. I think $500 on a third round knockout for Conor at 33/1 is worth a bet (one I will be doing myself) on the basis that Floyd would value the pay days more than maintaining his perfect record.