On 26 August, Conor McGregor will face a challenge like no other. In stepping into the ring with Floyd Mayweather, he will face a man who is his arguable equal when it comes to drawing in a paying worldwide audience. Both men have indulged in fiery promos, but it is the size of the fight in the man – not the size of the man in the media – which will matter once the bell is rung. Regardless of the outcome, this battle will be the talk of generations.
A price of just 6/1 on a McGregor win reflects the fact that this fight is far from an open-and-shut case. McGregor’s fight betting tips – for a victory in his favour – are open to interpretation. However, there are some curious prices available to bettors in other markets:
Win via KO, TKO or DQ
Though McGregor is a rank outsider, and Mayweather has the incentive of a potential (and unprecedented) 50-0 record, there are several reasons for acolytes of the ‘The Notorious’ to be optimistic of a knockout win.
At 29, McGregor has youth firmly on his side, and may indeed surprise Mayweather with the level of stamina he will bring with him into the ring. For bettors, it is worth bearing in mind that UFC bouts last two minutes longer than those conducted in professional boxing. This could prove crucial for McGregor against a ring-rusty Mayweather.
McGregor also possesses a far superior reach in comparison to Mayweather, and as a natural shoot-fighter, he will find his range quickly and effectively. Thus, by riding out the first two rounds and finding his range, McGregor can begin to work on his opponent.
McGregor’s technique is broken down and analysed.
Win via Decision
Much like his chances of winning by knockout or stoppage, McGregor’s chances of a decision win (again) rest on his ability to find an optimal striking range. As odds of 40/1 in favour of that scenario imply, Mayweather is far too seasoned and successful to be penetrated by McGregor’s punches. As such, the Irish underdog may decide to take inspiration from Muhammad Ali.
The ring legend is famous for many feats, but his knockout win over George Foreman in Zaire on 30 October 1974 stands prominently as a true watershed moment in professional boxing. Since Ali’s pioneering of the ‘rope-a-dope’ style, whereby the opponent is exhausted through wasted punches, it has been a shield against defeat for many long-range fighters – especially those that know they would be overpowered if fighting toe-to-toe.
Mayweather’s natural cockiness, and determination to break Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record, may well lead him to go all-out for victory – as Foreman did 43 years ago. Having ‘retired’ with the same record as Marciano in September, it has been a relatively long time since Mayweather last fought, and this can only count against him in the later rounds, where it is anticipated McGregor will enjoy his best form.
A watershed moment?
Though boxers and MMA fighters have previously defected from one style to another, it is a relatively rare event. Indeed, the memory of boxer Art Jimmerson’s submission defeat at UFC 1 to Royce Grace, back in 1993, serves as a constant reminder of the dangers that face athletes attempting to fight an opponent with an entirely different style:
It is admittedly a long shot, but if McGregor defies the odds, and beats Mayweather, then many budding MMA fighters will also no doubt consider themselves capable of mixing it in the squared circle, as well as the octagon. In such an event, the clash would go down in history as a battle that seismically, and irreversibly, changed the landscape of combat sports.