Celtic Warriors Gym boss Paschal Collins was involved in Team McGregor ahead of Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather mega fight, but stepped away to enable an utterly unique approach for ‘The Notorious.’
Conor McGregor goes into the fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with the five-weight boxing champ having completed a camp without a specialised boxing coach. Granted Tommy McCormack is in the corner doing cuts, however it is striking coach Owen Roddy and BJJ coach John Kavanagh in charge.
Some view this move as naivety, however Cabra coach Collins sees this, conversely, as McGregor’s best chance of pulling off the greatest upset in sporting history.
Indeed, Collins had an opportunity to have a greater involvement in the camp, but would reluctantly turn the chance down, believing it would be counter-productive for McGregor.
Earlier this Summer the former pro super middleweight worked with the McGregor camp, and Collins explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “I was working in the team with John [Kavanagh].”
“I was back and forward with John because he wanted me to be part of the camp, he wanted me to be the boxing coach, well, more of a boxing adviser.”
“I knew that the fight was happening, he told me that, and we were talking every day, I was over in the gym.”
“As John admits, he’s not experienced on the boxing end of it. John was asking me about rigs, so I got rigs set up for them, I got the bags, they asked for professional referees so I got on to Emile Tiedt, we talked about gloves too, the weight and what gloves I thought was best. We’d a very close working relationship.”
However, when it came to coaching, Collins felt that change would hinder McGregor’s chances.
The 2014 and 2015 Irish trainer of the year described how “when it came to the actual camp, it happened so quick, we had a meeting, were talking, and John thought ‘is there any point at this stage to bring in a boxing coach and trying to change things?'”
“John asked me my opinion, because I’m brutally honest, and I said ‘as much as it kills me to say you’re right, because it is an opportunity for me to be part of this and make a few bob, you’re dead right.'”
“His pad coach, [Owen] Roddy, is his friend, he trusts him, he’s a hard worker, he’s a good coach, so why change it?”
“They’re going to fight him as a mixed martial artist. Why take someone and try to make him a boxer in two months to face the best boxer? He’ll beat you if you fight him as a boxer. Fight him as a mixed martial artist, within boxing rules.”
While those in Camp Conor are confident to almost unbelievable levels, Collins would not go this far – however he does not dismiss the Crumlin fighter’s chances like many others have.
“I hope Conor McGregor goes out there and wins, and I hope he wins early.” said Collins
“People are trying to make this fight UFC v boxing, forget about all that, this is combat sports.”
“I want Conor McGregor to go in and knock him out, nothing against Floyd Mayweather, I think he’s one of the best boxers of all time.”
“Conor is a Dublin man, I know Conor, I know his whole camp, and I’m looking at all these lads from working class Dublin all involved in a pay-per-view event in Las Vegas – celebrate them!”