Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

Whether you agree with this fight or not, Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor is going down this Saturday night, August 26, 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mayweather will enter the ring with a record of 49-0, 26 KOs, while McGregor will face arguably one of the best boxers of all-time with a record of 0-0 in boxing.

Though McGregor has a 0-0 record, he is no slouch in the fight world–he is great in the Octagon, a multiple-weight world champion and a phenomenon for UFC–but this is boxing.

For more reason than one, this fight is one of the most-anticipated fights since Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao. Some combat sport fans really can’t wait for this unconventional fight to take place and the other’s (most boxing fans) just can’t wait for it to be over so the focus can shift to the “Supremacy” fight between Canelo Alvaerz and Gennady Golovkin fight next month.

Love it or hate it, Saturday’s event is shaping up to be one of the most entertaining days in fighting history.

Keep reading for a complete preview and prediction for Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor.


Tale of the Tape

If you look at the Tale of the Tape, this fight doesn’t look like it’s as bad of a matchup as it really is. This Tale of the Tape graphic shows Conor McGregor’s MMA record compared to his boxing record of 0-0.

McGregor is the bigger fighter–he has advantages in height, reach and will likely be the heavier fighter going into Saturday night’s bout. McGregor is also much younger than Floyd Mayweather who is now 40-years-old. It will be interesting to see how these physical advantages play into the fight.

Mayweather has fought 387 rounds compared to McGregor’s 37 rounds in the Octagon. McGregor has only had one true boxing fight camp compared to Mayweather’s pro career as well as his lengthy amateur career.

Again, Mayweather is arguably one of the best boxers of all time and the best pound-for-pound boxer of his generation, is it possible for an MMA fighter to enter the ring and upset one of the all-time greats?

Will Mayweather’s boxing experience and ring IQ be able to trump all of McGregor’s physical advantages? These questions will be answered Saturday night.


Main Storylines 

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

When talk of this fight began, many fight fans were claiming that Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor would determine which sport (Boxing or MMA) is superior. Though this is far from the case, casual fans may still think that whoever comes out victorious is King of the Fight Game.

One thing all combat sports fans can agree on is that yes, it will probably be entertaining, but ultimately this was a money fight–all business.

There are several professional boxers and MMA fighters that have differing opinions on this fight.

Boxers:

Mike Tyson: “Conor’s not skilled enough to box with Floyd. If he fought UFC and then Floyd boxed, then that would be more exciting. Then we’d see how Floyd deals with kicks to the leg. But Conor’s not a boxer.”

Deontay Wilder: “It’s like Floyd always say, ‘It’s like robbing a bank because it’s easy money.’ It’s an easy fight for him. I think he knows it. I think it’s more of a money stunt on McGregor’s behalf. Everybody that fight Floyd, they think about the money, some of them really think they can beat him and they can go in there and really test him like [Marcos] Maidana did, you know Maidana was really hungry to beat him. But with McGregor, everybody got a chance, this is fighting and whoever got the better strategy will win, but this is easy money for Floyd.”

Shane Mosley: “MMA and boxing is like a sprinter running against a long-distance runner in their fields, it just doesn’t work. Strategically, I see Mayweather having a great time in there, smiling and laughing while McGregor is trying to hit him and find him. I see McGregor noticing how hard Mayweather hits, thinking that he doesn’t hit that hard. When he gets hit by Mayweather, he’s going to be like, ‘Oh wow, this is different from UFC punches.’ I think Floyd, if he wants to, can knock him out by the fourth or fifth round. I think that he’ll give the fans a show.”

Andre Berto: “If this were to be an upset, it would definitely be a big blow to the boxing game, for sure. Definitely, definitely. It’s gonna be a big blow to Floyd’s legacy as well. Just being undefeated and able to let some guy upset you and he’s an MMA fighter and he probably talks a little more shit than you talk. It’s gonna be tough for him to swallow if that happens.

“I see Conor coming in there really showing that bravado, showing that cockiness and showing that he’s really there to fight, and somewhat trying to steal the stage from Floyd just with his antics and he kind of gets Floyd into a mind-game situation, has him pulling some type of mistakes and [Mayweather] gets caught with a big shot and gets hurt. And [McGregor] could stop him.”

MMA Fighters:

Jose Aldo: “There is no comparison. It is not similar. Totally different. There is no way McGregor can defeat Mayweather. Mayweather has done this his entire life, and it’s a different sport.”

Nate Diaz: “I think it’s a big publicity stunt, but my take on a boxing match between the two — I think McGregor’s got a good chance to make something happen in [the first] two or three rounds. But I think he’s got an amateur style where he’s only got good movement, good punches for six, eight minutes, and I think that’s too amateur for Mayweather. I’m just saying he’s got a puncher’s chance — if anything.”

Demetrious Johnson: “I’m riding with Conor. I think Conor, he can probably get it done sooner if he goes out there being ferocious, but I’m going with Conor. I think Conor’s gonna get the job done. It’s hard to say. I’ll tell you what: He ain’t gonna make a big check like that in the UFC. Hopefully Conor goes out there and knocks Floyd out, and then he can go ahead and fight the winner of GGG and ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. I’d love to see that.”



Strengths for Each Man

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

Defense: 

While there is debate about whether or not Floyd Mayweather is the best ever overall boxer, it is almost impossible to argue that he isn’t the best defensive fighter of all time. With superb accuracy, he lands and moves. Some call it running, others call it defense—but regardless he knows how to win fights.

Canelo Alvarez: “He doesn’t expose anything. He’s a fighter that if with three punches he wins the round from you, he’s fine with that. He doesn’t expose anything and give a beautiful fight. He doesn’t care in what way he wins as long as he wins.”

Shane Mosley: “I felt that I had the advantage on Floyd. I was very certain that I could hit him with good shots and I thought that could be the difference. I caught him when he thought that he was out of the way. I kind of slid it, a veteran move, and caught him right on the button and rocked him. He was surprised and I was like, ‘Wow, this is my chance. I’m going to get him. I’m going to knock him out.’ But I just couldn’t. He made the adjustment. He was able to capitalize. After that the fight was over. Mayweather did what he was supposed to do as a champion to win.”

Juan Manuel Marquez: “Mayweather has had great defense, long arms, and he’s very smart. Mayweather’s reaction time is amazing. He sees what you are about to throw and is out of there before you can punch.”

Ring Experience: This fight isn’t taking place in the octagon, this is a boxing match. One of Mayweather’s biggest advantages going into this fight is that he has the ring experience. Mayweather has fought 387 rounds in the ring against top-notch competition and has always come out victorious.

 

Conor McGregor

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

Knockout Power:

Conor McGregor’s MMA fight records stands at 21-3, with 18 of those victories coming via knockout. There is no question whether or not McGregor has heavy hands–I mean did you see him knockout Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds?

But McGregor doesn’t just throw bombs; what makes him even more dangerous is that he is quick and precise when striking.

Unorthodox Style:

The combination of McGregor’s knockout power and his unorthodox style is his key to victory against Mayweather. McGregor is going to be the bigger and stronger fighter going into Saturday night’s fight so using his strength in the clinch with his unorthodox or even awkward style– he has a chance to overwhelm Mayweather.

Mayweather is 49-0 for a reason but he has also never fought an MMA fighter. While Mayweather is trying to decode McGregor’s different, untraditional boxing movements as a southpaw in the early rounds, McGregor will have a small window probably 4 or 5 rounds to land his powerful left land and end the fight early.

McGregor is also known to hire Ido Portal who is his “movement coach,” which is even untraditional in the MMA world. This fight is no different, McGregor worked with Ido Portal leading up to his showdown with Mayweather.

“Movement is everywhere. It’s about the distance, it’s about the foot pattern, it’s about the position, the posture of the body, it’s about how to use your hands, how to use the shoulders, it’s about how to use the eyes, where to look, how to look. These are all movement concepts,” said Ido Portal.

McGregor’s unorthodox style will set him apart because Mayweather has never faced someone nearly as crafty. Many people have criticized McGregor’s style during media workouts because he doesn’t look like a high-level traditional boxer but against Mayweather this is easily his biggest advantage.


Weaknesses for Each Man

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Age and Ring Rust:

Floyd Mayweather is an all-time great with superb boxing skills. If it came down to boxing skill alone, this fight would be labeled the biggest mismatch in history but there are other factors that come into play.

Mayweather is getting older, he is 40 years old and throughout camp he has admitted that he can tell the difference.

Mayweather also hasn’t fought since 2015 against Andre Berto. It will be interesting to see how much age and ring rust play into Saturday night’s fight.

 

Conor McGregor

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

Counter Puncher:

One of Conor McGregor’s biggest weaknesses, at least in regards to this fight, is that he is a heavy counter puncher. Even though there has been talk about Mayweather having a different game plan going into this fight, it is unlikely that Mayweather is going to chase McGregor down.

Lack of Experience:

Another weakness for McGregor is simply lack of experience in the ring. McGregor is phenomenal in the Octagon but his skill set in a ring is still a mystery.

This is McGregor’s first ever boxing fight camp and the sport of boxing isn’t something you can pick up on overnight. Yes, McGregor is an impressive striker in the Octagon but it is much different than going 12-rounds with the best boxer of the era.


The Winner and Why

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

Floyd Mayweather has never lost a professional boxing bout and on the other hand, Conor McGregor has never fought in a professional boxing match. With that being said, it is obvious why Mayweather is the early betting favorite. Based on boxing abilities, Mayweather has nearly all of the advantages heading into fight night and in almost every plausible scenario against McGregor, the fight ends with the Mayweather improving to 50-0.

But in this sport, we hear it all of time–this is boxing and anything can happen. The alternate result hinges ultimately on two things: McGregor’s power and Mayweather’s age. Mayweather has taken long layoffs before, but if he comes into Saturday night’s looking like a 40-year-old with an aging skill set, he may just be taken by surprise by the 29-year-old unorthodox MMA fighter turned boxer.

Mayweather has faced southpaws before, but never someone with such an non-traditional style of fighting. McGregor is undeniably a skilled fighter and if he is given the opportunity to land a clean left hand, Mayweather may just lose his “0” in the most infamous way.

McGregor is relentless and his power makes him one of the most notorious MMA fighters in combat sports which could make things interesting. However, if Mayweather comes into this fight in-shape and expecting it to be different and very likely dirty, Mayweather should be able to evade whatever he faces in the early rounds and then adapt back into his stick and move style of fighting. If Mayweather can survive Rounds 1 – 5, as the fight extends he will be able to gradually beat McGregor with his defensive style like he has with his other 49 opponents.

Prediction: Very confident Mayweather will win via decision, but there is a small part of me that believes in the possibility of McGregor winning by knockout with a devastating left hand.

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