Can Conor McGregor actually beat Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match? Bettors are putting most of their money on Mayweather, and most boxers and experts doubt it, too. But some MMA fighters and experts are sticking with their guy through it all.
Here’s a compilation of some of the folks who see a path for the underdog to win in the Mayweather-McGregor bout, or at least feel strongly that he has a chance to:
Boxing heavyweight champ Tyson Fury (via iFL)
I think Conor McGregor will knock him out in the first 35 seconds, much like he did to Jose Aldo, to be honest.
Famed boxing coach Freddie Roach (via MMA Fighting)
McGregor is coming to fight. He has two arms, he throws his fists very well, he’s got a big left hand, and he’s not a ground guy so much. He knows the ground game, of course, but he also knows boxing because he spars at my Wildcard West (gym), he spars with a couple of my fighters all the time over there, and one of them is a South African champion and won the world title at one time (Chris Van Heerden), so he’s been in with some quality guys. And I know he beat Paulie (Malignaggi) up a little bit.
[Mayweather] is a very good boxer, yes, but you can’t just count McGregor out completely because one punch can change everything.
Retired MMA fighter Brendan Schaub … sorta (via MMA Fighting)
[McGregor will win] at least one [round]. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins two to three [rounds] early on. . . I will send you guys a dick pic if it doesn’t go all 12 rounds. . . I immediately regret saying that [laughs]. It’s gonna be a good pic though. I’m gonna hire glamour shots. …
If anyone’s gonna get knocked out it’s Floyd. I promise you Conor will not get knocked out. If anyone gets finished that night, it’s Floyd.
UFC light-heavyweight Jimi Manuwa (via The Independent)
I do give McGregor a chance of winning. The thing is Mayweather’s ring craftsmanship is second to none. So Conor has to really make him work and bully him in there – he has to get him into a corner and beat him up. And Conor has MMA skills which Mayweather won’t have seen before.
Coming from MMA, Conor has so many more skills other than just boxing which he can use, such as the clinch and his wrestling ability. Plus he’s the stronger man. So it is going to be a very interesting fight, but it’s key that Conor gets on the inside and really bullies him.
UFC flywight champ Demetrious Johnson (via TMZ):
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.
Fox Sports agitator Skip Bayless (via MMA Fighting)
I give Conor more than a puncher’s chance. I think he’ll set up Floyd to come out of his comfort zone. He’s goaded him with trash talking – Floyd has to try to knock him out because if he doesn’t it would be shameful for the sport of boxing and for Floyd’s fiftieth win.
I think he’ll get him out of his comfort zone, land one shot in the seventh or eighth round and all of a sudden he’ll unleash unholy hell on him.
UFC president Dana White (Bloody Elbow)
Dana White might not be an impartial observer, but he did have this to say:
Conor doesn’t just have to hit him on the chin. He’s going to hit him on the elbows, he’s going to hit him on the shoulders, he’s going to hit him all over his arms, the side of the head, the side of his gloves. He’s on 29-year-old legs. Floyd’s on almost 41-year-old legs, and anybody who’s been 41 knows what that’s like. Conor is the bigger, stronger man who will apply pressure, hit him with hard punches, he will eventually catch him and he will knock him out.