The war of words between UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and professional Instagram gambler Floyd Mayweather has really captured the public imagination. Word on the street is that Sly Stallone, Elon Musk, and even Blake Lively are interested in seeing the two egomaniacs square off in the ring and it sounds like the two protagonists are both ready to rock:
I am in Las Vegas. Floyd has retired on my arrival. pic.twitter.com/z9EcxBJaDr
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 15, 2017
And while “who would win” discussions are among the most stimulating around (Steve the Intern has been arguing that a tiger would beat a bear for the last seven years) this one’s a little misguided. The writing’s on the wall, folks, and here’s why:
No 8: Twelve 3-minute Rounds > Five 5-minute Rounds
We can split hairs all day about which sport requires better stamina—the point is that McGregor has never boxed for 12 rounds in front of a mass audience. In fact, he hasn’t boxed for 12 seconds in front of any audience. He’s simply not physically prepared for this. He will bust his nut early going for a knockout, and when it doesn’t work, Floyd will be in complete control.
No 7: Bigger Gloves = Less Power for McGregor
The difference between 4 and 8 ounces is a BIG deal. The smaller glove size in MMA is part of the reason the UFC is known for having more frequent (and more dramatic) knockouts than professional boxing. There’s a chance McGregor’s power wouldn’t transfer at all with the heavier gloves.
No 6: Mayweather Has a Great Chin
Believe it. Floyd was molly-whopped by some of the hardest punchers of the last two decades, and on those rare occasions when he did take a punch, he did it with commendable aplomb. His chin is up there with Bruce Campbell’s.
No 5: Mayweather Has Better Hand-Speed
This should go without saying. There’s a very short list of people with faster hands than Floyd Mayweather and none of them are from Ireland. In fact, that list probably begins and ends with Zab Judah.
No 4: Mayweather Has Better Foot-Speed
Like Tom Brady, Floyd is known for his unflappable poise in the pocket, but he’s also shown that the fastest people in the game aren’t going to catch him if he doesn’t want them to.
No 3: Mayweather is Smarter
There. I said it. Floyd might not be able to read good, but he did trick the mainstream sports-viewing public into buying a half-dozen PPVs featuring a safety-first technical boxer. And that’s pretty f*@#ing smart. Also, don’t mistake a lack of morals for a lack of intelligence. In one of the savvier moves in the history of the boxing business, Floyd became his own promoter and landed himself a (way) bigger slice of the pie to take advantage of all the PPV buys that he tricked people into purchasing.
No 2: Floyd Has Better Power
No, I am not huffing paint or high on nutmeg right now. Yes, Floyd is known as a defensive fighter and McGregor knocks people TFO, but punches are like the Graboids from the movie Tremors: it’s the one you don’t see that gets you. Think of Conor McGregor’s career—he’s made it by surprising MMA fighters with boxing-style pot-shots that UFC competitors aren’t used to seeing. Floyd, on the other hand, has done the same against elite boxers who are used to that kind of thing and known for being invincible. Floyd can knock people out, he just usually chooses not to. He knew that his undefeated record was his biggest asset (especially towards the end of his career) and he simply decided he was better off collecting unanimous decision wins, rather than going for (potentially risky) knockouts.
No 1: McGregor ISN’T A BOXER and Mayweather is One of The BEST EVER
HELLO!! Can we please stop pretending this is an even playing field or that McGregor has a chance? This ISN’T an MMA fight or even a hybrid combo of MMA and Boxing: it’s a boxing match between one of the best to ever lace up the gloves and someone who has never boxed professionally and probably won’t be very good at it.
Sorry, he just won’t be. Boxing trainer Teddy Atlas humored ESPN on this in 2016, telling them it would take him 5 years to train McGregor for a big boxing fight—but he gave a caveat that realistically we should all “think in terms of social security.” Freddie Roach was more generous, saying it would take 3 years, but admitted that McGregor wasn’t looking so hot in sparring sessions with professional boxers at his gym.
We totally get the curiosity, but don’t delude yourself: Boxing is the kind sport where you need to be a lifer. Only one of these men fits that definition.
Conor McGregor is a genius of self-promotion, but he should stick to his own sport. This fight would be like a NASCAR vehicle versus a Formula One car on the streets of Milan. Compelling at first, certainly, but after that first turn…it’d be clear which is the superior model.