In the lead-up to Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather’s mega-fight, many have doubted McGregor’s ability to learn years worth of boxing training over the course of a few months.
After all, Mayweather sports a perfect 49-0 career record and is one of the quickest, most evasive fighters boxing has ever seen.
While McGregor is one of the best fighters in the world, he has specialised in several styles of fighting, as opposed to just the one he’ll have to use against a master of the style.
However, according to Mike Brown, a former UFC fighter and current MMA trainer, McGregor’s training in MMA-style boxing could actually be an advantage. While some point to McGregor’s size and power as his biggest advantages, Brown told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that he thinks Mayweather could catch Mayweather off-guard with an MMA-style approach.
“McGregor is a big guy, maybe the biggest guy Mayweather has ever fought or close to it. He’s a southpaw and he’s doesn’t move like a traditional boxer. So, the angles Mayweather is used to seeing are slightly off.
“All of those variables tip it a little to Conor’s favour. Not like he’s a favourite, but there are some things that make this a little different from a normal boxing fight. McGregor could never win a decision, obviously. The only way he can win is getting Mayweather with a shot that he doesn’t see coming, hurting him and finishing him. You never know if that big shot could land.”
Brown also pointed to Mayweather’s age as an area where McGregor could benefit.
While few would agree that the fight tips in McGregor’s favour, some of the MMA trainers that spoke to Okamoto echoed similar thoughts — McGregor could stand a chance if he uses size, power, and attacks Mayweather quickly.
One trainer, Robert Follis of Xtreme Couture, said he thinks McGregor may even benefit from trying to box “dirty” against Mayweather to wear him out.
“If he can go in there and hang on his head, dirty box, take warnings from the referee, lose a point even — but potentially wear on him and be physical with him — Muhammad Ali did that in several fights….
“It’s pretty tough for them to disqualify someone in that big of a fight, you know what I mean? Minus biting Floyd’s ear or throwing him out of the ring, he can get away with hanging on the head and dirty boxing. If he does round after round and then unleashes some of that power?”
McGregor simply can’t catch up to Mayweather’s lifetime of training by August 26, the day of the bout. But while many believed that McGregor will have to receive classic boxing training in the lead-up to the event, perhaps he can fine-tune his own skills to give himself his best shot.
While most trainers and fighting analysts still seem pessimistic about McGregor’s chances, many agree there is an avenue, no matter how slim, to pulling off an upset.
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