We are a mere 10 days away from the most highly-promoted boxing match ever. On Saturday, August 26, the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr.,who is generally considered the best boxer of his generation, and perhaps the greatest pound-for-pound boxer ever, will take on UFC superstar Conor McGregor, who boasts similar accolades within the Mixed Martial Arts realm. The fight has already accomplished the monumental task of getting people interested in boxing again after the disastrously boring Mayweather vs. Pacquaio fight. In May 2015, Mayweather danced his way to a unanimous decision despite neither him nor Pacquaio taking much damage, and millions of Pay-Per-View customers feeling like they got gypped.
So here we are, two years later and in similar circumstances with Mayweather as the heavy favorite. But many McGregor fans believe that Conor will deliver the first loss in Floyd’s professional career. What will happen when these titans clash on August 26th? Here’s our best guess.
WHY MCGREGOR WILL WIN
In all contact sports, most athletes start to drop off as they approach the dreaded age of 40—which Floyd hit back in February. Conor has the clear-cut youth advantage as he just turned 29 a few weeks ago. Decades of high-intensity training generally take a heavy toll on the human body and Floyd’s endurance and toughness are going to be thoroughly tested. McGregor also owns a slight size advantage being one inch taller with two inches more reach.
Conor’s MMA skills cross over to boxing. McGregor is a fantastic striker and has the mental toughness to compete with anyone. A fighter cannot rise to the level that McGregor has in the UFC without being put to the test. In terms of the actual damage and physicality that Conor will face on August 26th, he’s already been exposed to much, much worse.
Lastly, Conor has the fire. The passion and desire that burns inside Conor McGregor is palpable. It gushes out of every pore of his skin. It is impossible to watch Conor McGregor and not be impressed by his fighting demeanor. McGregor is an ass-kicker of the highest order and a big reason why this fight is even marketable.
WHY MAYWEATHER WILL WIN
Whether you are a fan of football, baseball, or boxing, many fans don’t realize that technique is more important than strength, speed, or agility. The guy with the better strategy will often defeat an opponent that outmatches them physically. Although Conor may have the edge in many physical aspects, Floyd has the almost overwhelming edge in technique and strategy.
Not only is Floyd’s boxing technique nearly flawless, Mayweather regularly games his opponents mentally. Mayweather has a unique ability to transform himself into a supervillain in the eyes of his opponent. Floyd’s opposition have so much hate for him when they step into the ring that they can’t help themselves from going after him full-bore. This plays right into Mayweather’s hands as he has mastered the art of defensive boxing. Mayweather is extremely difficult to land punches against and is an excellent counter-puncher. If McGregor takes the bait and is too overzealous in the opening rounds, Floyd will easily cruise to his 50th victory.
Finally, Mayweather outmatches McGregor in overall experience. Floyd’s professional record stands at 49-0 while Conor sits at 21-3. Mayweather has been in twice as many fights as McGregor and has been fighting for much longer. It’s true that Maywather wouldn’t last half a round in an MMA fight against McGregor—but this isn’t MMA. This is boxing where nobody has more experience than Floyd. If Floyd’s game is technically sound, there is no chance he will lose. McGregor’s only chance at victory is to capitalize on a Mayweather mistake. However, the chances of Mayweather making a mistake in the first place are pretty small.
HOW TO BET ON THE FIGHT
I have bad news for McGregor fans—the time to bet on Conor was MONTHS ago. When betting opened in November 2016, McGregor was getting 10:1 odds. (For non-gamblers, that means every $1 bet wins $10.) By April 2017 those odds had fallen to about 5:1. Now, the odds of a McGregor victory sit at 3.5:1.
As you might expect, the odds for Mayweather have gone the opposite direction. Mayweather opened at a 1:22 favorite (meaning you’d have to bet $22 to win $1). Those odds have improved significantly to 1:5. Personally I think this is part of the genius of Floyd Mayweather. Just yesterday, social media was on fire with reports that Mayweather had been “knocked out” by his sparring partner. If true, this would look very bad on Floyd and give McGregor fans some hope that an upset victory is possible. The problem is, I think this is just a lie perpetuated to drive the betting odds even closer. This theory makes even more sense when you consider that Floyd has a history of betting on himself to win fights.
The bottom line is the “value” bet has swung back to Mayweather. Although you have to risk $5.50 to make $1, betting on Mayweather remains the safest play. McGregor fans tend to be diehards who will back him regardless, but +350 (3.5:1) are not very good odds for an upset of this magnitude. Personally I really want to see Mayweather lose but I wouldn’t take McGregor for anything less than 5:1 odds.
Whatever happens, let’s just hope this fight is more exciting than the Mayweather vs. Pacquaio snoozefest.
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