CLEVELAND -- The boxing and mixed martial arts worlds collide tonight when combat sports champions Conor McGregor and Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. step inside the squared-circle for a scheduled 12-round bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It is a unique bout in many ways, most notably because McGregor has never boxed professionally, while Mayweather is an undefeated former five-division champion, but none the less, the two combatants will get to prove which sport has the better strikers.
Here are three reasons why Mayweather could win the crossover bout.
EXPERIENCE ON HIS SIDE
The 5-foot-8, 151-pound Mayweather has won the WBC super featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and light middleweight crowns, along with the IBF welterweight title, WBA (Super) light middleweight and (Super) welterweight titles and WBO welterweight championship.
On his way to a 49-0 record, the 40-year old Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marcos Maidana (twice), Arturo Gatti, Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya, all of whom are current or former champions across several weight classes.
After his decision win over Andre Berto on September 12, 2015, Mayweather decided to hang up the boxing gloves and retire, that is until a potential nine-figure payday to fight McGregor came across his desk.
STYLES MAKE FIGHTS
It has long been said that styles make fights, and if that is the case, Mayweather is in the driver’s seat, so to speak.
Last November, the 28-year old McGregor went to Madison Square Garden in New York City looking to make history and become the first simultaneous two-division champion in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and that is exactly what he did.
While taking a right-handed punch from Eddie Alvarez, McGregor fired off a powerful left hand that landed on the side of the defending champion’s face. McGregor followed it up with a right hand to Alvarez’s jaw, a left to the ear and another right that eventually floored his opponent.
Once Alvarez was on the mat, McGregor landed two left-handed punches, and that exchange forced referee “Big” John McCarthy to call a stop to the bout at the 1:52 mark of the second round.
Under boxing rules, such a finish would not be permitted, and McGregor would have to go to a neutral corner while a referee administered a count to a downed Mayweather rather than following through for a finish against a downed opponent.
IF THE GLOVE FITS…
At the super welterweight class, boxers traditionally wear 10-ounce gloves, but due to requests from both sides, the Nevada State Athletic Commission allowed the combatants to wear eight-ounce gloves for the bout.
Although McGregor has never boxed professionally, he is 21-3 in his professional MMA career, and has won nine of his 10 bouts in the UFC.
Of his 18 wins by knockout or technical knockout, 16 have come via punches, while Mayweather has not finished a fight since a fourth-round KO of Victor Ortiz on September 17, 2011. Mayweather’s last seven wins have come either by majority (two) or unanimous (five) decision.
However, regardless of eight or 10-ounce gloves, they are double the weight of what McGregor is used to competing with. In MMA, fighters use four-ounce gloves, and that extra weight/cushion could very well negate some of McGregor’s power.