It is the fight the world is talking about so it is no shock to see boxers and mixed martial artists offering their expert insight into the August 26 showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.
The universal verdict is that McGregor – in his first professional boxing match – does not stand a chance of beating Mayweather – a former five-weight world champion that retired two years ago with a perfect 49-0 professional record.
But while many are predicting a whitewash, former two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi is not convinced Mayweather will have it all his own way at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The 36-year-old New Yorker, who has become a popular figure with British boxing fans thanks to his expert analysis of fights for Sky Sports, believes it is a ‘stretch’ to imagine McGregor winning the fight but he believes there is a way that the Irishman can boost his stock even in defeat.
“It’s like putting a ping-pong champion on the Wimbledon court with Andy Murray,” Malignaggi told Sky Sports. “What do you think the ping-pong champion’s chances are? I’m not sure it would be very great. Conor is the underdog and I believe that he’s up against it in this fight.
“You’re looking for key elements, you’re fighting a 40-year-old man who hasn’t fought in two years – that in itself could cause a bit of a problem for Floyd. If Conor can achieve certain moments in the fight where he gets Floyd’s attention, winning points or even an entire round, even if at the end he loses I think people will look at Conor in a positive light.”
But while Malignaggi believes there is a way for McGregor to earn plaudits in defeat, others are predicting a one-sided drubbing amid claims the UFC lightweight champion has been schooled and knocked out during sparring sessions in the build-up to the fight.
“I heard that they [McGregor’s camp] tried Bradley Wheeler [in sparring] but he knocked him out,” former welterweight champion Jessie Vargas told Villainfy Media when asked for his Mayweather v McGregor prediction. “I’m looking forward to Floyd coming out with a victory by knockout in six, seven rounds – I have no doubt. I actually want to put some money on it – it’s a 99% win.”
Former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is also expecting a knockout finish, but he is going against his boxing colleagues with his Mayweather v McGregor prediction, backing the Irishman to record a quick-fire KO success just like he did when he famously ended Jose Aldo’s decade-long unbeaten streak in just 13 seconds to become UFC featherweight champion in December 2015.
“I think McGregor will do him in one round,” Fury told iFL TV. “I think he will knock him out inside the first 35 seconds like he did to Jose Aldo, to be honest. It would be good for boxing if McGregor chinned him – it would be great for the real people of the world.”