Sport Boxing Conor McGregor is living on a hope and a prayer against Floyd Mayweather

Conor McGregor is living on a hope and a prayer against Floyd Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are finally getting into the ring together. Photo: Composite
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It will be the biggest mismatch in the history of big-time boxing.

When news broke that boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr and UFC superstar Conor McGregor would duke it out in a boxing match in Las Vegas on August 26 (August 27 AEST) – announced, where else, but Twitter – the internet went into meltdown.

People, it seems, are genuinely excited by the prospect.

McGregor, in a similar vein to Mayweather victim Ricky Hatton, has a huge global following. 

As we wrote late last year, he is one of the most charismatic, mesmerising stars in sport.

Floyd Mayweather is pictured in June in Los Angeles
Floyd Mayweather is pictured in June in Los Angeles. Photo: Getty

But McGregor has no business being in the same ring as Mayweather, and certainly no business playing by Mayweather’s rules.

You only have to take a quick glance at footage of him sparring to realise he hasn’t got a prayer. 

Sure he may have heavy hands – but he’s got heavy legs as well. He looks about as light on his feet as your average lumberjack.

Mayweather, even nearly two years from his last fight, won’t allow him to get close and will cut him to ribbons from the outside. 

The only way this thing goes past three rounds is if Mayweather carries him.

You have to think back to the Mike Tyson-Peter McNeeley farce of 1995 – Tyson’s first dance after prison – to think of a mismatch that compares. 

Maybe Oscar De La Hoya’s three-round bruising of Patrick Charpentier in 1998 runs it close, or Floyd Patterson’s fight with professional debutant Pete Rademacher for the world heavyweight title in 1957. (Rademacher, incredibly, knocked Patterson down before being stopped in the sixth.)

McNeeley – a 220-pound potato – was deftly manoeuvred by Don King to the WBC’s No.3 ranking, compiling a 36-1 record that looked impressive until you realised he’d fought opponents hand-picked for their lack of boxing ability. (His first five foes had never won a fight.)

But you can’t even blame Mayweather, who has a history of fleecing the public with soft match-ups, this time.

What’s he supposed to do? Turn down $100 million for what will be the easiest night of his professional life?

UFC chief Dana White, doing his best to talk up the farce, declared: “Mayweather has trouble with southpaws.”

Oh sure Dana – remember all that trouble he had dismantling southpaw Manny Pacquiao a couple of years ago?

And Pacquiao is streets ahead of anything McGregor will bring to this fight. 

Conor McGregor, current UFC Lightweight Champion, at a Liverpool racecourse in April this year
Conor McGregor, current UFC lightweight champion, is well-liked but will struggle against Mayweather. Photo: Getty

If the finest offensive boxers of the past 20 years – Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, Saul Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Diego Corrales – could not dent Mayweather, what makes you think some Irish pub brawler who telegraphs his punches will get near him?

Only the lightning hands of Shane Mosley and Zab Judah have really come close to putting Mayweather on his backside, and each time he was challenged in those fights he simply altered his methods and found a way.

He is the most complete defensive fighter the world has ever seen. 

The only number on McGregor’s side is the fact he’s 28, in his fighting prime, compared to Mayweather’s 40. 

But that won’t help him.

There will be no Irish eyes smiling on August 26, and the most angry of all will be those who shell out money to watch this farce. 

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