Can Conor McGregor Fulfill His Promise to Knock Out Floyd Mayweather Inside Four Rounds?

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Can Conor McGregor Fulfill His Promise to Knock Out Floyd Mayweather Inside Four Rounds?

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Can Conor McGregor Fulfill His Promise to Knock Out Floyd Mayweather Inside Four Rounds?

It’s not far away now; the mega-money bout between one of the UFC’s biggest stars and the undefeated 49-0 world champion boxer. Conor McGregor, a two-weight champion in the UFC, will be taking on Floyd Mayweather, who retired for the second time from boxing in 2015, in a fully sanctioned boxing match.

By way of a sporting experiment, it’s to see who would win between a boxer and a mixed martial artist. At the end of it all, Floyd Mayweather could lose his perfect record to someone who has never participated in a meaningful boxing match, or Conor McGregor will lose some pride when coming out of his comfort zone but will ultimately return to the UFC.

Commencing their promotional tour, Mayweather and McGregor have been dealing out all of their big talk at huge venues to promote their fight and enforce their respective corners. Along with the usual trash talk synonymous with both fighters, the mixed martial arts star claimed that he would knock out the boxer inside four rounds.

Caution: the video below contains strong language:

As often as fighters do like setting a public number as an intimidation tactic, there may be some real insight behind Conor McGregor’s claim. Given their respective fighting backgrounds, no one is giving the UFC champion a real shot at winning, but could a fourth-round knockout be one of the few plausible passages to victory for McGregor?

Floyd Mayweather as an opponent

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''Floyd Mayweather' - Bryan Horowitz via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Particularly after he came out of retirement, Floyd Mayweather was well known for his defensive abilities in the ring. Coupled with his fleet footedness, speedy jab, and mobility, Mayweather was able to outbox many of his foes while evading the majority of punches thrown his way.

While the overall entertainment quality of his fights died down a great deal as he made his way to 49-0 – particularly in the fight that everyone had waited too long to see, Mayweather versus Pacquiao – he proved time and time again that his blend of speed and defence was enough to sway the opinion of the judges come the final bell.

Having been out of the ring for two years and now sitting at 40 years old, it’d be fair to assume that the boxer will have lost a fair amount of the pop behind his punches. He may still have the speed and awareness to stick to his game plan, but he’ll pose a significantly weaker knockout threat – which has been shown by his recent fight history.

September 17, 2011, was the last time that Floyd Mayweather managed to knock out an opponent, which was when he faced Victor Ortiz to reclaim the WBC World welterweight belt. Since then, Miguel Cotto, Robert Guerrero, Saul Alvarez, Marcos Maidana twice, Manny Pacquiao, and Andre Berto have taken the American to 12 rounds and the judges’ decision; with five of the seven being unanimous victories.

Floyd Mayweather is expected to win this bout with Conor McGregor, and if it reaches the full allotted time, it’s extremely likely that the judges in the Las Vegas venue – a city that has hosted Mayweather for his last 14 fights from April 2006 – will rule in his favor. Mayweather simply possesses too much boxing know how to not make it through 12 rounds without coming out on top. The most likely method that could lead to his demise is either a knockout or a few knockdowns, without his opponent hitting the canvas for the duration of the match.

Conor McGregor needs a knockout

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'UFC 189 World Tour Aldo vs. McGregor London 2015' by Andrius Petrucenia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

They may be quite lavish claims from the mixed martial artist – saying that he’ll knock out the veteran boxer within four rounds – but Conor McGregor has the ability to back it up. To be fair, most fighters in a boxing ring have the ability to back up such a claim as it only takes the capitalization of one opportunity to bring about a knockout.

Despite being from a sport that allows many forms of combat and martial arts to be used, from regular punching through to performing takedowns, McGregor seems to be well suited to a transition. In the Octagon, the Irishman has been a standup fighter, opting for direct striking rather than takedowns and other styles more astray from the elements of boxing.

Now aged 29 years old, ‘Notorious’ has a 21-3 record without ever suffering a knockout defeat. McGregor has only ever been toppled by submission, which is often an Achilles heel of standup fighters who look to strike their foes. In the UFC, McGregor has also shown that his strikes have been accurate at a 48 percent success rate and that his defense against strikes has been strong, being able to avoid 57 percent of strikes targeted for him.

The McGregor versus Mayweather fight has been in the works for a long time but wasn’t announced until quite recently. However, there’s no doubt that it’s been in McGregor’s mind since he toppled Eddie Alvarez in November 2016, and will have been working on adjusting to the limitations of boxing. He’ll be preparing for the new defensive strategies required to temper a speedy puncher like Mayweather, along with the potential longevity of the bout.

Looking at what Conor McGregor is used to and his strengths, as well as how Floyd Mayweather likes his fights to go, McGregor should be aiming for the knockout. Not only does he hold great power behind his 74’’ reach, but he has also been able to overcome serious punishment. In the UFC, McGregor has been forced to endure flurries of punches to the head, as well as other limbs making contact with his head, body, and guard. He can take a hit, so going more offensive could be his best option; he can take the punishment that Mayweather will counter with, but could also land the major blows which could win him the fight within the distance.

In the Octagon, McGregor has never lost by decision but has won twice via that method, clearing three five-minute rounds against Max Holloway in August 2013 and five rounds of five minutes in the Nate Diaz rematch in August 2016. The Irishman can withstand punishment and force his opponents to play his game, but in a boxing ring against someone as seasoned as Mayweather, he will struggle to control the ring, flow of the fight, and his opponent.

It seems as though the best avenue for the Irishman to follow to achieve a victory in Las Vegas is to go for the knockout. At 33/1, McGregor to win in the fourth round makes for a good use of a free bet seeing as he will not only want to back up his words but will need to try to end the fight within the distance to be in with a sniff of victory.

Will McGregor be brave?

via GIPHY

With so many millions on the line, no one would be surprised if both McGregor and Mayweather came out of their corners and fought cautiously to get a footing in the fight, not blow their chances, and work out the new form of opponent in front of them.

It’s not expected that Mayweather will be in anyway influenced by the occasion as he’s fought in far bigger, legitimate fights, but on the off-chance that he comes out for the early stoppage, McGregor may be able to flex his muscles and cause some damage. The 29-year-old Irishman is in his physical prime, and at the peak of his fighting powers, so Mayweather will know to stick to his tactics that have worked so well in the past, wait for his chances, frustrate the UFC champion, and strike when the opening presents itself.

Conor McGregor could very well win the fight, but it’s hard to fathom him outboxing Mayweather through 12 rounds. To win, McGregor will need a knockout, and given Mayweather’s apparent ability to settle and improve with each passing round, the Irishman will want the early knockout to seal the win.

On August 26, mixed martial arts will take on boxing in Las Vegas in a huge showdown. Mayweather comes in as the heavy favorite, but McGregor has a good chance of winning the megabucks bout if he can rock the American early and with persistence.

 

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