The Irish culture dictates that if you are not interested in school you must find a trade and begin the working life. The trade Conor McGregor pursued was already built into his DNA. The Irish have a strong affection for the fight game, but none have been able to rise to the level of Conor McGregor.
The Dubliner is king of the mixed martial arts world, but on Aug. 26, he will insert himself into an altered dimension, the world of boxing. The kickboxing skills he spent years refining will be ineffectual in a boxing ring. McGregor will have to be contingent upon only his hands as battle armaments. And he will be doing so against the finest defensive boxer of our generation, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (49-0, 26 KO).
The global build up to Mayweather-McGregor will be entertaining, no one can deny that. I can already hear Irish fans singing “The Fields of Athenry” from across the pond as they book their flights to Las Vegas. Mayweather promotes better than any fighter in recent memory, and McGregor is right there with him, insulting with a twist of comedy. Both men recognize how to promote a fight, and they’ll do just that for the next 10 weeks. But, in reality, Mayweather should be a -5000 favorite. Most hardcore boxing fans see Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor as nothing more than a spectacle: a fight that will break all pay-per-view records but leave fans displeased with the outcome.
If you reflect on this fight you must question, how much of a risk is Conor McGregor? Let’s call this fight what it is, the elite boxer of our generation against a novice boxer making his pro debut. There is real power in McGregor’s hands, but he’ll be switching from 4-ounce gloves to 10-ounce gloves. McGregor doesn’t have the footwork or skillset to hang with Floyd for 12 rounds, even if Floyd has lost a step or two. McGregor can run his mouth all he wants in the lead up, but when he steps in the ring he won’t be equipped with the toolset that allowed him to rule the world of MMA.
The Irishman will try for an early knockout. That is his clearest and only path to victory. It will be interesting to see how many punches McGregor can land; I will tell you right now, it will not be many. Manny Pacquiao landed 81 punches while throwing 429 over 12 rounds against Mayweather. That’s a staggeringly low 19 percent. McGregor will be fortunate to land half that number. Mayweather will exploit McGregor’s over-aggression, mount a steady attack and take McGregor into deep waters.
This is a fight that will embezzle Irish hearts. When the final bell rings teardrops will fall, because Irish eyes will be crying.