Mayweather vs. McGregor — Kid Gloves

Mayweather vs. McGregor

With the announcement of Mayweather vs. McGregor, I had planned to write about it here. Never mind how it has been a circus show with a ton of dosh on the line, it was still a circus show. Since it did happen anyway, let’s do something most aren’t willing to do—take it (kind of) seriously. Conor did something most wouldn’t, and Mayweather did what he needed to even at 40 to bring his record up to 50-0. I watched it (because I had to) and it was entertaining while it lasted. I then turned off the stream as soon as the referee stopped the fight.

Mayweather vs. McGregor—also known as “The Money Fight”—had been set to break the bank, and that was why Oscar De La Hoya and many other figures in boxing were salty as hell about it. I do agree with how it sets a bad precedent, but I also think it was bound to happen anyway with the state of combat sports today with how just about everyone is wracking their own brains for ways to make money. After all, not everyone is a hardcore fight fan; most are casuals who want spectacle more than technical displays.

Mayweather vs. McGregor Analysis

My personal prediction on the fight was this:

(Take note that I live in the Philippines, which meant the fight happened on August 27 here, at around noon.)

Turns out that wasn’t his real problem, but his vaunted straight left. It worked on his MMA opponents, but his left wasn’t as good as Floyd’s right—which landed consistently in the middle and later rounds. Conor had okay head movement, but that right hand lead was lightning. Muhammad Ali would’ve been proud (or at least amused).

The jab McGregor did have was indeed hitting the mark a few times, but it didn’t serve the same purpose as his main tool in MMA—the low side kick—which is to keep the opponent at a distance. The most crucial thing Floyd did in this fight was to stay within mid to close range. Since he had been going in and out between ranges in the whole fight, the less experienced boxer couldn’t home in with his straight left.

Therefore, Conor could only hit with his left like how a bear would curiously rifle through shelves in search of food. He would throw both his jab and his left at half-extension, thus only have some snapping power but no weight behind them. With all his other tools sealed away—especially his bread-and-butter for controlling opponents—he has no real go-to weapons in the realm of boxing.

All he could really do was score, which is not the same as the need to inflict significant damage. Meanwhile, the hammerfists seen in the earlier rounds are indicative of Conor being unable to get past the most basic level of his martial arts training—habits that are incredibly hard to unlearn.

There was Conor’s pawing right hand, which is good for control. Guillermo Rigondeaux utilizes the same thing to control his opponents’ lead hands to great effect, and Muay Thai fighters would even use both hands to control opponents’ hands. But against Mayweather, that’s giving an opening to his left hooks both up top and down low.

Mayweather vs. McGregor — Left Hook Up Top

Credit Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

When I saw those stance switches by Conor, I knew right away it was going to be the death of him as he wasn’t doing them with a threat behind each, like Gennady Golovkin would with his shifting or Marvelous Marvin Hagler when he would close in from southpaw to orthodox or vice versa. The goal of frequent stance switching is to throw the opponent off and make him tentative since addressing orthodox and southpaw stances entail different sets of principles.

Floyd, playing the patient game, was able to get the timing of those stance switches and catch Conor in mid-switch during the middle rounds. He would then punish subsequent attempts and limit Conor’s mobility. By then, the only defensive options Conor realistically had were clinching, head movement, circling away when not cut off, and blocking.

Conor is not known for blocking shots to his face, which Floyd exploited by finding his range and throwing those right hand leads to the middle of the Irishman’s face. That was pretty much the rest of the fight, with Floyd landing right hand lead after right hand lead and Conor not being able to do anything about it.

Approaching the tenth round, Conor was running on fumes. While his punches still had some snap and his head movement was still somewhat present, his feet were no longer bouncing. The only thing Floyd had to do by then was pile on the damage and get the first knockout win he has had in years.

Conor landed 111 out of 430 punches, while Mayweather landed 170 out of 320. Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao only landed 81 out of 429, while Andre Berto landed 83 of 495. Canelo Alvarez landed 117 out of 526, so Conor was only 6 short there. For a first-time boxer, that’s impressive.

Other Comments

The real takeaway from Mayweather vs. McGregor is how Conor makes “The Secret” work, which could be making Oprah Winfrey spaz uncontrollably. To think this fight seemed utterly ridiculous and farfetched when word first came about, and then it actually happened with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line is absolutely remarkable if you get past the talks of it being “damaging to boxing.”

Mayweather vs. McGregor had been talked about since around 2015, and the fact that it’s actually happening means the people involved did find a way to get the money ball rolling. I don’t think this ruins the upcoming dream match-up of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez against Gennady Golovkin in any way, but plenty of butthurt fans may think it does.

And now, thanks to Bob Arum, Vasyl Lomachenko will go up against Guillermo Rigondeaux on December 9 to see who is the true technical pound-for-pound king. Believe it when you’re told these two fights are most likely going to be way more interesting than MayMac. But of course, most people want spectacle more than sport.

Finally, if you’re still reading this and happen to reside in Metro Manila, I’d like to invite you to Makati Cinema Square Arena on September 16 at 3PM for Manila Wrestling Federation’s third live show—Road to Fate. You can then watch Canelo vs. GGG the morning after, which will be ten times more awesome than Mayweather vs. McGregor.

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