After months of negotiations, Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather have agreed to meet on August 26 in Las Vegas in what will undoubtedly become one of the biggest boxing matches in history.
Mayweather was responsible for first leaking the rumor about the fight more than a year ago but only recently has the matchup come to fruition. McGregor came to an agreement with the UFC to allow him to take the boxing match against arguably one of the best to ever do it while Mayweather comes out of retirement to put his 49-0 record on the line.
As of now, Mayweather and McGregor are scheduled to meet at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The MGM served as home for Mayweather’s fight against Manny Pacquiao, which grossed over $72 million at the live gate, which remains a record for the state of Nevada.
With McGregor set to face Mayweather just over two months away, here are five key facts to consider with this massive showdown between the biggest star in mixed martial arts history and one of the top boxers of all time.
Mayweather’s return from retirement
The opening odds on the fight already have Floyd Mayweather instilled as a big favorite over Conor McGregor but it’s impossible to ignore that this fight will take place almost two years after his last time stepping inside the ring. Mayweather retired in 2015 following a lopsided win over Andre Berto as he walked away from the sport with a perfect 49-0 record. He’ll now put that on the line when he returns on August 26 to face McGregor.
Of course, Mayweather is a consummate professional when it comes to preparation for his fights, but at 40-years of age with two years off it will be interesting to see if he experiences any ring rust during the first few rounds when McGregor is at his freshest.
The fight between McGregor and Mayweather will take place at 154-pounds, which is definitely in favor of the UFC lightweight champion. Now that’s not to say Mayweather is at a disadvantage because he competed in some of the biggest fights of his career at 154-pounds, but it’s helpful for McGregor because he doesn’t have to cut as much weight.
McGregor most recently fought in the UFC at 155-pounds, which seems to be a much more natural weight for him versus cutting down to compete at featherweight where he started his career in the Octagon. By the time weigh-ins are completed, McGregor will definitely have a significant size advantage over Mayweather in the fight.
Conor McGregor is a natural left-hander, which bodes well for him in the fight with Mayweather. Throughout his career, Mayweather has dazzled his way through virtually every opponent to face him in the ring, but he has struggled in some bouts while facing southpaws.
Zab Judah gave Mayweather headaches through the first few rounds of their fight and former opponent Oscar De La Hoya has noted the problems he’s faced with left-handers in the past.
“I’ve preached this all along. The left hand is the Kryptonite for Mayweather,” De La Hoya said ahead of Mayweather’s fight in 2015 with Manny Pacquaio. “He just does not know how to block a jab. It’s just not part of his arsenal. It’s not a part of his defense, blocking that jab.”
Of course, Pacquiao was the smaller fighter and he struggled to land his straight punches against Mayweather. McGregor doesn’t have nearly the boxing experience but there’s little doubt he packs knockout power in his left hand.
Zuffa LLC via Getty ImagesJeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
Offense vs. Defense
Throughout his 49-0 run through boxing, Mayweather may have become the best defensive fighter in the history of the sport. His patented “shoulder roll” defense was nearly impenetrable throughout the latter part of his career. Shane Mosley had Mayweather stunned and hurt early in their fight in 2010 while Marcos Maidana took him to a majority decision in one of the closest bouts of his career.
Outside of that, Mayweather has been nearly untouchable in the ring.
On the flipside, McGregor is an offensive machine, who constantly stalks forward on his opponents throwing a huge volume of strikes with deadly accuracy. In his second fight with Nate Diaz last year, McGregor landed 164 out of 286 strikes thrown for 57.3-percent accuracy. McGregor will make adjustments for the boxing ring versus the Octagon but it’s tough to imagine he won’t throw with the same kind of volume while trying to knock out Mayweather.
Is Surviving Enough?
McGregor has promised that he’s coming for Mayweather’s head and settling for nothing less than a knockout, but the odds can’t be ignored — he’s a huge long shot to win the fight much less survive all 12 rounds.
That being said, Mayweather is not a knockout puncher so it’s tough to say whether or not he’ll be able to put together the combinations to finish McGregor during their fight. Because Mayweather fights with such defensive posture, he rarely unleashes big finishing combinations, instead opting for counter striking his opponents. McGregor will definitely come after him, which will give Mayweather the chance to land those counter strikes but it’s impossible to predict if it will be enough to knock him out.
McGregor really is stepping in with nothing to lose outside of some pride if he actually gets knocked out by Mayweather. Otherwise if McGregor survives for 12 rounds with arguably one of the greatest boxers in history in his first professional boxing match, that could be a feather in his cap along with the potential nine figure payday he’ll receive for his efforts.