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Now onto our picks for tonight’s epic bout. Mayweather or McGregor? The Check Down staff weighs in.
Ben Szanton: Mayweather
You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. You don’t bring an MMA fighter to a boxing match. Conor McGregor could outbox almost anyone in the world – but certainly not Floyd Mayweather. As much as it pains me to bet on Mayweather, one of the worst people in sports, if there’s anything the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight taught us, it’s that betting any other way would be foolish. And Pacquiao, need I mention, was an actual boxer, one of the very best of his era. Another thing that fight taught us: Mayweather-McGregor is likely to be a letdown, a relatively uneventful bout that ends in a unanimous and easy decision for the guy who has never lost.
Anthony Manzo: McGregor (3rd round KO)
I’m going to have to go with a McGregor knockout in this one. For those of you who don’t know, McGregor started his career as a boxer. And this is not a man Mayweather is facing; this is a cold killer who will not let anybody stand in his way. Conor has fought from 145 all the way up to 170. He has also continuously called his knockout wins by hand and by round. I believe we are about to see that again. Do not be surprised to see Floyd’s patience break and see some aggressive overextension. I’m calling a 3rd round knockout by the Mystic Mac.
Mando: Mayweather (KO)
No need to do any advanced algebra here: McGregor simply doesn’t stand a chance. He’s never even boxed professionally. There won’t be any kicking or grappling allowed. Sure, McGregor may be twelve years younger, but Mayweather is too skilled defensively. Manny Pacquiao, one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of the last decade, couldn’t even land a serious blow to Floyd, nor could any of the other boxers that have tried and failed against the 49-0 Mayweather.
Mayweather will win this fight, probably via knockout. I just hope the two don’t tip-toe around each other for twelve rounds. Let’s see some fireworks!
Plain and simple, Mayweather is absolutely going to dominate this fight. We’re talking about “Money” Mayweather, folks. 49-0. The best defensive boxer in history. It’s not a matter of if he will win, but when and how he will win.
I think the key determining factor in this fight is stamina. Specifically, boxing stamina. Regardless of age, Mayweather has the clear advantage here over McGregor. In UFC, not only are the fights a lot shorter, but more body parts are involved. UFC fighters aren’t constantly punching for the whole fight; instead, they’re kicking, grappling, and wrestling on the ground. McGregor is not accustomed to using only his arms for the duration and intensity required in a boxing match. When his arms become fatigued, he can’t divert to his kicks, or grapples. Instead, he’ll have to try and keep it together against someone who has been boxing since he was a kid. Fatigue will set in earlier and more often for McGregor than it will for Mayweather, and that will give Floyd opportunities to punish him.
Lastly, I want to stop hearing people say “McGregor needs to land just one solid punch on him.” That’s just foolish. You don’t think after 49 fights that Mayweather has never had a number of solid punches land on him? Of course he has. And from bigger and stronger guys than McGregor. Mayweather has defeated world class boxers such as Canelo Alvarez, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, and Oscar De La Hoya. Surely he can take a punch from a boxing novice named Conor McGregor.
Drew: McGregor (KO)
It’s easy to point out that Mayweather is the more accomplished boxer. It’s easy to say that the man has simply never lost as a professional and it seems unlikely an MMA fighter can beat him. That being said, I do believe McGregor is being severely underrated as a striker. His best work in MMA has come when he delivers punches. More importantly, Mayweather took the bait and lowered the gloves to eight ounces. This will ultimately be his downfall as this is a type of punch he is not used to taking.
McGregor is out here to make a point. There may not be a more proud fighter on the planet right now and he is coming to Vegas to prove to the world that he is not only the best fighter in MMA, but the best fighter on Earth. Mayweather is fighting a man with nothing to lose and I’m not sure he will be able to match that level of intensity. At 40 years old Mayweather will have his work cut out for him and I believe in the later rounds McGregor will find his groove and deliver a hard shot to drop Mayweather to the canvas for good.
Jacob Freedman: Mayweather
On paper, McGregor vs. Mayweather 2017 is a fight unlike boxing has ever seen. In reality, it should play out relatively simply. Mayweather will bloody the hell out of McGregor with counter-shots when McGregor opens the fight overconfident and out of control. McGregor is a junkyard dog type of fighter, and his toughness will be key to avoid losing by TKO. McGregor may manage to take an early round by landing a few big power punches, but he will finish the match by connecting on a dreadful 15% of total punches. Mayweather’s knack for mid-round adjustments will provide a huge advantage; McGregor may not land any significant shots after round 6. Mayweather emerges largely unscathed in a victory by unanimous decision (Average score 119-111).
JMac: Mayweather (KO)
I don’t think it’s fair for prognosticators to immediately write off Conor McGregor just because of his inexperience in the boxing ring. Here’s a guy who has won many a UFC battle with hand quickness and strength, unleashing a fury of different patterns that opponents have been unable to figure out. However, Floyd Mayweather is a whole different animal. When you’re 40, it’s got to be pretty easy to figure out the rhythms and tendencies of your opponent, and that’s what I think Floyd will be able to do. I see this fight lasting four or five rounds, but once we reach that point, I fully expect Mayweather to use his veteran instincts to hit McGregor where it counts.