Tomorrow afternoon, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor will look to complete the biggest upset in the history of modern sports.
More Mayweather versus McGregor
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» Five talking points
» Fight report: Mayweather by TKO
» What Mayweather said to McGregor
» Watch video highlights
» Re-live the fight with our live blog
Leicester City’s fairytale ending to the 2016 Premier League soccer season drew worldwide headlines after the 5000-to-1 dark horse lifted the trophy.
Dubbed the “biggest upset in the history of sports”, the unbelievable story has spawned books and documentaries, and there is even a movie in development.
For my money, though, Leicester City’s underdog story wouldn’t even compare to McGregor punching Floyd Mayweather’s lights out.
What separates Leicester City winning its first title in the 132-year history of the club from what McGregor plans to do on Sunday is that The Foxes actually played soccer.
McGregor is not a boxer. He has never boxed, not as an amateur or a professional.
The 29-year-old Dubliner is an outstanding mixed martial arts fighter, but in a one-dimensional boxing match, he has no chance – not even the puncher’s variety – against an undefeated, five-weight world champion.
The reality is, Mayweather versus McGregor is a gross mismatch, one that has rightly sparked a debate about the incompetence and possible negligence of the Las Vegas regulating body, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for even allowing this contest.
NSAC, the same commission that refused to sanction a bout between Andre Ward and Aussie super middleweight Rohan Murdock in 2015 because it deemed the Western Australian puncher with an 18-1 record to be in over his head, has green lit a fight that pits the greatest boxer of this generation against a guy literally making his pro debut.
The Las Vegas-based group has since continued to bend over backwards to accommodate the star fighters by allowing Mayweather and McGregor to compete wearing eight-ounce gloves during the spectacle of a super fight, overturning its own rule that fighters above 147-pounds are mandated to wear 10-ounce mitts.
“I do not like the Nevada State Athletic Commission being used as a pawn in a social media battle,” chairman Anthony Marnell said before agreeing to be used as a pawn in a social media battle.
The glove change, while ultimately a marketing ploy, is a major victory for Team McGregor on Sunday.
The brick-fisted Irishman is a proven knockout puncher in four-ounce UFC gloves, and that should translate to boxing gloves, even with double the padding.
Earlier this year, McGregor uploaded a photo of his left hand, captioned “this left hand made me millions,” and he’s not wrong. He won three UFC titles with that fist and it is his only realistic ticket to beating Mayweather.
If you’ve ever seen a Mayweather fight, though, you will already know that he’s basically unhittable, and that’s against actual elite boxers.
McGregor’s window to finish this fight or even land a knee-buckling blow is narrow, likely the first few rounds while Mayweather is still collecting data. After that, his power will diminish, his reflexes will slow, and he will be exposed as a sitting duck.
In the lead-up to this multi-million dollar fight, Mayweather is telling anyone who will listen that he’s “lost a step” and that he’s “not the same fighter.”
The 40-year-old pugilist has doubled down this week, boasting about partying all week at his Las Vegas strip club, Girl Collection, and chowing down a double whopper from Burger King while the UFC’s camera crew watched on.
“He’s a lot younger. When you look at myself and Conor McGregor on paper, he’s taller, has a longer reach, he’s a bigger man from top to bottom. He’s a lot younger, so youth is on his side,” Mayweather told the New York Post.
‘And I’ve been off a couple of years. And I’m in my 40s. So, if you look at everything on paper, it leans toward Conor McGregor.”
Don’t believe a single word of it.
Mayweather has refused to release any footage of him preparing for this fight. And if you ask me, it’s because if the public saw those clips, it would shatter the illusion that he’s a peg below the fighter we saw box circles around Andre Berto two years ago.
Mayweather-McGregor is a true once-in-a-lifetime spectacle, but to steal a Dave Chapelle quote, it has “all the suspense of a Globetrotters game.”
Mayweather toys with him, embarrasses him, dances around him, smiles at him, and ultimately, lights him up like a Christmas tree.
I give McGregor little chance of surviving 12 rounds – almost none. Boxing’s former king should separate him from his consciousness by the sixth or seventh round.