The idea of Floyd Mayweather boxing mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor always struck me as farfetched. Mayweather is not going to risk going to the ground with McGregor. McGregor, the Irishman, is not going to risk a boxing-only fight with Mayweather.
Yet McGregor says he will. Mayweather says he will. Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White, a very sharp man, says he believes the fight will happen. He says he won’t get in the way.
Mixed martial arts fans skew younger than boxing’s. These coveted consumers likely will tune into boxing for perhaps the first time, and boxing hopes they’ll stay.
There’s one problem, however. McGregor doesn’t have a chance.
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At 27, McGregor is 13 years younger than Mayweather. And McGregor can box. He’s fast, he’s strong and, in the context of mixed martial arts, who boxes better?
But Mayweather, who has never lost, is the best defensive boxer of all time. He lacks the offense of, say, Sugar Ray Leonard or Roberto Duran. But he’s tougher to hit. His balance is superb, his hands fast, and he sees angles before his opponent does. How many big punches have you seen him take?
If the fight comes off, it will match members of different species. The pressure will all be on Mayweather, who will do what he always has, against an opponent who won’t have that opportunity.