On Saturday, August 26, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor will meet at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, in perhaps the biggest crossover in professional fighting history.
UFC lightweight champion McGregor will make his boxing debut and attempt to become the first man to beat 11-time boxing world champion Mayweather, who has come out of retirement to put his 49-0 record on the line.
Despite the Irishman's lack of experience in regards to the sweet science, the American would have you believe it is he who is the underdog ahead of the clash.
Speaking to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Mayweather believes McGregor's youth and reach make him the favourite for their bout:
The Notorious, 29, is 11 years Money's junior, and while he rarely appeared at risk of losing his unbeaten record during the latter years of his career, his powers did wane somewhat.
His last knockout victory came against Vicor Ortiz in 2011, and that was just his second since 2005.
Mayweather said, "I'm not what I used to be," adding: "I'm older. I'm not the same fighter I was two years ago. I'm not the same fighter I was five years ago. I lost a step."
The 40-year-old also pledged to be more aggressive than usual and step out of his comfort zone: "This can't be a defensive fight. I have to go to him. I owe the public because of the [Manny] Pacquiao fight. They weren't pleased with that. They're gonna be pleased with this fight here."
Sports broadcaster Colin Cowherd doesn't buy it, however:
Herd w/Colin Cowherd @TheHerd
Floyd Mayweather's comments about "losing a step" and "changing his fighting style" mean absolutely nothing https://t.co/kZA61AA8kA2017-8-9 21:20:05
Indeed, for all of McGregor's talent in the Octagon, that doesn't necessarily translate into the boxing ring, so it's in the interest of both fighters to sell it as a close contest.
Mayweather's defensive skills are legendary, though, so it does seem unlikely he'd abandon the platform his 49-0 record was built on or that McGregor can overcome it given his lack of boxing pedigree.
MMA writer Patrick Wyman believes the distance between them to be significant in terms of ability:
Patrick Wyman @Patrick_Wyman
This is the root of my frustration with McGregor-Mayweather. If you don't watch boxing, you genuinely don't understand the skill gap.2017-8-6 22:16:47
The Notorious has a great deal of power on his side, and he's capable of absorbing strikes, but at most he only has a puncher's chance of knocking out Mayweather, even if Money follows through on his pledge to come out swinging.
If the fight goes the distance—which seems likely given Mayweather's struggles to knock out his opponents in recent years—the American's superior boxing ability should shine through to a decision win.
Scorecard prediction: Mayweather wins via unanimous decision, 117-111, 118-110, 118-110