Mayweather vs. McGregor: Head-to-Toe Breakdown of Both Fighters
No, it's not a misprint.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is fighting Conor McGregor.
The man formerly known as Pretty Boy will emerge from a hiatus to surpass Rocky Marciano and extend his pristine professional boxing record to 50-0. But the foe he selected for the milestone achievement is someone few on the mainstream radar would have anticipated when he last exited the ring, back in September 2015.
The former five-division world champion went public on his Twitter account on Wednesday afternoon, posting a 10-second clip alongside the all-caps exclamation "IT'S OFFICIAL!!!" McGregor trollingly followed suit soon after, posting dueling headshots of himself and Mayweather's father, Floyd Sr., with the exclamatory message "THE FIGHT IS ON."
According to UFC President Dana White on SportsCenter, the fight will be held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Aug. 26, and though Mayweather has opened as a prohibitive favorite—the early line requires an $800 outlay to return $100 in profit, per OddsShark—it's got the potential to draw the mainstream interest that fueled Mayweather's 2015 bout with Manny Pacquiao to more than 4 million pay-per-view buys.
Here is your head-to-toe breakdown.
Main Event: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor; 12-round non-title boxing match that'll be fought with 10-ounce gloves at a 154-pound weight limit.
Where: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
When: August 26, 2017
TV: Showtime PPV
Tale of the Tape
Here are all the facts and figures you need to know for the superfight:
|Floyd Mayweather||Conor McGregor|
|Record||49-0, 26 KOs||21-3, 18 KOs (MMA)|
|Age||40||29 (on fight night)|
|Weight||146 (last fight)||155 (last fight)|
|Residence||Las Vegas||Dublin, Republic of Ireland|
|Last Fight||UD 12 Andre Berto (Sept. 12, 2015)||TKO 2 Eddie Alvarez (Nov. 12, 2016)|
What You Need to Know
It's not the fight that people were clamoring for, but that doesn't mean they won't watch.
Mayweather and McGregor have been indirectly flirting with the idea of a summit for months, lobbing the occasional social media grenade while never failing to mention the other's name in television interviews.
McGregor, who's never boxed professionally, applied for and was granted a California boxing license and recently filed paperwork to acquire a Nevada license as well. Meanwhile, Mayweather's promotional company planned to request the Aug. 26 date Tuesday, and all hands confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the deal had been signed, sealed and delivered.
Mayweather won his 48th and 49th fights in 2015, defeating Manny Pacquiao and Andre Berto before announcing his retirement. He was initially steadfast in his intention to focus on promoting a stable of young fighters but gradually began allowing for the possibility of a return.
The Irishman, meanwhile, burst into mixed martial arts superstardom with a scintillating 13-second erasure of UFC featherweight (145 pounds) champion Jose Aldo in December 2015.
Three months later, he moved up in weight to fight substitute Nate Diaz at 170 pounds and was upset, then returned to beat Diaz by a narrow decision last August. He's fought one time since, stopping UFC lightweight (155 pounds) champion Eddie Alvarez in two rounds.
Though his pro boxing experience is nonexistent, McGregor will enter the ring as the younger (29 to 40) and taller (5'9" to 5'8") man, and he will possess a two-inch edge (74" to 72") in reach.
Few would deny Mayweather is the best boxer of his era.
He's proficient at all facets of the sport, and he's made a living out of timing opponents and keeping them out of rhythm with sharp and precise footwork. Even at 38, he showed in wins against Pacquiao and Berto that he could move around the ring like a younger man when necessary. But perhaps his greatest asset is an ability to adjust to whatever is thrown at him once the bell rings.
Whether a 23-month layoff or an unorthodox foe like McGregor change that will be the most significant question come late August.
McGregor is a phenomenon in the Octagon, but his skill set in a four-cornered ring is a mystery.
Some of his biggest MMA wins have resulted from heavy hands, particularly his 13-second blowout of Aldo at 145 pounds in December 2015. He's quick and precise with shots too, and he was able to survive in a rematch against Diaz thanks to footwork and finesse rather than brute force.
In Mayweather, though, he'll be facing a foe with an upright toolbox not seen in the UFC.
If it comes down to boxing skill alone, the late-August event will be every bit the mismatch some have labeled it.
Mayweather has good power but doesn't rely on it as a primary path to victory.
His approach tends to lean more toward defense and controlling his opponent's work rate, which means he doesn't punch aggressively enough to knock his opponents out with regularity. Instead, he counters them into submission or potshots them into a decision loss.
Money hasn't stopped an opponent since defeating Victor Ortiz (KO 4) in 2011.
Based on results, McGregor is the puncher in this fight.
His most memorable result in the UFC was the lightning-quick 2015 annihilation of Aldo, whom he clocked with a short, sharp left hand. He also battered Diaz, a taller and heavier man, at times in their rematch, which allowed him to escape with a close decision.
In his most recent bout, he dropped the 155-pound Alvarez five times in a two-round fight.
He's the one-shot power guy, so if McGregor lands the punch on Mayweather that he landed on Aldo, he may follow through on his promise of an upset. If that doesn't come in the first few rounds, however, he may face defeat by a thousand potshots.
Mayweather is one of the best defenders in boxing history. He's great with his feet and is able to block and parry punches like few fighters ever have.
He's also got a solid chin and is capable of taking the occasional shot that slips through his guard. And he's weathered storms in the past on the few occasions fighters have landed clean.
Compared to a lot of UFC fighters, McGregor is skilled in terms of stand-up defense.
He uses range well, is quick enough to elude slow, wide shots and has been able to withstand the shots that do land too. He's not faced a foe in Mayweather's league, though.
Nearly two years after Mayweather's most recent appearance in the ring, no other fighter has convincingly taken his place as the premier defender in the game. Unless he wakes up Aug. 26 devoid of reflexes and instinct, this is his category by a light-year or more.
Mayweather's primary opponent in late August may be overconfidence.
It's true he's facing a man whose boxing experience amounts to mere sparring sessions, but it's also true that man, in his chosen line of work, has shown an ability to lay out foes Mayweather's size and larger with single shots.
Presuming he arrives with his customary work ethic and conditioning, it's likely Mayweather will employ his typical tactic of frustrating the opponent by making it nearly impossible to land a clean shot while landing precise counters of his own. McGregor may be a little more difficult to discourage than an older Pacquiao or an overmatched Berto were in 2015, but the strategy ought to look similar.
Ever the showman, McGregor will want to jump on Mayweather quickly and decisively.
His southpaw stance, speed and power will give him chances to score early on Mayweather and force the undefeated fighter to retreat as he adjusts to the unique task in front of him. The problem for McGregor, though, is if he doesn't hit the target early, he almost certainly won't hit it late.
The MMA star's best approach may be to fight Mayweather similar to the way Ortiz did in 2011 and Marcos Maidana did twice in 2014, with the younger men repeatedly trying to rough Money up and get him out of his rhythm. It didn't end well for Ortiz, who was KO'd, or Maidana, who lost two decisions, but those 28 combined rounds were as competitive as Mayweather had in a long time.
Mayweather's game plan has remained consistent throughout his career, and it has carried him to victory every time. While McGregor has the physical tools to upset Mayweather, it would appear Mayweather has the style to give him fits too. The odds are heavy in his direction for a reason.
Mayweather is the early betting favorite, and rightly so.
He's never lost a professional bout, has nearly all the advantages heading into fight night and nearly every conceivable scenario against McGregor ends with the Irishman losing.
The chance of an alternate outcome hinges on two things: Mayweather's age and McGregor's power.
If Mayweather, who's taken long layoffs before, comes back from this one looking like a 40-year-old and with some erosion to the subtle skills that made him great, he could get overwhelmed by a 29-year-old looking to make an internet-breaking statement.
Or if McGregor, a southpaw who's undeniably got some skill, lands a left hand like the one that separated Aldo from consciousness, Mayweather could lose his "0" in a most inglorious fashion.
In a way, and even though he has no in-ring resume, McGregor comes in as the sort of threat many thought Pacquiao would be two years ago: powerful, left-handed and relentless. The Filipino was too old and dinged-up to pull it off, but plenty will be hoping it happens this time around.
In the end, though, it won't.
Instead, a prepared and in-shape Mayweather should be able to elude whatever storm he faces in the first few rounds before gradually following his traditional script and beating his man into a precision pulp as the fight extends. It'll be even more decisive given McGregor's lack of a Plan B, which means 50-0 ought to be official sometime in Round 7 as the one-time dual-UFC champ retreats back to the Octagon with a TKO loss.