The highly anticipated bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor is nearly upon us, concluding months of buildup and back-and-forths between the two camps.
Money remains the favourite, per OddsShark.com, as he seeks a record-breaking 50th win. His current record of 49-0 is tied for the best unbeaten mark in boxing history, shared with heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano.
Here's a look at the latest projections:
Floyd Mayweather: 1-4 to win
Conor McGregor: 3-1 to win
Mayweather has been favoured to beat the UFC lightweight champion since the moment the fight was announced, with almost all pundits and analysts pointing at his perfect record and the fact his opponent has never fought as a professional boxer.
While McGregor is known for his excellent standup game in the UFC, his technique is built for the Octagon and not the ring. His hand speed and power are both fantastic for an MMA fighter, but whether that will translate to boxing is anyone's guess.
As shared by ESPN's Arash Markazi, Mayweather believes The Notorious should consider lasting the distance a victory of sorts:
At 40 years old, Mayweather's last fight was nearly two years ago, a decision win over Andre Berto in September 2015. The last fighter to arguably test him was Marcos Maidana in their first meeting, in May 2014.
Money has never stood out with his power, impressing instead with awesome defence, footwork and hand speed. That hand speed will be the main question mark after a lengthy layoff, and the veteran has conceded he's no longer the same fighter he was, per ESPN's Stephen A. Smith:
But those comments could be mind games or Mayweather trying to hype a fight most assume will be a one-sided affair.
On top of his boxing skills, McGregor will also have to answer questions regarding his conditioning on Saturday. The Irishman gassed badly in his loss against Nate Diaz at UFC 196, and while he lasted the distance in the rematch at UFC 202 a year ago, he had to slow down during the middle rounds.
Against Mayweather, he will likely come out firing, knowing his best chance of winning will be by way of the early knockout. Once Money finds his pace and figures out the right distance, his ability to move in the ring makes him almost impossible to beat in the latter rounds.
Given Mayweather's lack of knockout power, a decision seems likely, although the veteran will want to prove a point by knocking out the MMA star. But his perfect record should be more important than a statement win, so expect the American to be careful once he settles in.
Prediction: Mayweather by unanimous decision.