The whirlwind buildup of the megafight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor is about to reach its zenith. The only event left prior to the Saturday night fight is the Friday weigh-in, and the fighters will go into seclusion and make their final preparations at that point.
As the hours progress prior to Saturday's meeting between the undefeated Mayweather (49-0) and the untested McGregor (0-0), the excitement level among fans is likely to build.
Of course, McGregor is a champion MMA fighter, but this is a boxing match, with the rules originating from the Marquess of Queensberry. McGregor is happy to fill up notebooks with braggadocio and quotes that indicate he is a fearless man who will not only beat his undefeated opponent, but knock him out early.
The cameras have been following both men as they prepare for the fight, and McGregor has been working hard to learn his boxing lessons, get in the best shape possible and prepare for an epic battle. Mayweather has gone about his normal business and has been more interested in going to his strip club, showing off wads of $100 bills and buying luxuries for his family.
It does not appear that Mayweather has any respect for his opponent. He has not trained for McGregor the way he trained for boxers like Marcos Maidana, Canelo Alvarez or Manny Pacquiao.
Money does not believe that McGregor can hit him with solid shots. He probably does not think that McGregor can hit him at all, and why should he? Mayweather has many skills in the ring, but his greatest is defense. He rarely has been hit with hard shots when he has fought the most talented boxers of his generation, so why would he believe a neophyte can hit him?
Mayweather says he simply knows his sport far better than his opponent.
"From day one everything my dad taught me, I know today; every combination that was taught to me, I still know. Everything in boxing that can be done, I've done it, a thousand times. I was born a fighter and I'll die a fighter. I have the skills," said Mayweather at the Wednesday press conference, per Gareth A. Davies of The Telegraph.
McGregor is depending on his work ethic to get the job done. "You see the work I've put in, I've taken this very seriously. I will go out and perform. I will go out and outbox this man at his own game," McGregor said.
The oddsmakers have made Mayweather a -400 favorite, while McGregor is a +300 underdog, according to OddsShark. The odds on Mayweather have come way down since the fight became official.
Mayweather opened as a huge -2250 favorite, while McGregor was +950, but the money has come in on the Irish champion and changed the payoffs significantly.
In addition to the primary attraction, there are three major fights on the undercard. Mayweather protege Gervonta "Tank" Davis will meet Francisco Fonseca in the IBF junior lightweight title match. Davis is a huge -3500 favorite, while Fonseca is a +1200 underdog, according to OddsShark.
WBA light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly will face WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack. Cleverly is a +325 underdog, while Jack is a -450 favorite. Even though Jack regularly fights at a lower weight, he has shown the ability to impress the judges and come with the decision in most of his fights.
The third fight that is on the pay-per-view card involves Andrew Tabiti and Steve Cunningham battling for the vacant cruiserweight title. Tabiti is a -275 favorite over the 41-year-old Cunningham, who comes into the bout with odds of +215.
Look for Davis to overwhelm Fonseca in the junior lightweight title fight. Davis has eye-catching quickness, crisp punching with both hands and he knows how to attack when he senses an opening. Davis should win this bout inside of five rounds.
Cleverly is a volume puncher who can gain a quick advantage over his opponent. Jack is a skilled fighter with excellent defense, and he'll be able to impress the judges at the end of rounds. Look for Cleverly to take it to Jack and win this fight in the late rounds.
Cunningham is being asked to step up in competition, and he is probably not going to be able to handle it. Tabiti should have the advantage unless Cunningham can set the tone by winning the early rounds. That is quite unlikely.
Mayweather has done little to prepare for his bout, and McGregor has been in the gym training and in the desert riding his bicycle in an attempt to get ready. He should be in better shape.
But when it comes to boxing skills, Mayweather has them and McGregor is trying to get up to speed. This is not likely to work out in McGregor's favor.
The only way McGregor has a chance is if he stuns Money with a barrage of punches early. That's very unlikely. Mayweather will win this fight the way he wins most of them. He will earn a one-sided unanimous decision and will show off his defensive skills from start to finish.
Don't expect McGregor to get in any serious punches in this fight.