Floyd Mayweather & Conor McGregor have numerous strengths and weaknesses, let’s take a look at the specific skills that are directly applicable in a fight between these two superstars.
Floyd Mayweather’s Strengths
Mayweather’s defence has been the ever-present foundation of his 49-0 unbeaten run, his fleet footwork makes it difficult to trap him in a stationary position, on the rare occasion Mayweather does get trapped his anticipation and reflexes help to avoid oncoming attacks.
Mayweather also uses his own version of the Philly shell (Mayweather shoulder roll) which once backed up on the ropes he uses to deflect and roll punches thrown in combinations.
Most counter punchers have effective jabs but they use them in a different manner compared to an offensive minded fighter. Offensively the jab is used to create openings, defensively it’s used to maintain the distance between two fighters, discouraging opponents from getting close.
Floyd changes levels with the jab in an attempt to disguise any patterns in his punch selection, in each of these examples shown above Floyd doesn’t follow-up on the jab, the purpose is to purely keep his opponent from getting near him.
There are various opinions on the actual definition of this term, to me, it’s the ability to control the pace and position of the fight.
A Muhammed Ali type fighter who utilized footwork to create angles and avoid danger would favour a slower paced fight in which his opponent is plodding around unable to cut off his movement. A Mike Tyson type fighter who preferred to come forward and land power punches on static targets would ideally like a faster-paced fight with a high volume of punches to make it more difficult for opposition fighters to get away.
Mayweather is a master at controlling the pace of a fight, often forcing opponents into positions or situations in which they are technically inept or uncomfortable whilst retaining positions which he himself is extremely comfortable.
Floyd Mayweather’s weaknesses
One tactic Floyd commonly uses to slow down the pace of the fight is to clinch when in close forcing the ref to call a break, once broken up both fighters are reset at a longer distance where once again Floyd is in control.
McGregor comes from a Martial Arts background so he’s accustomed to working from the clinch, initiating a clinch would be ineffective against McGregor, in fact, it will give the Irishman a chance to get some free punches off if the referee doesn’t call a break immediately.
Single Punch Offence
Mayweather’s preferred method of attack is with single punches, it means he’s never in one spot for an extended period of time making him more elusive. It also means as long as you’re close enough you can follow-up Floyd’s offence armed with the knowledge it’s coming in single punch format more often than not.
Conor McGregor’s Strengths
Perhaps more important than either speed or power is the timing of a punch, catching an opponent moving towards the direction of an oncoming shot or landing a punch with maximum extension amplifies the damage on delivery.
McGregor’s timing at least in MMA is second to none.
Physical Size & Reach
McGregor will possess the largest reach advantage of any fighter that has previously faced Floyd Mayweather, 74 inches of reach McGregor owns compared to Mayweather’s 72 inches. Along with reach, McGregor in terms of the body structure is a larger man.
By the time both fighters enter the ring the weight difference after rehydration could be anywhere north of 10 pounds in favour of McGregor. The weight limit for the fight is 154lbs after the weigh in expect McGregor to be anywhere near 170lbs when the first bell rings.
The weight advantage will aid McGregor in terms of taking damage as a lighter man’s power will be less effective against a heavier guy, the reach advantage means Conor can hit Floyd from a longer distance than Floyds can hit Conor.
You can see here how much farther Conor’s head is from his opponent in comparison to how close McGregor’s hands are to Alvarez’s head.
Each fighter Mayweather has competed against has come from a Boxing background, although every fighter has slight contrasts in style and movement, for the most part, there are no huge differences between Boxers.
Coming from an MMA background McGregor’s style and stance will look nothing like Mayweather has seen before either in the ring or in sparring, Even amongst Mixed Martial Artists McGregor is something of an anomaly. His left hand comes from unusual angles,
the fashion in which he slides in and out of distance is distinctly unique.
Conor McGregor’s Weaknesses
Minimal Use of the Right Hand
The fact that McGregor has eight points of attack in MMA means he can get away with sparingly using his right hand, against Mayweather he’s only got two points of attack. Fighters with two good hands have struggled to lay a glove on Floyd, only having one is a huge problem.
Most commonly McGregor uses the right to set up his left.
Anytime I’ve seen him use the jab it looks unconvincing.
Most times I’ve seen him use his front hook especially high, he looks off balance.
No Professional Boxing Experience
For those who don’t know McGregor has never had a professional boxing fight, even boxers who have competed for a large majority of their lives often say going 12 rounds for the first time is an experience that’s difficult to prepare for.
You can do 12 rounds of sparring, have a great conditioning regimen in place but there’s no substitute for fighting under the bright lights against an elite level fighter. It has to be practiced live to be understood.
Just to put this into perspective, recently rising prospect Mikey Garcia went 12 rounds for the first time against a top level fighter in Adrien Broner, he was winning the contest by a big margin but slowed down in the last 3 rounds. This is a man who’s been boxing since a young age but yet the 12 round factor still compromised his performance.
The early stages of the fight could be interesting because no one including Floyd Mayweather has any idea what McGregor will try to do, this gives McGregor the element of surprise.
Mayweather for as long as I’ve observed his fights is very quick at adjusting to his opponents style, up until he has a good feel for his opponent he takes no risks mitigating the chances of getting caught.
Apart from the potentially difficult early moments, I feel Mayweather will barely get touched, taking on one of the greatest defensive Boxers ever for your first professional contest is a step too far even for the seemingly inhumane Conor McGregor.
The only way McGregor has a legitimate chance of winning is if Floyd has significantly declined during his hiatus, or if he’s severely underestimated Mcgregor and comes into the fight out of shape.
Assuming Floyd is even half the fighter he was when we last saw him in the ring,
Mayweather wins by Unanimous Decision.