A few years ago, when he was training Andrei Arlovski, Freddie Roach said he was thinking about brokering a deal to have Arlovski compete in a boxing match against one of the Klitschko brothers.
Roach went to see Ari Emanuel, who was at that point the agent for UFC president Dana White and an advisor to the UFC. Emanuel, Roach said, told him “that’ll never happen” when speaking about an MMA fighter crossing over to fight a boxer in a boxing match.
Times have apparently changed. Roach, the legendary boxing trainer, now believes the much ballyhooed boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will actually happen.
“We’re in a different era now,” Roach told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “It looks like it’s gonna happen. Everything is pointing in the right direction. I think Conor will have his hands full with a boxer like Floyd. But he’s sellable, he’s making some noise.”
Roach said Mayweather came to his Wild Card gym in Hollywood about three months ago and asked him if McGregor had come in to see if Roach would train him in boxing. McGregor had not done that, but Mayweather told Roach that if he did, to accept him into the gym, Roach said.
“I am gonna fight him,” Roach said Mayweather told him. “And he we can all make a lot of money.”
So, at least from Mayweather’s perspective, the fight will happen at some point, Roach believes.
“According to Mayweather, yes,” Roach said. “He told me he would fight him. Everything is pointing in that direction right now. At one point, I didn't think it was possible.”
It’s unclear how much talking is going on between both sides, though Mayweather said a report in the Irish Sun last week about the fight being on was untrue. McGregor is under contract with the UFC and the UFC would likely want a piece of the action. A commission would also have to approve any such fight, another hurdle.
Most pundits believe McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion, would have no chance in a boxing match against Mayweather, one of the greatest boxers of all time. McGregor is a fantastic MMA fighter — one of the best on the planet — but only has experience in boxing at the amateur level. Mayweather is 39 years old now and has been retired since 2015, but his 49-0 record speaks for itself.
However, Roach said he would not completely bet against McGregor if the contest goes down in a ring.
“He is a pretty good striker,” Roach said of McGregor. “The thing is Floyd is a great boxer. He’s really good at hitting and not getting hit and so forth. I think it would take a long time for Conor to get ready for a boxing match, a pure boxing match. But ya know, one punch can change everything. It’s the sport we’re in. I’m not gonna count him out completely. I think Mayweather is the favorite, yes, but I wouldn’t count anyone out. Because he throws, he throws hard and he’s not afraid to throw.”
McGregor has not asked Roach to train him in boxing, but Roach said he would do it if he were asked. The only thing preventing him would be his current coaching relationship with Georges St-Pierre. Roach just helped GSP broker a new deal to return to the UFC.
“I would like to try to help him to get ready,” Roach said of McGregor. “That would be an honor for me, yes. Right now, Georges is my main concern. Georges has first priority at this point.”