During a media conference call Wednesday confirming the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, promoters were trumping up McGregor’s punching power against the decorated, undefeated boxer.
Don’t believe the hype, boxing trainer and analyst Teddy Atlas said Wednesday night on ESPN. A great striker in MMA, which McGregor is — he’s the UFC lightweight champion — doesn’t necessarily translate into boxing.
“It doesn’t figure to be competitive,” Atlas told Scott Van Pelt. “You’ve got a guy that they’re gonna say he’s got a puncher’s chance, but he’s in there with a defensive genius. And they’re taking advantage of your imaginations. ‘Oh, he’s got a puncher’s chance.’ Guys like Maidana, Pacquiao, Canelo — they were better punches than McGregor and better fighters. They couldn’t hit him. They couldn’t hurt him. So, really a puncher’s chance? Those are words, those are words to sell the fight. But in reality, not really a puncher’s chance.”
Mayweather and McGregor will duke it out Aug. 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports was the first to report the much talked about fight being on Wednesday. The rumblings and whispers had been going on for weeks. MayMac is sure to be one of the highest selling pay-per-views of all time.
Those in the know in boxing, Atlas said, fully understand that the bout is a mismatch. McGregor doesn’t have a single pro boxing match, while Mayweather is 49-0 and regarded as one of the best ever. Sure, the promoters will sell that he’s 40 years old, but does that make up for the gigantic disparity in experience and skill?
“At the end of the day, myself, most boxing people that have been around the business think it’s a caveman in there with a defensive genius,” Atlas said. “And usually cavemen don’t win those matches, because in this case they’re not allowed to bring a club. Even if he brought a club, you know what? There would be a lot of strikes. I don’t think that he’d be catching Floyd too easily with that.”
Atlas said McGregor’s MMA prowess doesn’t matter. “The Notorious” would smash Mayweather in the Octagon — no one is disputing that — but in Floyd’s realm there’s only one possible outcome.
“You got a guy, that yeah he’s a good striker,” Atlas said. “He might be one of the better strikers in the MMA world, I don’t know. I don’t rate him that way. But in the boxing world, he’s a ‘C’ class fighter. And I’m not knocking him. Because if it’s MMA rules he wins. Because he comes in low, he gets under his legs, he gets him on the ground, he ground and pounds, he grapples and Floyd’s got no chance. But strictly standing, you know Marquess of Queensberry Rules? Nuh uh. Not happening.”
Other boxing promoters like Oscar De La Hoya have gone as far as to say that boxing might not ever recover from such a circus fight and that fans shouldn’t drop the money on the pay per view. Atlas won’t go that far, but he understands the negative sentiment.
“To the purists, it is,” he said. “They look at it like you're tainting the sport. Some people would go as far to say you’re making a mockery of it. But people will definitely say that you’re just exploiting the sport to make this, to make dollars.”