LAS VEGAS — Most pundits on both sides — whether it’s boxing or MMA — have agreed that if Conor McGregor somehow manages to go the distance with Floyd Mayweather, it would be a big win for the UFC lightweight champion.
Mayweather, too, is in that boat, he said Thursday at his media workout in advance of the Aug. 26 fight at T-Mobile Arena.
“It is a victory for him,” Mayweather said. “If he goes the distance, it’s a victory for him. In my eyes, also.”
McGregor has predicted that he’ll finish Mayweather within the first four rounds. Mayweather has never been knocked out — he’s never lost a pro boxing match at 49-0 and is one the greatest boxers of all time. McGregor, meanwhile, is the biggest star in UFC history, one of the best in MMA, but has no professional boxing experience.
Either way, Mayweather said he doesn’t think the 154-pound fight will go all 12 rounds.
“He believes it’s not gonna go past four ,and I believe that it’s not gonna go the distance at all,” Mayweather said. “He feels one way, I feel another way. we’re both confident in our skills. We’ll just have to see.”
Mayweather, 40, sought to set the record straight about his ESPN interview from earlier this week. The boxing legend touted McGregor’s abilities, but wanted to make it clear that he didn’t say McGregor, 29, would beat him.
“Of course, the so-called boxing experts, they say things like, ‘Oh when a guy is bigger and stronger, that means he’s better,’” Mayweather said. “What I'm saying is this: On paper, we know he’s taller, we know he has a longer reach, we know youth is on his side. OK? And I guess everybody is saying power is on his side. But I’m saying IQ is on my side, experience is on my side and i think just fighting knowledge is on my side.
“So I never said that I feel that I’m gonna lose. I never get involved in anything if I think I’m gonna take a loss. That’s like me saying, ‘Yes I’m gonna invest my money, but I know I'm gonna take a loss, but I'm still gonna invest it.’”
Mayweather sees this fight as an investment. It could make him somewhere near $300 million, he has said. “Money May” has called it “controlling the chess board” rather than a chess move. And he’s doing his homework on McGregor, too.
Mayweather said he’s aware that McGregor is about 160 pounds right now.
“Even like right now, I know how much Conor McGregor is down to, his weight,” Mayweather said. “He was a little bit heavy, I think he’s at 160 now. So he’s down. I know what’s going on.”
Rather than watching fight film, Mayweather watches his opponents in a different way, he said.
“It’s about doing your homework,” Mayweather said. “It’s not really watching fight tapes. It’s really just knowing the person you’re facing, that’s across the ring from you. You want to know what that person likes to eat, you want to know what that person is doing when they’re not in training camp. If they’re drinking, how much they’re drinking, who they’re hanging out with. Those are the things that you want to know. Thats called really doing your due diligence and your homework on your opponent. Not just watching fight tapes.”
Mayweather said this camp has had more rest than previous camps. He’s not as young as he used to be and “wisdom” has allowed him to understand that the body needs time to recover after hard training sessions.
Another different thing? Mayweather said there is plenty of incentive to put on a show Aug. 26 in terms of fighting style, something he has been criticized about in the past.
“When it’s something of this magnitude, this is not just a fight,” Mayweather said. “This is an event. This is billion-dollar fight, it’s an event. I think we both owe the fans as well as the public, everyone that’s tuning in, I think that we both should give them excitement.”