The way Andre Berto describes his experience fighting Floyd Mayweather, it almost seems like Mayweather took the bout while in The Matrix.
Berto, the former world champion boxer, told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that Mayweather is “very, very, very” aware of everything going on in the ring during a fight — “almost like obsessively.”
Mayweather’s last fight was against Berto, a unanimous decision victory for “Money May” in September 2015. Berto said he noticed Mayweather taking in everything, from the clock multiple times during a round, to every position and angle, to the position of Berto’s hands, to the referee, to looking at Berto while he was in the corner in between rounds to see if he was taking deep breaths.
“It was really weird for me to be able to see that,” Berto said. “He was very observant, very aware. It almost feels like he almost cons himself out of every round. He doesn’t waste energy that he doesn’t want to. He just really wants to do enough to get those points or to win that round. And that’s it. That’s all he needs and he’s out. He does it every round, it frustrates you. You want an intense fight. You want to hit this guy, make it feel like a fight.”
These are some of the things Conor McGregor will have to deal with Aug. 26 when he steps into the ring against Mayweather at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Berto said he believes McGregor has a chance to win, especially if he can catch Mayweather with a big shot early. But if it doesn’t happen early, Berto said, it could be a “bad night” for the UFC lightweight champion.
“He picks up on things very, very, very quickly,” Berto said of Mayweather. “And he’s gonna be able to adapt very, very, very quickly. But Conor, like I said, he’s not a conventional boxer. He really has to find ways to find angles and try to find ways to make things awkward and unconventional for his opponent.”
That will clearly be part of McGregor’s strategy and his MMA-centric style will certainly give Mayweather a different kind of look than he has ever seen before in a boxing ring. But will that be enough? Berto thinks McGregor has great power and star presence — he doesn’t get shaken no matter the occasion — but being a southpaw won’t be the kind of advantage many have said it will be for “The Notorious.”
“I believe at the beginning he had a lot of difficulties when it comes to southpaws,” Berto said of Mayweather. … “But within the last few years, he’s really dialed in.
“I don’t think it’s gonna be as troublesome as everybody believes. He has a tremendous right hand and that’s always a key weapon when dealing with a southpaw. Lead right hand and left hook. He’s shown that in the Robert Guerrero fight, the Victor Ortiz fight and the [Manny] Pacquiao fight.”
Of course, Mayweather will be a formidable opponent. He’s 49-0 and one of the best boxers of all time. McGregor, who has no pro boxing experience, is a sizable underdog. That doesn’t necessarily mean he has no chance, Berto said, but there are definitely scenarios that will favor Mayweather, who is perhaps the best defensive boxer of all time.
Berto said he can recall throwing punches, Mayweather slipping them and then seeing Mayweather watching them as he finishes the missed strikes.
“You get to a point that you start feeling vulnerable,” Berto said with a laugh. “Throwing all these punches and you’re missing and out of your side peripheral vision, you can see that he’s looking at you while you’re throwing these punches. So you start feeling vulnerable, like you’re hanging out there.”
While McGregor has a path to victory, which includes catching Mayweather with something surprising early, Berto warns that Mayweather has an innate ability to dictate the style and speed of every bout. Berto said he made a mistake in having a very intense training camp for Mayweather, only for “Money” to almost lull him to sleep with his patience and poise.
“He’s the master at hyping up a fight and not fighting,” Berto said. “Hyping up the fight, and he’s a master at slowing down the pace. It’s not even that he’s not fighting, he’s a master at slowing down the pace.”