Owen Roddy, Conor’s McGregor’s striking coach for his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather, appeared on the latest edition of The MMA Hour to give his thoughts on how the fight went down at the T-Mobile Arena.
Roddy stressed how proud he was of McGregor’s efforts, but conceded the loss “was a little bit harder to take” being the Irishman’s head coach for the Mayweather bout.
The SBG Charlestown head coach admitted that he has watched the fight nearly every day since it took place and claimed he was happy with how the game plan unfolded over the first four rounds.
“I felt the game plan that we came up with and the strategy we had for the first four rounds was really good. Conor was doing well. It was a tight fight,” he told Ariel Helwani.
“Conor was landing shots that we worked and he was landing them often enough. In my opinion, when Mayweather switched it up and he kind of walked Conor down with the hands high and elbows in and just kept walking forward and let Conor throw shots at the arms – when we saw that we hadn’t prepared for it.”
Roddy underlined that the McGregor camp had not expected such an aggressive look from Mayweather and acknowledged that the team had not prepared for the 40-year-old walking the Dubliner down.
“We tried to switch it up from rounds six or seven. We were telling Conor, ‘just keep popping one or two shots, don’t throw any more combinations – just keep it single shots, enter into the clinch and try to push him backwards.’
“I should have been aware of a game plan like that from Mayweather and that probably should’ve been done in camp. It’s hard to change things when you’re in the fight, so I’m a bit disappointed in myself that I didn’t predict that he would walk forward and let Conor catch him on the arms and walk him down,” Roddy said.
“I honestly thought (Mayweather) was going to pop shots, sit back, work the shoulder roll and Philly shell. He did play that game for the first couple of rounds. Conor was having success with all of that, but unfortunately I didn’t have the stuff in place for the walking down strategy. We’ve learned from that.”
As for McGregor’s efforts over the first four rounds, Roddy was impressed by how much the UFC champion was able to land on Mayweather.
“I watched hundreds of hours of Floyd, and the thing about him is, he never really gets hit clean and he did get clipped a good few times in those first four rounds,” he said.
“He took the shots really well. When you’re fighting for so long and you’re not damaging your chin – and Floyd hasn’t damaged his chin – even when the shots do land clean you can take them well because your brain has not been damaged over a period of years.
“All the switches, the working the body, the lead uppercut – all of those shots that we worked in camp landed and I was very happy with that, just the big shot didn’t land where we wanted it to.
“From rounds five to seven, Floyd won those. I think we might have got round eight too…and then in nine and ten, we all know what happened in those.”
McGregor’s cardio has been called into question since the fight, but Roddy dismissed the criticism of his gas tank.
“When it’s that intense, and you’re constantly being pushed back, it doesn’t matter how fit you are. From nine and ten, Floyd managed to put Conor on the back foot for those two rounds and kept walking him down.
“I know from experience, when someone is constantly pressuring you like that and you don’t have a second to get a breath, fatigue sets in really quick.
“It doesn’t matter how fit you are, that just happens. It was hard for Conor to get that breath back and recover. We were trying to get him to tie up and push Floyd backwards in nine, but we just couldn’t get the opportunity.”
Roddy also suggested that the fact McGregor was contesting his boxing debut may have factored into the stoppage, but he has no problem with referee Robert Byrd’s decision.
“The one shot did land, but then the two or three shots after it didn’t land. The way I look at it is, the ref is in there to look after the fighters…to protect the fighters,” he explained.
“I honestly think that because it was Conor’s first professional boxing fight, the ref could see that Conor was on edge.
“I’m sure he was thinking, if Floyd knocks him out and there was some serious damage done to Conor it would have been all on the ref. You have the critics saying that Conor shouldn’t have been in there.
“You have all of this and I’m sure in the ref’s eyes he thought, ‘I’m not taking the risk. He looks a bit wobbly and he looks a bit on edge, I’m going to call it.’
“If the ref believes the fighter is in danger then he’s going to do what he has to do.”