If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that the upcoming superfight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor is unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Now, that doesn’t mean we’ll be treated to a good fight. In fact, it could mean quite the opposite, with Mayweather entering as the heavy favorite. But Mayweather and McGregor are the two biggest stars in combat sports, and the buildup to Saturday night’s showdown at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas has been fascinating, to say the last, as both fighters have such unique personalities.
So, does McGregor, a UFC champion entering his first professional boxing match, have any chance whatsoever against Mayweather, who owns a perfect 49-0 record? We asked our NESN.com staff to make their predictions, and here’s what everyone came up with.
Adam London: Mayweather by TKO in six. McGregor knows he has to knock out Mayweather to win, as it’s very unlikely the boxing world would grant him a decision. With this in mind, it wouldn’t be shocking to see The Notorious go for broke or overexert himself, which would play right into Mayweather’s hands. I believe Money will find a window to strike in the sixth round and earn the victory via TKO.
Doug Kyed: Mayweather by unanimous decision. Mayweather will win because he’s a professional boxer, while McGregor is not. I also predict the fight will be boring.
Zack Cox: Mayweather by unanimous decision. I will be rooting very, very hard against myself on this prediction, but I just can’t see any logical way McGregor pulls this off. I don’t think he’ll get knocked out, but he won’t be able to land nearly enough quality punches against the best defensive boxer of this generation. A McGregor upset would be so much more fun, but I have to pick Mayweather.
Andre Khatchaturian: McGregor via KO in three. I’m going to put on my tin foil hat. I’m not sure how authentic this fight is going to be. There simply is too much money to be made if Mayweather loses. They could do a second and potentially a trilogy fight in which they could make millions and millions of dollars. For those saying, “No! Mayweather cares too much about his undefeated legacy,” the guy’s nickname is “Money.” I think McGregor beats Mayweather in the third round via KO and we see a rematch within the next year.
Marc DiBenedetto: Mayweather by KO in seven. Mayweather will win because he is a boxer and McGregor is not. McGregor will get tired by the sixth round and knocked out in the seventh.
Michael Hall: Neither. The fight will be called off.
Justin Hathaway: Mayweather in six. I’d love nothing more than to see McGregor catch Money with a left — imagine the crowd reaction to him laying on the mat — but that’d be a tall order against arguably the best defensive boxer in history. McGregor is a powerful but emotional fighter, so after he tries to create chances that just aren’t there, he’ll likely wear down, opening the door for Mayweather to land some lightning-quick combos and force a stoppage in Round 6.
Ben Watanabe: Mayweather by KO in four. Listen, I know the reputation is that Mayweather’s not a “big puncher” or whatever, but keep in mind that he’s not a big puncher for a boxer. He’s still a professional prize fighter who has dedicated his entire existence to punching harder, faster and more efficiently than 99.99999 percent of humans. That includes UFC fighters, whose discipline requires a lot more skills and techniques to hone — and as a result, a single weapon like a punch isn’t as well-developed. I expect Mayweather to be conservative, as always, but it won’t take long for McGregor to make a mistake and over-commit, at which time Mayweather will counter swiftly and decisively to put him on the mat.
Ricky Doyle: Mayweather by KO in five. McGregor supporters will tell you, “He just needs to catch him with one.” Well, no kidding. The problem is that no one has “caught him with one” in any of Mayweather’s 49 professional boxing matches. Sure, McGregor is a powerful puncher who thrives standing up in his MMA fights, but this is a whole different beast. Expect Mayweather to keep McGregor at bay before ultimately turning things up a notch and securing a knockout in Round 5.
Theresa Spencer: Mayweather in two. How many rounds are there?
Thom Kitchen: McGregor in four. Because he said so and I’m tired of being proven wrong by the guy. Consider my line of thinking for some of McGregor’s UFC fights…
— “He’s coddled. I’d like to see how he does against a wrestler.” … KOs Chad Mendes
— “The Mendes KO was impressive, but Jose Aldo is the pound-for-pound king, unbeaten in a decade.” … KOs him 13 seconds
— “I respect McGregor for wanting the rematch, but I just think Nate Diaz is a bad style matchup. Too long, too tall, and his boxing is too good.” … Wins a tough back-and-forth fight
— “Eddie Alvarez is like an upgraded Mendes. This is going to be a tough fight. Eddie could grind him down.” … KOs him via utter domination.
Katie Colton: Mayweather via unanimous decision. Mayweather’s strategy will be to outlast McGregor, who is in over his head. The only chance McGregor has of winning is to smother Mayweather and get him away from technical boxing right off the bat. But this is unlikely because Mayweather has too much experience and will stay relaxed. If McGregor had a couple of years of boxing under his belt, he might have a chance to at least make it a decent fight, but I think he will tire out in the first four rounds and be in for a rude awakening.
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