Maymac Fight Analysis – A Peculiar Beginning
MayMac Fight Analysis – “What if you were in the ring with Floyd Mayweather? What do you think would happen?”
This question was asked to Conor McGregor in July 2015 on Conan and began a circus complete with illiteracy jokes, homophobic slurs, and even songs (sounds like a 2016 political rally). The build to the fight has been silly, profane, and epitomizes everything that combat sports promotion has become. Fans CRAVE the controversy and WWE-esque press conferences, and for this fight, which is being branded as “the biggest fight in combat sports history,” (and by all accounts, it is) it had to go over the top.
For reference, this is the equivalent of Royce Gracie vs. Mike Tyson, Kevin Hart vs. Meryl Streep, Chris Stapleton vs. Lil’ Wayne, simply unprecedented. No introduction is needed for either man because unless you live under a rock, this fight is as inescapable as oxygen. Instead of a cookie cutter breakdown, I want to preview this fight from the probable/ improbable angles and also put to rest several nonsensical rumors surrounding this fight.
“What If’s” -MayMac Fight Analysis
1. What if McGregor catches Mayweather?
Sorry, one shot will not do.
This seems to be the biggest one for Conor McGregor supporters.
“No one can take that left hand!”
“Floyd has never been hit before!”
Well, Nate Diaz ate that left hand in four ounce gloves for dinner SEVERAL times and kept coming back for dessert. Granted, Nate Diaz might be the terminator and pain doesn’t register in his matrix configuration. In this fight, McGregor and Mayweather will be wearing eight ounce gloves (significantly more padded) and Floyd is proficient at not being hit. However, he has been hit before:
Power punchers Marcos Maidana and Shane Mosley connected FLUSH and Mayweather was only stunned momentarily. He recovers quickly from these shots and proceeds to surgically out box them. Most of these power boxers over-exert themselves in the first couple rounds and get embarrassed as the fight continues. Look at Canelo Alvarez:
One of the best in the world looked like an amateur against Mayweather. One shot will not do it, but if McGregor can unload two, three, or four connecting power punches, we have a different argument. McGregor is lethally accurate. This combination to finish off Eddie Alvarez is proof of that:
Can 40 year-old Mayweather still dodge punches like he used to? If Floyd is a step slower, McGregor has an opportunity to catch him, but one shot will simply not do. More importantly, McGregor cannot go chasing the knockout.
2. What if Conor McGregor gasses?
The chance of this is not as great as you may think.
Any time McGregor’s cardio is brought to the table, detractors sound like member-berries from South Park.
“Conor’s cardio appears to be in peak condition.”
“BUT YOU REMEMBER NATE DIAZ? I MEMBER.”
Yes, McGregor GASSED searching for the knockout during his UFC 196 fight with Nate Diaz, but let’s get a couple things straight. MayMac Fight Analysis
Firstly, Conor was preparing for a 155 pound fight and ten days prior, Raphael Dos Anjos pulled due to injury. Diaz stepped in and suggested they fight at a catchweight of 160 or 165 pounds because Diaz could not make the lightweight cut in time. McGregor was around 165 pounds the day of the change and allowed his ego and false sense of invincibility to cloud his judgement. Instead of agreeing at that weight, McGregor suggested 170 pounds so Diaz could comfortably make weight. He learned his lesson quickly.
Secondly, in the Nate Diaz rematch at UFC 202, an exhausted McGregor dug deep to win a lopsided fourth round and secure a victory by majority decision. Again, this fight was at 170 pounds because McGregor wanted to prove to himself (and the world) he could defeat Diaz at that weight. But when McGregor fights at 155 pounds, he does look invincible.
From his Cage Warriors victory over David Hill, to his most recent performance against Eddie Alvarez, 155 is just right for McGregor. In the Alvarez bout, he was calm, patient, and exacting every moment of the fight. Now before you attack me in the comments section, let me address the elephant in the room:
I KNOW BOXING IS 12 ROUNDS AND UFC IS A MAX OF 5 THANK YOU.
This boxing match consists of 12, three minute rounds with a one minute break in between them; MMA bouts consist of 5, five minute rounds with a one minute break in between each round. Which one is harder? Will this be easier or harder for McGregor? If I were to venture a guess, I would say about the same, but Floyd has a strategy to accelerate fatigue.MayMac Fight Analysis
Floyd Mayweather is an elite knuckle ball pitcher who as soon as you think you can swing, you miss and look silly doing it. Mayweather is deceptive and his Philly shell boxing technique is flawless. The best chance for McGregor to gas is if Mayweather hides in the shell and lets McGregor punch himself out. This has been a Mayweather strategy for years and I don’t care how in shape you are, Mayweather will be in better cardio shape and gassing people out is his forte.
If McGregor solely looks for that one shot, Floyd is going to run him to death and then leisurely pick him apart. However, I expect to see a controlled storm from McGregor, not a headhunter, and definitely not against Mayweather.
3. What if Mayweather breaks his hands?
The fight becomes a lot more interesting.
Ahh, you thought those “brittle hands” comments from McGregor were just trash talk? Well gather round children, zip it, listen (channeling my inner Dark Fantasy).
Before Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao in 2015, his former cutman Miguel Diaz shed some light on what he believes to be the root cause of hand injuries for the entire Mayweather family: calcium deficiency. Floyd’s father and uncle both suffer from the condition, and so does Floyd. Diaz believes none of the three were given enough calcium growing up and the early deficiency has plagued all three throughout life. It seems silly to a degree: Mayweather could probably throw a crisp double jab at age four, but wasn’t drinking enough milk. Jim Harbaugh would be disappointed.
Allegedly, Mayweather must have his hands wrapped a specific way and use a specially Grant designed glove to help protect his hands. Mayweather has experienced hand problems since his amateur career in the 1990’s and I can only imagined it has worsened since he has gone over the hill.
So if Mayweather’s hand catches McGregor’s big Irish head wrong and a hand breaks?
Mayweather is an undeniably gifted fighter and one of his greatest gifts is how excellent he is at disguising discomfort and pain. Even if his hand were to break, the only person that might realize it will be the one person that can hurt him: McGregor. If McGregor feels or senses even the slightest difference in Mayweather’s punches, he is going to start talking and pressing, talking and pressing, and talking and pressing. Once the fear of the potential knockout is gone, then Mayweather is going to have to go full Pacquiao on us and run, run, run away! MayMac Fight Analysis
Mayweather is capable of weathering this storm and it is no guarantee he would even have a change in demeanor (yeah, he’s that special). But if there is a change, and McGregor is aware, watch out.
4. What if Mayweather starches McGregor in the first round?
Brendan Schaub described Mayweather’s fighting intelligence better than anyone equating it to him being a computer and simply “downloading” your style, punches, habits, and flaws. So take the first four rounds, Mayweather will only throw punches that he has calculated as 100% safe and will predominantly stay defensive. But every time someone throws a punch, shuffles their feet, takes a deep breath, moves their head, sets a trap, throws a combination, Mayweather sees it, downloads it, and remembers it.
This is what makes Mayweather so special: boxing movements are his native language. The way we remember to spell “door” in the fourth grade is how Mayweather remembers to duck an overhand right and instantly turn to miss an uppercut. He is fluent in defense.
If Mayweather comes out swinging, I will be shocked because in 49 professional fights, he has rarely taken a risk that did not end in is favor. By doing this, he will be enabling McGregor to do what he does best, counter. Save your money because nothing dramatic is happening in the first round.
Nonsensical Rumors -MayMac Fight Analysis
1. Floyd Mayweather has never been close to losing.
For those of you who have only watched Mayweather’s fights against Pacquiao, Canelo, Oscar De La Hoya, and maybe one of the Maidana fights, let me take you back to April 20, 2002. A 25 year-old Mayweather faced Jose Luis Castillo in what would become the closest fight in Mayweather’s career.
Castillo forces Mayweather to initiate heavy exchanges, stalks him throughout the fight, leans on him, ties him up, dirty boxes, mixes up body and head shots, and absolutely wins the fight. Mayweather was sluggish in the last three rounds as the two stayed in the pocket with Castillo leaning against him and trading big shots. Jose Luis Castillo was patient, exacting, dirtied the fight up, and forced Mayweather to brawl not box (go watch this full fight, PLLLEEEAAASSSEEE! Okay, fine I’ll give you the highlights). MayMac Fight Analysis
The second fight between the two, Mayweather improves drastically and cruises to victory, but their first fight is a different story. Some see it as a draw, but regardless he was on the brink of defeat (or over it) and very close to losing. One headline summed it up best, “Mayweather lost the fight, but won the decision.” Watch the fight and decide for yourself, but remember, Mayweather was human at 25 and remains human at 40.
2. Conor has no boxing skills (said every pretentious boxing writer/ analyst/ fan)
People have always feared two things: change and something different; Conor McGregor represents both of those to the sport of boxing. He fights unorthodox, he mixes styles in his stances (more on that later), he takes punishment, he is awkward, HE IS A FIGHTER.
Firstly, McGregor has Irish amateur boxing roots and just because his boxing skills are “subpar” in any film shown, that’s because he is preparing for kicks, knees, elbows, and takedowns. Stick a boxer in the octagon in a traditional boxing stance and watch his legs get eaten alive; watch him get taken down and mercilessly beaten senseless from ground and pound; watch him get caught in a heel hook before he can lower his hands to his waist. McGregor is proficient in boxing while keeping all of that in mind and truthfully, no boxing analyst can tell you how good his pure boxing skills are. Sorry.MayMac Fight Analysis
Secondly, judging speed, reflexes, power, and timing, from training videos is idiotic. I understand that people are fickle and need instant gratification to back up their pick, but enough is enough. You do not know the purpose of the specific drill or exercise. The same goes for Mayweather detractors as well. Time will tell. Be patient. Go watch another fantasy football draft insider show and work on breathing through your nose.
Lastly, I have heard people point to Nate Diaz as someone who exposed McGregor on the feet. Well as awkward (and awesome) as Diaz appears boxing, he knows what he’s doing. He frequently spars with Andre Ward who is arguably the best pound for pound boxer on the planet. I have already highlighted their fights above so I will spare you the redundancy, but to insinuate that Diaz is a slouch boxer is cloddish. MayMac Fight Analysis
3. Floyd Mayweather should not be allowed to fight because of his criminal behavior.
Mayweather’s history of domestic violence is decorated including several arrests and a 90-day jail sentence in 2011. The jail sentence stemmed from hitting the mother of his three children on the night he found out about her infidelity. It’s hard to even type that sentence without being physically repulsed, but Mayweather served his court-determined debt to society and should be allowed to fight.
He paid the price for each of these abhorrent crimes and whether we agree with the punishment or not, it’s over. Mayweather should not suffer for previous transgressions that he has already suffered for and he should be allowed to do his job. Our judicial system says he is allowed to fight, so by law he is and should be.
ALL WORK IS WHAT? We survived the hypothetical’s! Now, point to the easy work ^^^ because now we are getting into the good stuff.
How Each Fighter Wins -MayMac Fight Analysis
Push the pace…
Mayweather needs to dictate the pace and force McGregor into uncharacteristic mistakes. The brilliance of Mayweather is how he makes you beat yourself as you try desperately to decapitate him with every punch. By controlling the tempo, Mayweather can dictate exchanges, counters, and control the entire fight while moving backwards. He can barely throw a punch yet still control the fight, all while wearing an opponent down. It is impressive. MayMac Fight Analysis
Stay in the shell…
Floyd Mayweather’s perfected boxing technique is known as the Philly Shell and even Mayweather’s biggest haters, admire the beauty of it. By turning, widening his stance, shrugging his near shoulder over his chin, and lowering his left hand, Mayweather is all but impenetrable. He baits his opponent to throw power shots to his head, which he easily evades and counters. The added bonus is fighter after fighter exhausts after trying to break through Mayweather’s Helm’s Deep of a boxing technique. Mayweather should stay in that offensive black hole and download everything McGregor is going to throw at him. When the program is finished downloading, unload.
Sounds weird telling Mayweather to be patient, right? But with the circus that this fight has become, everyone is expecting fireworks. Although Mayweather rarely suffers from mental lapses in fights or deviates from his strengths, he needs to focus on winning before putting on a show. I get it, you are considered the best generational fighter and you are fighting a novice, but that does not mean go for the early kill. Moreover, by waiting for an offensive explosion, Mayweather can preserve his hands so in the middle rounds, he is fresh and healthy.MayMac Fight Analysis
Be Floyd Mayweather…
Pay me the big bucks for this answer! Mayweather has gotten to 49-0 by being himself. He is not going to shock you with his power or do anything you tell your grandchildren about, but he is going to win and at the end of a competition, what else matters?
Now before I delve into how McGregor can win, we must first define “what is winning” in this freakshow of a fight? To me, registering a knockdown or even going the distance counts as a victory for the sport of MMA.
Think of the people who have gone the distance with Mayweather: Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, and Zab Judah to name a few. Ricky Hatton (many pounds ago, but people forget he began his career 43-0) and Diego Corrales both couldn’t make it past 10 rounds. It’s nice to have that context because even if McGregor is outclassed, but goes the distance, he accomplishes something that two multi-time world champions could not.
Now, if McGregor flat out beats him in this fight, it is the death of boxing and the coronation of the greatest combat sports athlete of all time, BAR NONE. However, we will cross that bridge if we get there.
Floyd Mayweather has never faced someone who stands with a karate-like wide base and that flips stances like a taekwondo fighter. McGregor will be unorthodox with his hand movement and his most valuable tool is deception. With a martial arts background, McGregor will be able to create unique angles with how he moves and give Mayweather something he has never seen before. If Mayweather is impatient and presumes wrong with one of McGregor’s tricks, he will find himself in a trap. MayMac Fight Analysis
Make the traps count…
Conor McGregor has made a living of setting traps and by this I mean several things. He will stand in a southpaw position, but rotate his left shoulder forward to create this unique stance and bait opponents to take their best shot. Secondly, he will throw a combination once, twice, but tweak it the third time so when you counter, he pivots out and tags you flush on the chin before you realize what happened. Against Mayweather, McGregor must make these traps count and not show his entire hand in the first two rounds. Mayweather will download everything he throws so each time he sets a trap, he must make the most of it.
Control the range…
McGregor will have a two inch reach advantage in this fight and it will be the first time Mayweather will be at a reach disadvantage since 2007 (11 fights ago) when Oscar De La Hoya had a one inch reach advantage. This is more significant than most realize because one of McGregor’s greatest strengths is his ability to gauge distance and know when he can inflict damage, but remain unscathed. This will allow him to keep distance when necessary and provide rest for the brawl he will undoubtedly work towards. MayMac Fight Analysis
Fight, don’t box…
In 2015, McGregor himself said, “Boxing is not the style that can beat Floyd” and he will do anything but box in this one. Clinch work, dirty boxing, (un)intentional headbutts, leaning against Mayweather, anything he can to prevent Mayweather from being comfortable. Similar to what Castillo did to Mayweather and what Jeff “Don’t call me a gym teacher” Horn did to Manny Pacquiao this summer. McGregor is comfortable in the clinch and utilizing every little trick when he is tied up, could make the biggest difference.
We are hours away from the biggest circus fight of all time and no less than the integrity of boxing is on the line. Will Mick Konstantin’s joyful tune become the requiem for boxing or will Mayweather do what he’s always done, and win? One question from Conan O’Brien and now we are on the precipice of one of the biggest moments in combat sports history. MayMac Fight Analysis
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