What was once a combat sports fan’s dream and a long shot to ever happen is now only two weeks away: A megafight between boxing icon Floyd Mayweather and UFC stud Conor McGregor. Ahead of the Aug. 26 bout at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, where Mayweather will fight for the 50th time professionally and McGregor for the first, Footwear News spoke with boxing and mixed-martial-arts experts to get their predictions. Here’s what some of the best fighters had to say.
Gervonta Davis, boxer, Baltimore
“I think we all know who is going to win, and that’s Floyd Mayweather, with an outstanding performance. Mayweather will win because he has 49 professional fights versus someone with no professional fights, coming in from MMA. I believe Mayweather is going to capitalize on McGregor’s mistakes. There’s no way McGregor is going to win. [This match] is good for both sports, and McGregor is gaining from the situation. He’s making the biggest payday he’s ever made, and it’s not in an MMA cage. On Floyd’s end, I believe he’s gaining from it also because it’s one of the biggest events. They’re making more than seven or eight figures.”
Paulie Malignaggi, boxer, Brooklyn, N.Y.
“I think you favor Floyd Mayweather. At first glance, it’s pretty hard to look at that fight and think of anything but a Mayweather victory. But then you think of McGregor: He’s a big puncher, he’s a bigger guy, and Mayweather is 40 years old and hasn’t fought in two years. All of a sudden, you start thinking this isn’t so black and white after all. If [McGregor] wins, it’s a huge upset. Look at the intangible things: McGregor is not a hopeless guy just jumping in there. McGregor is in his prime and a natural, bona fide athlete who can hit very hard, and I’m sure he’ll have a game plan in place for Floyd.”
Mikey Garcia, boxer, Oxnard, Calif.
“Mayweather wins this easily. Conor is a great MMA fighter but not a professional boxer. Although he uses boxing in MMA, it’s nowhere near the caliber and level of Floyd Mayweather. [McGregor could pull off the upset if] he lands one good overhand left or a right hook. One of those punches could turn the fight around or put Floyd down. One-punch power like he carries could definitely do that for him, but I wouldn’t be betting on a lucky shot like that. I think it’s a good way to merge two sports and create this big entertainment show, and it might create new fans crossing over from one sport to the next.”
Joe Schilling, Muay Thai kickboxer and mixed martial artist, Los Angeles
“Mayweather humiliates McGregor in under six rounds, and Conor gasses out in four rounds. It’s going to be a completely different level of boxing. The buildup heading into the fight is entertaining, but the reality of McGregor’s level of boxing versus Mayweather’s — it’ll be embarrassing. It will look really bad. I don’t think he’ll last. But it brings a lot of money and attention and eyes to combat sports, so it’s good on that front. Ultimately, it will bring a lot of new fans; people asking about McGregor don’t know anything about boxing or MMA, so it’s good for the sport.”
Heather Hardy, boxer and mixed martial artist, Brooklyn, N.Y.
“Mayweather will win that fight. Boxing is a science. It’s not really a sport that gets won by the stronger guy or the tougher guy; it usually gets won by the guy with more experience. I’m not saying Mayweather is a better fighter than Conor — [because] if they had a fight on the street where there were no rules or a fight in the cage, Conor would kill him. But Conor is inviting himself into an area where Mayweather has proven to the world 49 times over, against some of the best fighters ever, that he knows more things than anyone else inside the boxing ring.”
Saad Awad, mixed martial artist, San Bernardino, Calif.
“McGregor does have a puncher’s chance, but I think he has to connect, and Mayweather is known for not getting hit. He might run around for 12 rounds, and if that’s what he has to do to win, then that’s probably what he’s going to do. I think it’s bringing awareness to both sports.”