The stage is set for the boxing event of the year as five-division boxing champion Floyd Mayweather will come out of retirement on August 26 to take on UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who is a two-division champion. Mayweather is 49-0 in his career and has been itching to come out of retirement for one more payday and that 50th win. We'll see if McGregor will oblige or whether he's got a surprise in store for Floyd.
The fight will take place in Las Vegas and the odds are stacked against McGregor, who is +400 to win, to -600 for Mayweather. The fight will be a pay-per-view victory for everyone involved but let's take a closer look at what each fighter needs to do to win in August.
What Would Need to Happen for Mayweather to Win
Mayweather is arguably the greatest defensive boxer of all time and he'll be doing more of the same — avoiding anything that results in his face meeting McGregor's fist. He puts his 49-0 record on the line here but this should be a very safe fight for him, as all he needs to do is be the Floyd Mayweather we've known his entire career to win this fight.
While Mayweather is 40 years old, he hasn't taken much punishment in recent years and he keeps himself in impeccable shape. And he even showed against Shane Mosley that he can take a good punch on the button and keep going. His opponents might be able to hit him, but they're not usually clean shots and if they do manage, it is usually on his shoulder as he rolls away.
The main thing for Mayweather is that he not get too cocky, but that shouldn't be a problem. As much of a promoter as Mayweather is, and he has an outlandish demeanor outside the ring, few people pay attention to the details as much as him. That's why he's a living legend.
What Would Need to Happen for McGregor to Win
McGregor's two MMA losses have come via submission, so he doesn't have to worry about that in the boxing ring. He is an outstanding counterpuncher as he showed in a 13-second KO of Jose Aldo to take the featherweight belt. He will have the power advantage as well as reach here, and he'll have to rely on both.
McGregor has to stay patient and do something that he doesn't do in MMA and that is try to get inside of Mayweather to make the fight a little messy. If he tries to stay outside of Mayweather, he is not going to get very far because Mayweather, using his ring IQ, will figure out the angles to pick him apart. The issue is that McGregor is used to being the Mayweather in the MMA ring as he stays on the outside and waits for his opponent to move. Mayweather isn't going to be sucked into a brawl. A lot of boxers much, much better than McGregor have tried and failed at that game.
Outside of this, McGregor needs to land a flush punch. It's hard to see him being able to win via a decision (that is, lasting for 12 rounds in the ring), so he'll need to hit a home run. Body shots might be a smart idea to wear Mayweather down and then aim for the head.
McGregor is at a Disadvantage Against Mayweather
There's no question that McGregor is at a significant disadvantage here given that the fight is in a boxing ring and not the Octagon. Excellent boxers like Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao have looked silly against Mayweather. Now McGregor, who hasn't been a professional boxer his entire life, is going to try to pick up the sport in a matter of months and challenge one of the best of all time.
Beyond that, McGregor is at a severe disadvantage in terms of how boxing is officiated. If McGregor knocks down a fighter in MMA, he's allowed to jump in and pound the opponent until it's over. If he were to somehow catch Mayweather with a huge hit, the referee will jump in and Mayweather will have time to recover. Even if Mayweather is knocked down, there's a good chance he can get up, dance around and recover, and still win the fight on points.
And then there's stamina. The longest McGregor would ever have to last in an MMA fight is 25 minutes if it goes the distance. Only once in his career has he lasted that long. However, boxing has 12 three-minute rounds, so McGregor better hope he's got the stamina to go the distance.