I never thought I would write successive columns on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor Mcgregor “gigafight” because it has made a lot of noise in mainstream and social media. In social media, debates among mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing fans raged, although there were MMA fans who still thought Mayweather would win.
The four pressers to build up the fight truly caught the imagination of fight fans in general, although I would say they looked more like child’s play compared to the antics of Mike Tyson before he fought Lennox Lewis, and Bernard Hopkins before he squared off against Felix Trinidad. Tyson punched, wrestled and belitted Lennox during the first presser of their fight, while Hopkins grabbed the Puerto Rican flag from Trinidad and threw it to the ground during one of the pressers. Both pressers ended almost in total chaos. But those are different stories.
I really do not know who got into one’s nerves during the four pressers of the Mayweather-McGregor fight, but it looks like the Irish fighter definitely one-upped the American boxer.
Footages of the trainings of the two protagonists can hardly reveal who really has the edge, although I would say that the McGregor camp blew out of proportion the Irish fighter’s supposedly knocking down during sparring an out-of-shape Paulie Malignaggi, who lost his last fight more than four months ago via stoppage.
But the general consensus at this point is Mayweather has the edge, and that is understandable.
Many fight commentators now refer to Mayweather as one of the greatest boxers of all time, because of his exemplary skill set. Yet there are those who believe McGregor’s slight edge in size and perceived advantage in power will pose problems for Mayweather.
So who wins this weekend?
To label Mayweather as a pure counter puncher would be foolish at this point, if we discuss matters from what a counter puncher really is. In boxing, the general view is a counter puncher takes little risk to attack or take the offensive, and sticks with the traditional approach of jabbing before landing a cross. And a counter puncher usually throws a punch only after he blocks or evades the salvo of his opponent.
But Mayweather even in his recent fights showed he throws a jab or a lead right even if his opponent has not launched a punch. He usually does this after he figures out the holes in his opponent’s defense and finds out which punch his opponent is a sucker to. So to believe that Mayweather will just rely on his money punch, which is the cross, could be fatal for McGregor.
As for McGregor, I would still believe he has more power in his punches and can land a haymaker that can end the fight. In fact, this is what many fight analysts believe is McGregor’s best chance to win – land that haymaker. Mayweather also better be aware that McGregor does not rely solely on his left cross (being a southpaw) because his follow-up right hook or upper cut are equally deadly.
But let’s not get too technical over their skills, because what I believe what will be of greater importance in winning the gigafight is who sticks with his gameplan.
Since this fight is scheduled for 12 rounds, the fighter with better mental toughness to stick to his proven game plan can emerge victorious. And we have seen how Mayweather sticks with his gameplan once he figures out the weaknesses in his opponent’s offense and defense.
So will McGregor end up getting peppered by Mayweather’s counters after the American figures out the weaknesses in his opponents? Well, not so fast! Tenacity can also carry the Irish fighter to victory and we have seen how many times McGregor in his MMA fights can turn the tide in his favor to eventually win.
If McGregor proves to be hard nut to crack or keeps plowing forward despite taking so much punishment, he still can land that haymaker to win the fight or eventually unsettle Mayweather to steal a decision.
In reality, I can conceptualize half a dozen scenarios where either fight can win, or three each for Mayweather and McGregor.
So why don’t we just watch this fight, and not care if the protagonists end up laughing their way to the bank. For all the nonsense some people thought this spectacle would generate, the gigafight has turned out to be one historic event. Even if some think we are all being taken for a ride.