According to MMAFighting.com, UFC fight commentator Joe Rogan doesn’t believe UFC junior middleweight Conor McGregor, who was knocked out by Floyd Mayweather earlier this month, is done with the sweet science.
“I don’t think [Conor is done boxing],” said Rogan. “Look, he went the very first fight against the greatest ever and he didn’t look too bad. If there’s a legit, big fight – say if Canelo Alvarez steps up and says that he wants to fight Conor McGregor, [Conor] might do it.”
Rogan hit the nail somewhat on the head. While McGregor is easily the biggest superstar in MMA, his fight night payouts fighting in UFC are exponentially less than those star boxers receive. Against Mayweather, in fact, McGregor made at minimum more than 10 times what he makes fighting as a MMA star and it will likely turn into around 25 times his MMA paydays once all PPV sales are counted.
Alvarez would make a lot of sense as an opponent. Coming off his split decision draw against Gennady Golovkin, Alvarez remains the biggest star in the sport now that the Mayweather is again retired. While McGregor is only 0-1 as a professional boxer, his star power exceeds most boxers in the sport today, and he did fare decently against Mayweather, particularly early in the fight.
Still, one assumes from watching film of the bout that Mayweather was simply proving a point. He was very unMayweatherlike for the entire bout, walking forward almost the entire night on his way to a workmanlike knockout of the boastful Irishman who promised to shock the world. Mayweather didn’t even appear to be in that good of shape.
Where Mayweather is 40 and past his best days as a fighter, Alvarez is a 27-year-old in the prime of his life. Many did not expect him to compete with Golovkin at such a high level and he did well enough to earn at least a draw in many people’s eyes and even an outright win in others.
Canelo-McGregor would draw a huge audience and perhaps be more compelling a fight, as Alvarez would surely bring the action to McGregor from the opening bell. And while Mayweather did a similar thing, Alvarez would probably throw more combinations at McGregor during the first nine minutes of the fight than the famed notorious one has ever seen in his life.
But Alvarez isn’t the only fighter that would be a good fit. Junior middleweight Miguel Cotto is 36 years old and looking to go out with a bang in December. Imagining a Cotto-McGregor bout is almost as fun as thinking about Canelo-McGregor, and with Cotto older and conceivably past his best, the bout might even sell a little bit easier because of it.
And how about Gennady Golovkin?
McGregor made no bones about criticizing unified middleweight champion Golovkin earlier this year. Golovkin’s style against McGregor could potentially give fans the most explosive action of the year. Both fighters hit hard and disdain contemporary defensive techniques like head movement. Golovkin-McGregor would provide fireworks for however long it lasted, and again McGregor would be facing a fighter past his prime. Golovkin is 35 years old and not the ferocious destroyer he once was.
Needless to say, McGregor would be a huge underdog in any of those fights. While McGregor’s team indicated after the Mayweather loss they understood what they did wrong in preparation for the fight, and while untrained eyes probably saw Mayweather-McGregor as a more competitive fight 2, the truth of the matter is that if McGregor is serious about boxing he would need to invest himself in fighting non-elite fighters for a time while he acclimated to the rigors of boxing.
Otherwise, McGregor is just interested in cash grabs. Huge ones, mind you, as any of those fights would be big business in the sport, and McGregor’s sound bites have a penchant for making promotions even more successful than they probably should be.
But cash grabs nonetheless—ones that would leave McGregor winless in boxing and on the wrong end of some pretty one-sided boxing beat downs.
Finally, much was made of McGregor’s beef with Paulie Malignaggi when the latter served as a sparring partner for McGregor’s Mayweather bout. If McGregor is seriously looking for a fight he could potentially win, the smallish, 36-year-old Malignaggi would be his best bet.
Malignaggi has been past his best days as a fighter for a few years now, and McGregor is so much bigger than the former welterweight titleholder that McGregor could conceivably nab a win against a somewhat high profile name.
The payout would probably be much less than any of the other names mentioned here, but if McGregor is serious about giving boxing a go, he could do much worse than making the grudge match with Malignaggi his primary focus. As Rogan admitted, most of the other names on the list should be nonstarters.
“It wouldn’t be a smart move,” said Rogan. “The difference between Canelo and Floyd – Floyd was just a brilliant boxer. Canelo is a murderous puncher and he’ll f__k you up. He’ll hurt you. [Golvokin] is not a good fight for him either. Neither Canelo nor Golovkin is a good fight for him. They’re terrible fights for him. Those guys are different.”