There’ll be a huge Brinks truck somewhere in the caverns of T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Aug. 26, as two of the greatest villains in combat sports history don Sin City masked grins to pull a con.
In choosing who’s who between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, it is easy to identify which one of them is the Joker that tricked you into this. He won’t come in a clowned-out purple suit with green hair and your girl’s favorite red lipstick on, but perhaps Ireland’s badass should. This is the Clown Prince of Gotham against The Best Ever in a boxing ring.
I can hear the wicked laughter from the gallows.
Be it in the form of an MMA heart or in the shape of Benjamins, a lot of both are at stake; almost as many among millions who believe Floyd Mayweather will absolutely Everlast heavy bag Conor McGregor to a pulp.
But I don’t know about that.
In fact, the more I think about it, this is a very dangerous fight for slightly wrinkled “Money” with spying eyes from the IRS– no doubt in on the heist. And just for the hell of it, if there’s a real-life Michael Corleone in the world, I think he’d waste Money on the loud-mouthed “Notorious.”
Here’s a few reasons why Conor McGregor can knock Floyd Mayweather on his A-side, and make Rocky Marciano smile somewhere above in a 49-1 kind of way.
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Nothing about this newly 29 year-old guy seems contrived. Until you checked the seams.
As the “F*ck You” pin-stripes silently scream from an ultra-tailored navy blue suit worn at the LA launch to lewd promotion, Conor is (to coin a Floyd phrase) ‘straight up and down with no special effects’ while presenting an incongruous special affect of rare aura simultaneously.
Standing just a few feet away backstage on the ground level of Staples Center about an hour prior to his ring walk to join Mayweather on stage, McGregor is bathed in a countenance of conviction with the body language of charitable pride. Almost like a boss with a black card who wants the bartender to know he’s buying everybody a drink. The UFC phenomenon seems like a UFO to me.
“You a boxing guy?” McGregor turns and says to me out of nowhere, totally interrupting his own conversation with event coordinators of some sort. After I nod my head and grin while spilling out ‘Yeah’, McGregor slipped into the persona of a guy at the bar.
“Dude, this f*cking guy thinks I signed up for a boxing match. Some sh*t where he can get cute,’ said Mac, leaning in loudly and pretending he’s whispering. ‘He just made the mistake of his life because I’m gonna manhandle his ass.”
Now, to be sure, Floyd should spin Conor like laundry and completely hang his frame out to dry. But after listening to McGregor talk, I started scribbling some conspiracy theories and random reasons why Conor might ‘Buster Douglas’ Floyd. Don’t trip.
1. THE MAFIA
Las Vegas is where Floyd built his home and legend, but that doesn’t make him a sacred cow. Actually, he may have turned into a sacrificial lamb ready to be whacked.
Factor in the 400 million dollar cost of T-Mobile (making its debut in May 2016 for Canelo V Khan), which coincided with the sale of UFC for some 4 billion to a group of aggressive investors, and no where does it make sense that those plans would include a nearly 41 year-old Mayweather after clipping McGregor.
But a 29 year-old McGregor becomes a novastar after giving Floyd the most dramatic 49-“Oh!” of all-time. Business would explode all over the desert in a way that would tickle the corpse of Bugsy Siegel.
2. THE FOREIGN THUG
For Floyd, this has nothing to do with Tupac Shakur. Tape evidence shows Mayweather has no problems with conventional fighters of decent polish. He outclassed them. But 2 fights will jump off your screen: Mayweather V Hatton and Mayweather V Maidana.
In December 2007, Floyd went through hell before successfully defending his welterweight championship over Ricky Hatton via 10th round TKO in a thriller. But boy did he pay a price, for Hatton was at times mauling Mayweather before his tires ran over “Pretty Boy” nails.
What most fascinates about this fight in relation to McGregor, is that Floyd was Conor’s age when he fought Hatton and was pressed so hard physically that he needed to “retire” briefly afterwards. That fight helped to provide an understanding as to why Floyd avoided Antonio Margarito– who would’ve been a bigger type of Hatton.
McGregor should have this bout in constant rotation, for there was nothing special about the crude Hatton except his desire. Same with Marcos Maidana in the year 2014.
If Hatton was at times mauling Floyd, “Chino” had stretches where he straight bludgeoned the ring savant on several occasions. Repeatedly. He pounded Floyd enough to justify a rematch (which could’ve ended in disaster near the end of the 3rd round from a Maidana right hand). This was the first fight where I’ve ever seen Mayweather visibly fatigued during the championship rounds. Why is this telling?
Not only was it three years ago, but Maidana was ponderous and slow with limited technique. But synonymous with Hatton, Maidana had extreme desire and will. Both fighters never posed with Floyd in the ring.
Conor McGregor will be as big as Antonio Margarito with the thug attributes of Maidana and Hatton against an aging Mayweather.
THE BRILLIANT CAVEMAN
ESPN’s rather colorful Teddy Atlas may have unwittingly (and unknowingly) painted Conor as a grunting savage with an IQ of 6, but this notion is false. The Irishman is extremely intelligent and completely adept at exploiting minimal weakness. Ask the great Jose Aldo. Granted Aldo was older, but only needing 0:13 against an octagon legend? I expect McGregor to still walk and stalk Mayweather as if he’s still in an eight dimensional point octagon instead of the four configured ring. I don’t think he’ll be interested in a traditional boxing stance and will try to make the fight as savage as possible.
Those of us who’ve watched Mayweather over the years know about his proclivity to clinch. I don’t see this as an advantage against a “Caveman” McGregor from MMA’s school of grappling. Let’s think about something else. Not only did Maidana hurt Floyd on a few occasions, but Andre Berto caught Floyd with things in September 2015 that vintage “Money” would’ve slipped easily. Against “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Berto gets KTFO. Conor knows he won’t be facing “Money”. In his mind, he’s the physically superior athlete with solid hands and the confidence of a world leader.
You’ve heard McGregor talk about Floyd’s ‘little head, little legs and tiny core’, just like we’ve heard the old master whine like Yoda about his body breaking down and brittle hands. The Force won’t be with Mayweather. The thinking here goes he’ll be forced to reveal an offense we’ve not seen since the Hatton fight in December 2007. Can he do that? Fighter hands don’t get better with time, and his use of the widely banned steroid numbing agent Xylocaine is no secret in boxing circles. All of this means – from these optics, that McGregor will fight Mayweather very tall and very relentlessly, showing no regard for boxing etiquette at all.
If his conditioning is special enough to pursue Floyd, for 12 full rounds, while enduring the shot-making ability of one of the best prizefighters of all-time… Don’t laugh, but the Crown Prince might cackle all the way to a bank of Ireland while making Floyd look like a 150lb member of Milli Vanilli in an NWA hat.