Floyd Mayweather takes on Conor McGregor at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 26 in a spectacular event that could surpass Mayweather’s 2015’s bout with Manny Pacquiao as the biggest money spinner in combat sports history, mainly due to the amount of pay-per-view buys it looks set to generate.
This twelve round boxing match between the undefeated, 40-year old former five-weight world champion Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs), and the flashy, hard-hitting 29-year old McGregor (MMA record 21-3, 18 KOs) the first fighter in MMA history to hold two title belts at separate weights simultaneously, has certainly captured the public’s imagination.
However, as this fight is being contested purely as a boxing match and therefore strictly adhering to the rules of that sport, McGregor’s considerable arsenal of grappling and kicking skills will be null and void, and his offense will be limited to the conventional punches used in boxing.
Needless to say, this scenario suits Mayweather perfectly, as he is a master defensive boxer who is yet to be defeated as a professional in almost 50 fights, and that record is unlikely to be troubled by a man taking part in his first ever professional boxing match. The downside of this is that from a betting standpoint, it is tough to make money backing Mayweather to win as he is such a strong favorite.
That’s not to say that one cannot still win money by betting on the favorite. Here are five bets to be had in which it is possible to back Floyd Mayweather – and still win big!
1. The Fight To Go The Distance (9/4 Paddy Power)
As any self-respecting fight fan knows, Floyd Mayweather rarely wins fights by stopping an opponent inside the distance. That wasn’t always the case, and when he was a 130-pound junior lightweight world champion, Mayweather was something of a destroyer, winning most of his bouts at that time by TKO or KO. As he climbed the weight divisions, he found his bigger, heavier opponents harder to get rid of. Since moving up to welterweight in 2005, he has scored just two legitimate stoppage victories, defeating Sharmba Mitchel in six rounds that year, and in 2007 he kayoed Ricky Hatton in 10 rounds.
In 2011 Mayweather is registered as having knocked out Victor Ortiz in the fourth round, but in reality, Ortiz had just been reprimanded by referee Joe Cortez for head-butting Mayweather, and was still looking at the referee for instruction when Mayweather hit him with a two punch combination that put him down and out. Aside from those three fights, Mayweather has gone the distance twelve times in the past eleven years, and he will be perfectly happy to do so again, should it bring him his 50th straight victory.
McGregor is used to fighting MMA rounds of a five-minute duration, and in training has been enjoying the three-minute rounds synonymous with the sport of boxing. He claims to have gone 12 rounds in sparring multiple times during this training camp – including that infamous session with Paulie Malignaggi – so he should be more than capable of lasting the distance. If Mayweather dominates this fight on his terms, i.e. taking as little punishment as possible whilst scoring enough points to secure the decision, then the fight goes the distance.
2. Mayweather To Win By Disqualification (3/4 Boylesports)
If during the fight Conor McGregor feels he is being thoroughly outboxed by Floyd Mayweather, a scenario could develop in which the Irishman would rather be disqualified than suffer the humiliation of a one-sided points defeat or even a stoppage loss. This is not without precedent: in 1997, Mike Tyson, having already been TKO’d in eleven rounds in his first encounter with Evander Holyfield the previous year, was facing his nemesis in a rematch.
After the opening two rounds, in which Holyfield had carried on his domination from the previous encounter, a frustrated Tyson bit down hard on Holyfield’s ear in the third. Despite warnings from Referee Mills Lane, Tyson proceeded to take a chunk out of Holyfield’s ear and was therefore instantly disqualified. By doing so he may have incurred the wrath of the Nevada State athletic commission who hit them with a heavy fine and a lengthy ban for boxing, but he avoided suffering a points defeat, or worse still, another KO loss on his record.
Because McGregor is a proud Irishman, he could decide to prove to the world that he is indeed the better “fighter” of the two by kicking Mayweather in the head or taking him to the canvas and putting him in a chokehold! The threat of a reputed $90 million fine if he resorts to such practices may make him pause for thought, but Conor is a hot blooded guy, and once that red mist descends, anything is possible!
3. Mayweather To Get Knocked Down Yet Still Win (9/2 Paddy Power)
Mayweather has been out of the ring since he outpointed Andre Berto in September 2015. He’s 40 years old, he’s rusty, and he’s venturing into territory where few fighters survive unscathed. Sugar Ray Leonard made a comeback at the age of 40, and was unceremoniously stopped in six rounds by what was decreed to be a safe opponent, blown up lightweight Hector Camacho.
In terms of boxing experience, there are light-years between McGregor and Camacho of course, but the Irishman still poses a serious threat; he is a proven MMA superstar and reigning double champion in that sport, and while kicking and grappling are key in mixed martial arts, McGregor has had the bulk of his success due to his striking ability, showing speed and power that any top boxer would be proud of.
Because of these factors, it’s not hard to see Mayweather hitting the deck early in the fight. Crude, wild swinging Argentinian Marcos Maidana set a blistering pace in their first fight back in 2014, and had his greatest success early on, backing Mayweather against the ropes and letting fly with punches from all angles.
Expect McGregor to adopt a similar approach, with a greater level of punch accuracy, and don’t be too surprised if Mayweather takes a count, even if it is only the result of touching down, as he did in his bout against Zab Judah (who has reputedly knocked Mayweather down in sparring recently).
Even if that happens and Mayweather takes a count, he will still be favored to regroup, get on his bicycle and box his way out of trouble and take the decision.
4. Mayweather To Win A Unanimous Decision (3/1 Paddy Power)
Surprising, the most likely of all outcomes is carrying great odds from a bettors perspective. If both fighters perform to the levels expected of them, Mayweather will box his way to a unanimous decision. Mayweather has stated throughout the buildup of this fight that he intends to “knock McGregor out”, but seasoned fight fans know that’s what he says before all of his fights. The reality is Mayweather has scored one legitimate KO in the past eleven years and 14 fights, and that was a decade ago vs Ricky Hatton.
During that stretch nine of his fights have resulted in unanimous decisions, including UD wins over Zab Judah, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao. The most likely outcome for August 26 is that Conor McGregor is added to that list.
5. Mayweather To Win By Stoppage From Round 7-12 (12/5 William Hill)
If Mayweather is going to get the stoppage, it is likely to be in the second half of the fight. Why? Because Mayweather is a traditionally slow starter, who takes the opening 2-3 rounds to get the feel of a rival’s strengths and weaknesses, and then take advantage of them accordingly. Mayweather hasn’t beaten an opponent in less than six rounds (the Ortiz blindside doesn’t count) since the turn of the century, and he is unlikely to start on August 26.
There has been speculation that McGregor could “gas out” in this fight, as he has showed stamina issues in some of his MMA encounters. However his stamina looked just fine in his epic rematch with Nate Diaz last August, in which he outpointed the man who had previously defeated him in one of the most grueling battles ever seen in the octagon.
However, in that fight McGregor revealed his propensity for taking shots to the head almost dismissively, as if they weren’t even worth defending against. He finished the fight looking like he’d been run over by a car, even though he was the winner. He might be able to get away with that against Diaz, but he surely will be made to pay by Mayweather.
Floyd may not be blessed with devastating power, but he does punch with sharpness and authority. Many a rival has believed prior to fighting him that they will walk right through Mayweather’s punches, only to be surprised by the snap and sting they deliver.
If Conor is eating these shots all night, it will be like the “drip, drip, drip” effect of Chinese water torture or worse still, “death by a thousand cuts.” The bottom line is by the second half of the fight McGregor’s face will be showing the marks of battle, and the longer the fight goes on, the more battered and groggy he’ll become. Conor undoubtedly has a great chin, but his bravery, his machismo and Irish pride could be his undoing, and if by the later stages of the fight he is taking a shellacking with no chance of winning, referee Robert Byrd will surely pull him out and award the fight to Mayweather by late TKO.