5 Keys to victory for Floyd Mayweather Jr.
One of the most intriguing fights ever is set to go down this week in the fight capital of the world, as Sin City plays host to what could be the highest-grossing fight of all time.
The money is there as is the passion; the defensive wizardry is present as is the ferocious aggression; it's Experience vs Youth; it's the Jack of all trades vs the Master of one, and Vegas braces for the carnival known as Mayweather vs McGregor. This fight is much more than two gladiators stepping into the ring to try their best and separate the other from his consciousness. This fight — a boxing match — is as much spectacle as it is a legitimate test of the athletic abilities and fighting skills of the combatants.
When Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor touch gloves before mixing it up inside the ring under the Marquess of Queensberry rules, what ensues will be the culmination of the curiosity of the millions and millions of combat sports fans or even first-time watchers for that matter.
Mayweather vs McGregor is a cultural event.
No matter how much one tries to sugarcoat it, the fact remains that Conor McGregor is 0-0-0 as a professional boxer. In simple terms, his fight against Mayweather will be his pro-boxing debut. Make no mistake about it though, McGregor is a fighter and a great one at that.
Here’s the catch: the Notorious Irishman is an MMA fighter, not a professional boxer and is set to go one-on-one with one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport of pugilism, which dates back to 688 BC.
The fight shall be contested under professional boxing rules, and Conor stands to lose somewhere north of 90% of his fight-purse should he utilize any MMA-based manoeuvre that isn’t permitted within the realm of the sweet science. In other words, the UFC Lightweight Champion is disallowed from freely firing off the vast array of weapons that have time and again helped him befuddle and discombobulate his foes within the confines of the world famous Octagon.
While the blue corner houses the brash connoisseur of predicting ‘Tings’— Mystic Mac, in the red corner you have one of the best boxers of all time, Floyd Mayweather Jr. On paper, Floyd has every advantage apart from age. Besides, for those jumping at the size difference, you ought to note that Conor and Floyd aren’t separated by as much size as the former would have you believe. This is Mayweather’s fight to lose.
Nevertheless, just like the eloquent and well-mannered young Mike Tyson once said:
"Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth."
May-Mac is a fistfight, folks, and when the stars align, Rahman can knock out Lewis; an old Bisping can wobble a young Rockhold; a Middleweight in Hendo can KO a Heavyweight in Fedor and an emotional Douglas can ice a confident Tyson. Anything can happen.
As students of martial science, it’s our job to analyze and learn the keys to victory in each and every fight that we come across. Here are a few essentials that Mayweather needs to keep in mind if he wants to take McGregor to boxing school. Here we go:
#5 Respect thy enemy
If you’ve watched the press conferences in the build-up to Mayweather vs McGregor, surely you would’ve heard a lot of colourful terms being thrown around like candy not only by the outspoken UFC phenom but also by the motor-mouth American pugilist.
The key to both McGregor and Mayweather’s success has been their ability to irritate opponents to the point where their respective opponents want to kill them. In that sense, both Conor and Floyd mimic the late-great Muhammad Ali — since Ali’s verbal tirades would more often than not beat his opponents well before they set foot in the ring.
Irrespective of all the mind games and trash talk that Conor and Floyd have directed toward one another, when the bell rings, the American boxer has got to respect his debuting foe’s power and skills. After all, it’s a fight, and when fists touch jaws and those body shots start to feel like stabs, the recipient goes down sooner rather than later.
Floyd has to respect Conor’s power, especially early on in the fight. The first couple of rounds will set the pace for the bout and serve as a reading session for both fighters. There’s always the chance that Conor catches Floyd with a bomb like Shane Mosley did in his showdown against FMJ. The rooftop punch that Mosley connected with rocked ‘Money’ and had him in all sorts of trouble however it was Floyd’s excellent muscle memory and legendary chin that helped him hang on and eventually turn the tables on Mosley.
Floyd needs to avoid planting his feet over the course of the first quarter of the 12-round fight. In my humble opinion, the defensive savant would likely open up from Round 3 or 4 onwards, but until then he needs to respect the Irishman’s power and get his distance and timing down.
Pride comes before the fall. And Floyd isn’t stupid. He will respect the power Conor carries in his hands and stay on his bike for the early rounds, getting his reads and allowing his conscious and subconscious to calculate the sum of the offence and defence that Ireland’s King Ghost brings to the Sweet Science’s bloody laboratory.