This week has to of been one of the memorable for boxing. World press tours for a combat sport crossover between Mayweather and Mc Gregor. And it did not disappoint. Trash talking was at its highest level and essentially is the highest selling point in the fight. Living in Ireland I have heard more opinions on the fight this week than ever before. People who have never even laced a pair of gloves or watched a boxing fight (apart from Mayweather vs Pacquaio maybe) are all fascinated and interested with the fight that’s about to happen. All giving their two cents on how the fight might go down.
A lot of the time I can see why they have those opinions on Mc Gregor winning by knockout because if I was never involved in boxing, didn’t watch the sport and had no interest in Mayweather before, I would probably think Mc Gregor is going to win also. It is very difficult to not be drawn in and not believe in what he is saying. His confidence and total commitment to his fight predictions can pull you away fom your objective mind set and take you into a world of talking subjective nonsense about how the fight might happen. Fortunately, I am not one of those people as although I am a huge Conor fan, I was a boxing and Mayweather fan well before this. There are certain things that go on in the ring that take years to develop at the highest level from thousands of hours of sparring world class opponents and being trained by the best trainers of all time. As we all have an opinion I am going to give my full fight breakdown of tactics below on the things Floyd in the ring that make him so hard to beat and educate the uneducated of boxing.
Opening of the fight
Some think the start of the fight is going to be Conor all guns blazing and wildly throwing punches. Others think he will bide his time in the first four rounds and wait for the perfect moment to land “that one punch” to end the fight. There are flaws to both these arguments which I will explain. In the past for example when Floyd fought Ricky Hatton and Maidana, they were known as what you would call pressure fighters. Their understanding of range was poor and counted on cutting range by rushing in and throwing combinations. Floyd has many ways of preventing this and the main way is called “Potshots”. As a fighter rushes in cutting range he is trying to get his combination off smoothly to land the 3rd, 4th or 5th punch. It is never the intended 1st or 2nd shot. Which is why Conor landing that one left hand with an intended 1-2 is ridiculous as he rarely has an output of 3 or 4 punches with no return. These combinations are thrown to make Floyd avoid the first two or three but putting himself out of position to be caught with the 3rd or 4th. Pot shots prevent these combinations being smooth because as the fighter is moving into range, Floyd will avoid the first shot by a millimetre whilst returning with on straight shot to disrupt your timing, whilst rolling under your follow up shots and tying you up. If you watch the first round of May vs Hatton I have linked you will see these numerous Potshots from Floyd and the tying Hatton up. For the pressuring fighter this is hugely tiring as you are essentially hitting air wasting energy and getting disheartened whilst Floyd is starting to ready your shots and pick up your timing.
If Conor decides to bide his time and counter Floyd this is also another thing that the uneducated don’t realise. Floyd will do what is called “feeling out” in the first couple rounds. If you are not trying to chase his he will stay out of range, and touch your gloves with a jab. This is not to hurt you but to make him look busy and to see your reactions to different feints and jabs he throws. Anytime a fighter in the instances will try cut range Floyd has already stepped out of range. With these Jabs he throws he is never in range as he is just touching your gloves. He is now starting to pick up a pattern that you return when he throws certain shots and how you try to cut range. This is shown in the first round of the Pacquaio fight I have linked too which may look like he is “afraid” or “running” but he is very much thinking in this moment on how he will push on in the fight. People may say, well Conor can pick up on his patterns, well no because this form of in depth thought process takes year to develop from boxing world class opposition. Not only that, Floyd doesn’t have on pattern or look. He will show you 10 different looks to disrupt your timing and prevent you reading what he is trying to do. For example, sometimes he is very cautious on the outside but the switches to the Philly shoulder roll, now you are trying to pick up this pattern. But all of a sudden he will hold his hands up and start walking you down for a few seconds. These different looks and tactics prevent you reading or getting and timing down.
May vs Hatton:
Pacquaio vs May:
Finding his range
With all the discussion of Conor might land this or this, there is one thing that the average doesn’t understand what high level boxers possess, and this is control of range. Your Rigondeauxs, Andre Wards, Tyson Furys, Terence Crawfords, are all seen as boring because they are experts at controlling range. They prevent you cutting range and it can make them look boring to the ignorant individual. But sometimes when you are so effective it can seem boring because people cannot understand what is going on at that moment. Conors lack of experience and understanding of range at the highest level is really going to show because he will not have the understanding to set traps to get into range effectively.
By 3rd or 4th round Mayweather will not have started to have his timing down. He can see the shots you throw at different times and knows what shots you will try to throw if he fakes or goes into certain positions. This is the brilliance of Floyd as he will touch you with shots when you are thinking or hesitating. Then when he wants to move into range he will wait for you to throw punch which he has already seen and make you miss by the smallest margin and return that with a 2 or 3 punch combination whilst positioning himself out of harm’s way during that combination and prepared to avoid your return to his shots. You can see this in the 7th round against Canelo which I have attached, Floyd starts to get his timing down and consistently starts to make you pay whilst you are constantly missing. The best boxers can make you miss just at the last second and make you pay, but amateur boxers over commit their defence. Conor as seen in his Van Heerdan sparring video attached, although can see some of his shots coming and rolls them, he rolls far too son which over commits his defence. When you then over commit your defence you may avoid the first shot but put yourself perfectly set up for the 2nd and 3rd shot that is following.
May vs Canelo:
Mc Gregor vs Van Heerdan:
A lot of people think Floyd is a runner, but those who aren’t fans don’t know that Floyd will actually walk you down in spots, he will cut the ring, and when you start to hesitate he will start to lead more. Floyd will try get you stopped and walk you down when he has lost all respect for you and has your timing down to a T. We have not seen this for years as he has fought bigger world class opponents. People whos class he had to respect and be careful with. But I think Conors flaws will start to show to a point where I think Floyd will walk him down, cut the ring off and come in a different angles without Conor be able to land punches on him to keep him off. Stopping has nothing to do with power and gloves, as people may think with Mayweathers hand problems. It’s to do with putting fighters in spots against the ropes where they simply cannot return punches. This is why I think Floyd will stop Mc Gregor.
Floyd may be 40 but with loss of speed and legs which I have already seen, comes experience and sharp decision making which I have also already seen. I really hope I am wrong and see a competitive fight. I am a massive Conor and Floyd fan, but watching the fight from an objective standpoint I cannot see it going any other way. The positive is though, there is really no loser in this money fight, as both walk away with a lot of money in their pockets.