On February 11, 1990 in Tokyo when an unknown boxer named James Douglas took on undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, “Buster” was about a +4500 underdog when he knocked out Tyson in likely the biggest upset in the sport’s history.
At one point, UFC superstar Conor McGregor was as high as a +950 underdog for his fight Saturday night in Las Vegas against unbeaten boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
However, heavy action on the Irishman now has his seen his odds dip to just +325. Yet this still would arguably be a bigger upset than Douglas over Tyson. After all, Douglas was a professional boxer with 29 wins in 35 decisions before taking on “Iron Mike.” McGregor is the UFC lightweight champion but has never fought professionally in a boxing ring.
Then you have the fact that Mayweather is looking to become the first boxer in history with a 50-0 record. “Money” is now priced at -450, whereas he was once as low as -2250.
Mayweather wins by his defensive genius – he avoids being hit. For example, in his previous “Fight of the Century” against Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather was hit on just 81 of Pacquiao’s 429 punches attempted, or 19 percent. On jabs, it was a scant 18 of 193 that connected (nine percent).
CompuBox has tracked Mayweather’s past 40 fights and the only one in which he was out-landed punch-wise was by Jose Luis Castillo in 2002 by a count of 203-157. Some ringside observers thought Mayweather lost that fight, but he was given a unanimous decision.
Another close call for Mayweather was in May 2007 in a split-decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya, who threw 587 punches to Mayweather’s 481. However, Mayweather landed 43 percent of his and De La Hoya 20.7. McGregor is given an over/under of 29.5 punches landed (a few other options, but 29.5 is the only one priced the same at over and under at -120) on the Mayweather vs. McGregor props board as many believe this fight could end early, and a percentage of 15 (under -135).
Opponents have a 19 connect percentage against Mayweather in his career. McGregor has landed 36 percent of boxing punches in 10 UFC fights.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission surprisingly granted both fighters’ request to change the glove size from 10 ounces to eight. The average Joe might believe this benefits McGregor’s chances of a knockout because he’s accustomed to four-ounce gloves in the UFC.
However, Mayweather has fought all but three times with eight-ounce gloves – Nevada regulations stipulate only matches above 147 pounds have 10-ounce gloves, but the NSAC granted an exception for this 154-pound fight.
Mayweather’s two-plus year layoff between fights is the longest of his career, and McGregor is taller, stronger, more than 11 years younger and has a two-inch reach advantage. But Mayweather had no trouble against fighters making their pro boxing debuts in two previous encounters.
Granted, both happened more than 20 years ago, but Mayweather won each by second-round TKO. The favored betting result here is Mayweather by KO, TKO or DQ at -125.