When Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather meet in one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year, oddsmakers peg the 29-year-old Irishman as a +300 underdog.
The experts and fellow professional fighters, however, seem to consider “Notorious” a much steeper longshot.
Even UFC fighters, who would seemingly be backing McGregor in this clash of combat sports, mostly have a difficult time seeing anything but a Mayweather victory at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night.
“There is no comparison. It is not similar. Totally different,” said Jose Aldo, who was KO’d by McGregor in 13 seconds in December of 2015, about the lack of similarities between MMA and boxing. “There is no way McGregor can defeat Mayweather. Mayweather has done this his entire life and it’s a different sport.”
Randy Couture, a former UFC Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight champ, isn’t giving McGregor much more of a chance:
I think [McGregor] has a 1-in-10 chance to win. I think we’re dealing with arguably the best defensive boxer in 20 years that top boxers on the planet haven’t been able to touch him. What makes anybody think that Conor McGregor, who’s 0-0 in professional boxing, is going to go out there and touch Mayweather, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think Conor’s going to try to be aggressive and bring the fight. He’s the longer, younger fighter, and I think the more he comes at Mayweather, the more he’s going to get hit.
Most former and active professional boxers are even more confident of a Mayweather victory:
Mike Tyson: Conor’s not skilled enough to box with Floyd.”
James Toney: “Conor McGregor will make more money than he’s ever made, but he’s not a fighter in this game. He has no chance. McGregor’s a UFC fighter. He doesn’t know how to punch. He’s going to swing for the fences, get counter-punched and Floyd’s knocking him out in two to three rounds.”
Shane Mosley: “MMA and boxing is like a sprinter running against a long-distance runner in their fields, it just doesn’t work. Strategically, I see Mayweather having a great time in there, smiling and laughing while McGregor is trying to hit him and find him. I see McGregor noticing how hard Mayweather hits, thinking that he doesn’t hit that hard. When he gets hit by Mayweather, he’s going to be like, ‘Oh wow, this is different from UFC punches.’ I think Floyd, if he wants to, can knock him out by the fourth or fifth round. I think that he’ll give the fans a show.”
Vasyl Lomachenko: “Nobody wins with Mayweather. I think his defense is the best, but I think it’s just defense, not boxing skills. Not combination, he has speed and power, but a lot of people know about the problem with his hands.”
It’s not just athletes, either. Most writers are expressing similar opinions. Here’s a sample, from Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter:
Anyone who says anything other than Floyd Mayweather here is either a) really hoping that underdog betting slip cashes or b) part of Conor McGregor’s immediate family or training camp. Because, look, anything can happen in a fist fight, blah blah blah. But this is perhaps the greatest defensive boxer of all time—someone who is basically unhittable even by top-tier boxers—and he is facing a person literally making their boxing debut. Not just his pro debut. His debut, period. Unless Mayweather spaces mentally and gets caught (he won’t), this is a cakewalk. Mayweather by TKO, likely by Round 7.
Of course, there are some people on Conor McGregor’s side. Like Conor McGregor:
And Dana White:
And then there’s former heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury, who hasn’t fought since defeating Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 and is apparently looking for some attention.
“I think McGregor will do him inside one round,” Fury said in June. “I think Conor McGregor will knock him out in the first 35 seconds, much like he did to Jose Aldo, to be honest.”
But ultimately, the vast majority of experts, former and current fighters and anyone who is being serious with themselves are, unsurprisingly, on the side of Mayweather.
As McGregor says, “they say I’ve got no chance. But they say that every fight.” But he has never been anywhere close to an underdog to this degree.