Shh! Quit The Talk, It's Time To Speculate
A Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather discussion is a triumph of enthusiasm over experience. People don't know what they don't know, so the certainty with which they state their case is overstated. Just ask Matt Schaub, er, Brendan Schaub or Max Kellerman.
It's, McGregor is going to win because he has power to knock out anyone. Or, Mayweather will win because McGregor won't be able to touch him. Even, McGregor will win because Floyd won't have seen anything like McGregor before. Also, Mayweather will win because McGregor is a quitter.
Even if we looked at it on paper and blacked out the names like a confidential CIA document, it goes screwy. We have a 40-year-old versus a 29-year-old. We have a five-time world champion against a two-time world champion. We have a power throwing, southpaw, low-volume, counterpuncher versus an evasive, calculated, defensive stylist with tremendous punching repertoire. Oh, right, but they each fight in spaces of different size, shape, and perimeter type with different rules and judging criteria.
The simple X's and O's of this fight can be laid out in five minutes or less. We know everything we need to know about how Mayweather fights and what he likes to do. We know everything we need to know about how McGregor fights and what he likes to do. Any talk beyond that is speculative and reductive to the point of irrelevant.
When it comes to McGregor in a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather, we can't begin to reasonably analyze this fight without jumping both feet first, eyes to the sky, into speculative territory. We have no frame of reference for it. As crossover sport contests go, this isn't even as close as Donovan Bailey against Michael Johnson. This is Usain Bolt against Mo Farah at the Boston Marathon.
Perhaps it's just Occam's Razor, the simplest answer is often the right one. Isn't it more simple to realize that because Mayweather was born into, nurtured, educated, and came to change the boxing sphere it would suggest his 49-0 record (with wins over Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Oscar De La Hoya, and Shane Mosley) was earned through his total superiority at the form? That under the Queensbury rules of boxing in a ring size of Mayweather's choosing, Mayweather will have had years to be familiarize with the space, angles, and limits under which the fight will take place. That McGregor has spent likely one-third of all his training days in mixed martial arts focused on striking, which could be further divided in two when you consider kicks (and perhaps even further when you consider the variety of styles within the striking game form Muay Thai to Tae kwon doe). That McGregor has only once fought anyone in his respective sport with nearly the same level of skill as Mayweather, his defeat of Jose Aldo.
To some, though, the simplest answer would be that McGregor has called his shots before and been proven right time after time after time. That McGregor has wilted fighters who have never been knocked out and done it in 13 seconds. That he's done things differently, in ways completely foreign to MMA fighters, which means Mayweather won't be able to understand what he's doing. That McGregor was too big for 145 pound fighters and too skilled for 155 pound fighters, hence, he's won the belt in both divisions. That McGregor said he would box Floyd Mayweather some two years ago, no one believed he would, and here we are.
The arguments over how the fight plays out presuppose that all the factors are advantages and not simply details. Like learning a move in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, each step is crucial for the technique to be successful. Being strong helps. Being quick helps. Having good flexibility helps. But the details matter most and we know them all. Mayweather has 49 samples to look at, McGregor has 24. And yet we want to turn the details of this fight into spiderwebs, spindling out wider ensnaring rhyme, reason, and rationality.
Come Saturday, what will win the night? The energy of enthusiasm or the cooling of wisdom? When reality sets in, those who talk most go quiet quickest.
Rhys Dowbiggin @Rdowb
Rhys is the host of The Hurt Take on Not The Public Broadcaster