Alright, I confess…I’m getting curious about Mayweather vs. McGregor

By Gordon Marino on July 19, 2017
Alright, I confess…I’m getting curious about Mayweather vs. McGregor
Conor McGregor has looked like a rank amateur and a hittable one at that. (fincher7)

For the sake of boxing, I can only hope that the Irishman does not land that one in a million Sunday punch…

Though it used to be one of the most popular spectator sports in America, boxing has dropped off the back of the sports page. Nevertheless, there is a deafening buzz surrounding one boxing contest in the offing—the August 26th matchup of future Hall-of-Famer Floyd “Money” Mayweather and the charismatic Ultimate Fighting Champion, Conor McGregor.

Though boxing purists like myself might sneer at this showdown, financially speaking, McGregor vs Mayweather just might make for the biggest boxing bonanza of all time. But why? Mayweather is the sweetest sweet scientist of his era and McGregor has never seriously competed as a boxer. If the world of the ring made any sense, you would have to sigh that it is a marvel that the Nevada Commission licensed a bout between a boxer who is 49-0 and another making his debut.

Americans are hypnotized by fighting, by the question of “who can kick whose butt,” an expression, which of course, cries out for analysis and psychoanalysis. When I was a young man in the sixties and seventies, there was always a question amongst the male congregation as to which street fighting art was supreme, boxing or wrestling? The consensus was always—don’t mess with the boxer. It was for precisely that reason that I became a boxer.

Then mixed martial arts pushed through the swinging door and it soon became obvious that when it comes to taking difference out in the parking lot, the asphalt-hard truth is that the MMA fighter with a knowledge of jiu-jitsu destroys the pure boxer 8 or 9 out of 10 times. It might be adolescent to go down this alley of thought, but mano-a mano, all the grappler has to do is avoid a knockout punch, get at his opponents legs, and it is all over for the boxer. A number of cash strapped boxers, not the least of which was James Toney, have tried duking it out in the cage, only to be forced with embarrassing quickness to run up the white flag. At least in the US, this glaring fact became a liver shot to the mystique of boxing.  As a result, my college students can tick off the names of UFC stars but are oblivious as to the identity of all but one or two boxers.

Again, McGregor is a boxing tyro. His challenge should be an insulting head butt to boxing. How dare he imagine he can just bounce to the summit of the highest level of competition in a fighting art of which he has scant experience?

And yet last week, there was the madly grinning Gaelic gladiator on their worldwide publicity tour dissing Mayweather like no one has before, mocking him for skinny arms and legs, his clothes, his intelligence, his tax troubles, and promising to render the former welterweight champ unconscious within four rounds, all the while smilingly inviting Mayweather to come and try to take the mike from him. Say what you will about Floyd Mayweather, he is no dummy. He knows that if he were to try for the mike, to try and actually fight the man he is going to face in the boxing ring, his world would almost instantaneously become horizontal.

In theory, McGregor does not have a prayer against Mayweather. Though McGregor might be hard to time, he has looked like a rank amateur and a preeminently hittable one at that on YouTube videos that have surfaced. Then again, part of the recipe for success in fighting, be it with or without gloves, is being comfortable in violence. McGregor could eat popcorn and rumble at the same time. In addition to being a world-class athlete, this makes him a mite dangerous, even in boxing togs.

For the sake of boxing, I can only hope that the Irishman who will try to maul Mayweather Maidana style, does not land that one in a million Sunday punch. Stranger things have happened in a year in which we have seen the Cubs win a World Series and Donald Trump the presidency.

But you have to wonder, what a mind-wrench it is for Mayweather to know that he could not even think of actually fighting the man he is soon to be “sort of fighting.” And “sort of fighting” is how someone like McGregor thinks of what he will be doing in August with those 10 oz. pillows on his paws and the rules prohibiting him from using his feet. I have to wonder if when nose-to-nose with McGregor, Mayweather does not find himself consoling himself with images of the 100 million dollar payday and the assurance that his summer partner in violence will “just be boxing.”

A professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, Gordon Marino writes on boxing for the Wall Street Journal. He is on the board and works with boxers at the Circle of Discipline in Minneapolis, as well as at the Basement Gym in Northfield, MN. His The Quotable Kierkegaard was recently published by Princeton University Press. You can follow him on Twitter at @GordonMarino.

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Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor | Sat., Aug. 26 on SHOWTIME PPV



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  1. JJ Austin 07:42pm, 07/25/2017

    HAHA OK.. keep thinking mma is as skilled as Boxing,.. Or Kung Fu, Akido or any form of Karate. (I may have misspelled Tung Soo Do but it’s more advanced than judo or mma street fighting) . Mma fighters are Jacks of all trades and masters of none. For a guy claiming to be a boxing fan you sure don’t hesitate to kick our sport’s back in. In the gyms I’ve boxed and worked in from Baltimore to Philly we have each other’s backs and don’t shoot our own soldiers.. And far as the personal attacks you attacked me saying I don’t know shit about fighting remember tough guy?? Guess you can’t handle the counter punch huh?? But an mma punk wouldn’t be able to would he?? Enjoy your little sport. I’ll enjoy ours. THE SWEET SCIENCE

  2. Bond 03:13am, 07/25/2017

    Oh yeah, and there’s à bigger chance of seeing à monkey throwing à punch than setting up an armbar or triangle chose. Well, maybe a monkey could..but you couldn’t

  3. Bond 03:10am, 07/25/2017

    Wow. That came out of nowhere. Let me educate you. First off, loads of these mma fighters did in fact train for decades to achieve their level of skill and, sometimes,  their black belt in bjj. Look at Demian Maia for one. Anderson Silva. Diaz Brothers . List goes on. I do not defend or root for mma. I am a die hard boxing fan, but I also root for truth and intelligence.  And I will not find the truth in China, which has produced almost no successful fighters in boxing OR mma. As for the personal attacks , well as many boxing.com writers and commentators I have had my share of amateur fights and don’t remember getting knocked out by any twelve year olds. Anyway, have a nice day karate kid.


    Tung Su Do lol. Dung Su Do.

  4. JJ Austin 08:10pm, 07/24/2017

    No current pro mma fighter has worked hard for a decade to get a 1st degree blackbelt in Anything. And you know it. Go To Asia and ask kung Fu students or masters what kind of “belt” they have and they’ll tell you the kind that holds up their pants. “belt” systems are an American invention in the late 60’s to try and put levels on achievement. They mean Nothing to real martial artists. You’re the one who doesn’t know shit about fighting, idiot. You’re probably some young punk who thinks mma is a Real science like boxing and yet probably couldn’t take a jab from a 12 year old amateur boxer just starting out without getting knocked out cold. Stay out of boxing rooms if you don’t like our sport and go wrestle around on the ground with other guys thinking it’s an “art”. I can train a monkey to tackle someone and put a hold on them. Try training that same monkey to punch and not be punched back! That’s ART.

  5. Kid Blast 06:29pm, 07/23/2017

    Bond has the beat

  6. Bond 05:59pm, 07/23/2017

    Wow you look like you’re one of those guys who still think traditional martial arts are…well…martial arts. I thought you guys were extinct. You know when we say jiu jitsu we’re talking about the brazilian version riche? The one which requires you to work hard during a decade to get a 1st degree black belt ? You look like you don’t know shit about fighting. Tung Su Do? Is that like the official martial art for geeks and hipsters or are you a championship level troll?

  7. JJ Austin 03:49pm, 07/23/2017

    Gordon, mma is a lie in and of itself by title. Almost none of these guys know any of the high end True martial arts which are, in order -  Kung Fu, Akido, and all the forms of Karate with Tung Su Do being the best and hardest to master. They know only judo and Ju Jitsu, the simplest and easiest forms to master. Both of which can be completely learned in 6-9 months as opposed to 6-9 years of the top forms. Kung Fu taking longer. On a street fight it’s true that an mma fighter would have the advantage if they tackled or tripped the boxer forcing them to the ground, but that is much easier than it sounds. If the boxer lands any flush punch before that happens the mma fighter will most likely be knocked out cold as these guys don’t have chins to take a boxers punch much like any other non boxer. See Kimbo slice for reference. I think realistically the boxer wins about 5 out of 10 times in a street fight. Use this info against the mma crazed students. Hope it helps

  8. Koolz 03:22pm, 07/20/2017

    I will help you understand the fight.
    McGregor the chaser trying to land a punch
    Mayweather the backing up counter puncher can’t miss.
    Mayweather could lap around the ring throw out a jab that snaps McGregor’s face back all night.

    for 12 rounds!!!! At some point McGregor will run at Mayweather and try and land out of madness, hoping against hope that his left can land on anything but the arms, or gloves.

    for 12 rounds!!!

    McGregor Attacker
    Mayweather runner counter puncher

    man what a fun fight this is going to be. 

    and when it comes to combat your combat skills at Jistu aren’t going to help you when a Thai kick lands in your face.

    Fighting is distance.  The circle of threat is your longest reach to who you are fighting.  Legs being the longest.  Easier to reach a persons shins and knees with legs.  You could run at a person and take them down when you see an opening if you can get there. 

    lot of you are newbs

    UFC is still a sport.

  9. gordon marino 02:51pm, 07/20/2017

    Dennis, Well said and a good image Dennis (-:

  10. Dennis Taylor 02:07pm, 07/20/2017

    Move this fight to the parking lot, and McGregor would be my pick. But under Marques of Queensbury rules, he is about to see all of the things a bug sees just before the windshield arrives. 0-0 vs. 49-0 is not a fair fight. :) I’ll watch the Cotto fight, too.

  11. Gordon Marino 08:35am, 07/20/2017

    Kid, I always regarded the Rock’s record as one for the heavies, but I agree not an honest way to get to that 50-0 mark.

  12. Kid 08:26am, 07/20/2017

    I am a purist and I am outraged by this disgrace. What a way to break Marciano’s record. TRAGIC

    I’ll watch Cotto that night and save my money—or maybe try to find a real freak show like Trump/Hannity/Cruz/Mitch/Ryan, Sessions, Conway, Price, Spicer, and the rest of the American psychos. SAD

  13. gordon marino 05:30am, 07/20/2017

    Thanks Paul. This is the one time that I will be rooting for Floyd to give a boxing lesson. I am intrigued to see how McGregor goes about this one. I know there is mega $ for him but I have to hand it to McGregor for his willingness to put his huge ego on the line.

  14. Paul Magno 08:43pm, 07/19/2017

    Great stuff as usual, Gordon….this fight is interesting to me for a couple of reasons….some of which you touched upon here….The one thing that surprises me a bit about this is why the “purists” aren’t eager to see McGregor turned back and humiliated….it certainly would reinforce the very true idea that boxing is a craft that takes a lifetime to master…but I suspect that because Mayweather is involved, the “purists” are extra amped about being “up-in-arms”....And when it comes to combat, I’ve said for a very long time that there are only two real disciplines that matter in a real fight—boxing and jiu-jitsu…and that both are equally lethal when executed by a master….everything else is kid’s play….

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