FILE PHOTO: Aug 20, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) reacts to fight with Nate Diaz (red gloves) during UFC 202 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters
Mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor has never boxed as either a professional or amateur, but sparring partner Artem Lobov says the Irishman will blast the undefeated Floyd Mayweather when the two meet in Las Vegas on Aug. 26.
The much-heralded boxing match pitting Mayweather, a 49-0 machine and one of the greatest boxers of all time, against McGregor, the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight world champion, was finally officially announced on Wednesday.
Bookmakers immediately installed Mayweather as the hot favorite for the 12-round, super-welterweight bout. But Lobov says the 28-year-old McGregor is ready to write combat sports history by pulling off a shock win.
“Just look at all the stats – Floyd hasn’t faced anyone significant for a few years now,” Lobov told Reuters in an exclusive telephone interview.
“When he fought Manny Pacquaio it was five years after Manny’s prime, he was on the way out basically. Conor is bigger, stronger, younger, and has a longer reach.”
Lobov said that McGregor’s broader fighting skill set would give him a big advantage over the 42-year-old Mayweather, who is renowned as a brilliant defensive boxer.
“If you look at Mayweather’s fights he often likes to get into the clinch, but what is a boxer in a clinch against a wrestler, an MMA fighter? Boxers are absolute novices in the clinch,” Lobov said.
“Get a boxer and get him wrestling for a minute or two – the arms get so heavy, filled with blood, they can’t even hold them up any more, they can’t box.”
Known as “The Russian Hammer”, the 30-year-old Lobov has trained and sparred with McGregor ever since the Dubliner started to ascend the mixed martial arts ladder.
Famed for his granite chin and ability to keep coming forward, he has sparred countless rounds with the brash McGregor, who went on to become UFC champion at both featherweight and lightweight and is as well known for his trash talk as for his fighting skills.
“He has incredible power, a power that nobody else has. I’ve never seen anyone hit that hard,” Lobov said.
“You won’t see many other training partners around – only a Russian Irishman can take those bombs. That’s why I’m there, from the start until the end.”
McGregor’s stamina has previously been questioned, but a five-round war of attrition last August in a welterweight rematch against Nate Diaz – the only UFC fighter to defeat him – showed that he can go the distance.
“There’s a reason why MMA is only three five-minute rounds, or five fives when it’s a title fight,” Lobov explained.
“MMA is so much more demanding on the body – the wrestling, the changing levels, all that takes a lot out of you. Boxing is a breeze for us after MMA.”
Lobov says he understands why Mayweather, who held world championships in multiple weight classes before retiring in September 2015, wants to take on what could be a risky fight.
“You have to give Floyd respect – he loves to compete, he sees this young lion coming up, everyone is talking about Conor and saying he’s potentially a man that could beat Floyd, also wants to prove the world wrong.
“That is what makes this fight so interesting – Floyd is undefeated, Conor is young, he’s the best MMA fighter ever. That’s what makes it a great fight.”
Having witnessed McGregor’s power first hand, Lobov is in no doubt that Mayweather’s proud undefeated record is about to come to an abrupt end at the MGM Garden on Aug. 26.
“When Conor connects, people fall and they don’t wake up. That’s why I believe Conor will stop him within six rounds.”
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor in Stockholm; editing by Mark Heinrich)
Mayweather silences McGregor with 10th round stoppage
August 26, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. lands a hit against Conor McGregor during a boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. (Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – A ruthless Floyd Mayweather scored a 10th round technical knockout over mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor on Saturday, the American cementing his legacy as an all-time boxing great with his 50th win in as many fights.
Mayweather, who had guaranteed an early finish to the 12 round contest, made good on his promise when he pinned a brave-but-limited McGregor on the ropes and mercilessly hammered the Irishman before referee Robert Byrd stepped in to halt the bout.
The fight, which Mayweather insisted would be his last, sends the 40-year-old into his second retirement with a unblemished 50-0 record to surpass heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 mark for most wins without a loss or draw.
”This was my last fight tonight. For sure,“ Mayweather declared in the ring. ”Tonight was my last fight. Tonight I chose the right dance partner to dance with.
”Conor you are a hell of a champion.
“A win is a win, no matter how you get it. Rocky Marciano is a legend and I look forward to going into the Hall of Fame one day.”
Whether the fight will be the richest of all-time as promoters had predicted will be decided later when pay-per-view numbers come in, but it certainly will not be included on any list of the great bouts in boxing.
On paper it would be hard to find a bigger mismatch, but it did not prevent millions around the globe from reaching for their wallets to purchase a pay-per-view package or the 14,623 spectators at T-Mobile Arena to part with big money for tickets.
In the end, the fight proved to be the one-sided contest many had predicted as Mayweather shook off the rust of two years of inactivity against an outclassed double UFC champion making his professional boxing debut.
For months, the charismatic McGregor had boasted he would knock out Mayweather and his legions of loyal fans believed every word of a man capable of backing his supreme self-confidence with devastating power inside the octagon.
However, McGregor’s lack of ring savvy quickly exposed him as Mayweather clinically dissected the 29-year-old, who was soon reverting to his mixed martial arts roots — clutching, grabbing and hitting his opponent repeatedly on the back of the head.
McGregor did come out full of fury and menace but Mayweather, long regarded as one of the finest defensive fighters in history, left few openings as he used the first three rounds to feel out his opponent.
Once he had studied McGregor’s technique, Mayweather took complete control of the contest by the fourth round and started to land blow after blow on his easy target as the Irishman bravely battled on.
The American’s domination was complete by the 10th round as he moved in for the kill to record his first early finish since he stopped Victor Ortiz in controversial fashion almost six years ago.
“I thought it was close,” a defiant McGregor argued. “I thought I had him in the early rounds. I thought he was getting me in the middle toward the end.
“But where was the final two rounds? Let me wobble back to me corner. Let me try and recompose myself. You’ve got to put me out.
“I thought it was a little early of a stoppage. I get like that when I am tired. I get a little wobbly and flowy. But you got to give it to him, that’s what 50 pro fights will give you.”
Reporting by Steve Keating; Editing by John O’Brien
Boxing: Mayweather, UFC star McGregor agree to August fight
FILE IMAGES: (L-R) Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor (REUTERS)
Undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor, two of the most popular athletes in their respective sports, have agreed to a crossover fight in the ring on August 26 in Las Vegas, Mayweather said in a tweet on Wednesday.
The fight is expected to gross millions of dollars with Mayweather a solid favorite.
Mayweather, 40, retired in 2015 with an unblemished 49-0 professional boxing record while boastful Irishman McGregor, 28, is the UFC’s lightweight champion.
“IT’S OFFICIAL!!!” Mayweather wrote on his Twitter account alongside a short video that included still photos of both fighters.
“THE FIGHT IS ON,” McGregor tweeted minutes before Mayweather’s post.
The two fighters have gone back and forth for nearly a year regarding a potential showdown with both men previously stating they each wanted $100 million for the fight.
UFC president Dana White told ESPN that the fight will take place at the T-Mobile Arena and that McGregor will weigh in at 154 pounds.
Mayweather Promotions will publicize the event, which will be available on Showtime pay-per-view.
“I talked to Conor McGregor this morning,” White said. “He is absolutely, 100 percent positive that he wins this fight.”
If McGregor pulls that off, it would rank among the greatest boxing upsets of all time.
Mayweather is widely regarded as one of the best defensive fighters ever, and prides himself on his ability to evade punishment with his skillful movement about the ring while making adjustments against opponents on the fly.
McGregor, the UFC’s reigning lightweight champion and former featherweight champion, is known as much for his bravado as for his explosive knockout power inside an MMA octagon.
The Irishman became the first UFC fighter to hold two belts simultaneously when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez in New York last November for the lightweight championship.
The UFC stripped McGregor of his featherweight belt shortly after that fight when he announced he would be taking some time off after he and long-time partner Dee Devlin had their first baby in May.
Known for his devastating striking and highlight-reel knockouts, McGregor is also quick and irrational on his feet, but few would back him to beat one of the most complete boxers of all time.
A win for Mayweather would move him ahead of former heavyweight great Rocky Marciano, who also retired with a perfect 49-0 career record. — By Rory Carroll
(Additional reporting by Frank Pingue and Philip O’Connor, editing by Gene Cherry)
Boxing: McGregor signs deal for Mayweather fight
Nov 12, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Conor McGregor (blue gloves) celebrates after defeating Eddie Alvarez (red gloves) in their lightweight title bout during UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
The long-rumored bout between undefeated American boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor is halfway to becoming a reality after the Irish signed a deal for the fight, it was announced on Wednesday night.
UFC President Dana White broke the news during a television interview for TNT following the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
“The McGregor side is done, I’m starting to work on the Mayweather side now,” White said. “I’ve got one side done. If we can come to a deal (with Mayweather) the fight will happen.” McGregor confirmed the deal in a statement released to Themaclife.com. “The first, and most important part of this historic contract has now officially been signed off on. Congratulations to all parties involved. We now await Al Haymon and his boxer’s signature in the coming days,” the statement read. Terms of the deal were not announced.
McGregor, 28, is the biggest pay-per-view draw in UFC’s mixed martial arts while the 40-year-old Mayweather retired in 2015 with a 49-0 record. The two sides have been exchanging verbal spats and challenges for several months.
The proposed bout would be straight boxing match.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)