On August 26, Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will square off as the best boxer of the generation will face the current marquee name in MMA. The fight will be held over 12 rounds in Las Vegas with the contest made at 154lbs. What can bettors expect? Read on for a boxing expert’s view of the Mayweather vs. McGregor betting.
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Live Mayweather vs. McGregor odds
What are the rules?
The fight will be held under boxing rules, presenting a colossal test for McGregor as he will encounter arguably the finest pure boxer in the history of boxing. Adding to the Irishman’s task, 8-ounce boxing gloves will be used instead of the smaller UFC gloves - no leg kicks or takedowns that are used in mixed martial arts will be allowed.
Even if you know how to bet on boxing and how to bet on MMA, this fight is one that is hard to analyse. Boxing purists believe McGregor doesn’t have a chance, while some UFC fans think he only needs one punch to cause an upset. Below, we look at the fight in detail and see if there is value in the Mayweather vs. McGregor betting.
The differences between boxing and MMA
Unsurprisingly the undefeated, multiple world title-winning professional boxer Floyd Mayweather is the heavy favourite in the Mayweather vs. McGregor betting. The question bettors have to answer is; can an elite MMA fighter be competitive against a top-level boxer on his terms?
When analysing the Mayweather vs. McGregor odds, bettors should consider these factors - MMA gloves are considerably lighter, 5 oz (MMA gloves) to 8-10 oz (boxing gloves), so hand strikes will be noticeably slower in boxing. Additionally, MMA fighters have to be wary of takedowns in the octagon, meaning they have to transport punches from a much more wide-ranging position.
It is quickly apparent when coming face to face at the London leg of the world media tour the difference in natural size between the pair.
It is almost impossible for an MMA fighter to get away with certain moves that they attempt in MMA. In boxing - for example - if an MMA fighter attacks from far out (which they often do when striking) a skilful boxer would straightforwardly time this and cause maximum damage - and no boxer is more skillful at this than Mayweather.
When looking at fighting stance, a boxer will fight much closer than a UFC fighter would, whilst an MMA fighter has to continually consider the impact of getting grabbed - leg kicks will still be in reach when further out.
They unquestionably carry power, but in UFC fighters rarely throw combinations. The likelihood is, if you're a pure boxer (as Mayweather is) you wouldn’t last long inside the octagon - but vice versa with an MMA fighter in a boxing ring.
Can Conor McGregor actually box?
McGregor did win amateur boxing titles as an adolescent in Ireland under the tutelage of Phil Sutcliffe Snr at the Crumlin Boxing Club. He first ventured into combat as a 12-year-old and was widely regarded as the hardest worker by the club owner, but left at 17 upon starting to show potential.
McGregor can fight and he has good hands. In relation to boxing it would be difficult to see him being competitive, even well below the elite level Mayweather has dominated for so long. The idea of selling the fight is that MMA is a realistic analogue for boxing, and one clean punch from McGregor will reduce Mayweather to the canvas – this simply is not the case.
A master tactician, Mayweather has an uncanny natural ability to be able to read and work out an opponent’s style very early on in fights.
A five-division world champion, Mayweather has had his chin checked on several occasions throughout his boxing career by big punchers without ever looking in any kind of serious trouble (Shane Mosley aside).
To go up against the finest defensive boxer in the world is a very problematic task for even an elite boxer - McGregor is a novice boxer. Mayweather’s defence is supreme. The Grand Rapids, Michigan fighter has fought and easily beat the finest fighters on the planet without anybody being able to solve the puzzle.
Mayweather vs. McGregor betting: Strengths vs. Weaknesses
Mayweather has mastered the expertise of boxing better than anyone, fighters who should be able to compete with the fifteen-time world champion have not.
A master tactician, the self-proclaimed ‘TBE’ (The Best Ever) has an uncanny natural ability to be able to read and work out an opponent’s style very early on in fights – inevitably allowing him to breeze through 12 rounds even at the highest level of the sport.
If McGregor is to analyse any past Mayweather performances in pursuit of victory, the three fights he should scrutinize are the first fight with Jose Luis Castillo, the clash with Zab Judah in 2006 and the more recent encounter with Marcos Maidana - all three fights have shown how Mayweather can potentially be beaten.
Chris van Heerden believes McGregor will be outclassed by Mayweather, with the referee eventually having to step in and stop the fight.
Analysing McGregor’s strengths and weaknesses as a boxer is tough, simply because he has never boxed professionally. The Irishman has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the highest level in MMA and now wants to enhance his profile by taking on boxing’s biggest name – a decision that boxing aside ticks all the boxes.
So, what do we know? Well, McGregor primarily fights from a southpaw stance while fighting and often switch-hits in an almost spider like style. Don’t expect this style to change. He’s stand up, elusive, and possesses great timing in smaller gloves, but how he’s able to read Mayweather in 10-ounce boxing gloves remains to be seen.
The Irishman does hold a size advantage over Mayweather, who is recorded at 5′ 8″ while McGregor is listed at 5′ 9″ - meaning McGregor will have a slender height advantage.
It is also quickly apparent when coming face to face at the London leg of the world media tour the difference in natural size between the pair - see the photo below.*
Focus on the certainties, not the distractions
The behaviours of boxers and their desire to please the crowd has continually been a part boxing. However, it is vital that you analyse the Mayweather vs. McGregor odds based on the facts and not the event itself.
McGregor primarily fights from a southpaw stance while fighting and often switch-hits in an almost spider like style. Don’t expect this style to change.
Like other sports, take into consideration the facts of the event and don’t be swayed by the hysteria and hype. Fighters such as McGregor have unprecedented confidence in their own ability regardless of the event; so don’t get sidetracked by self-opinion or what his masses of fans think of him.
The media tour has been fun and may yet represent the summit of the event but bettors should remember none of this will be relevant when the pair finally meet in Las Vegas.
Odds comparison – Why are the odds not wider?
Allowing for the fact McGregor has never laced up a pair of professional boxing gloves, the Mayweather vs. McGregor betting in comparison makes for some insightful analysis. The odds reveal that ex-world champion boxers such as Miguel Cotto, Andre Berto and Marcos Maidana have been less favoured than McGregor when facing Mayweather – which in reality is crazy.
Mayweather, at 40, is still good enough to beat the majority of boxers on the current world scene, let alone a mixed martial artist. It appears the idea of a weakening Mayweather with his previous excellence and faultlessness on the decline is a concept the public can back and believe in the build-up to this fight.
When Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez tackled Mayweather back in 2013, the contest was hawked as a young Mexican prodigy on a 43-fight unbeaten run with size and potential on his side. Move on to 2017, and McGregor, a fighter 0-0 in boxing is considered a hazard and potential menace to Mayweather in a boxing ring.
A two-inch reach advantage and a one-inch benefit in height assemble a rational reason for the McGregor edge – also taking into account the statistic that the only time he has been overcome is when strangled and never on his feet.
What can bettors learn from Chris van Heerden?
Chris van Heerden is a welterweight boxing contender who is one of few fighters to have shared rounds with Conor McGregor in a boxing ring. The most notable name on his resume is an eighth round loss to Errol Spence Jr - the IBF welterweight champion.
Van Heerden believes ‘The Notorious’ will be outclassed by Mayweather, with the referee eventually having to step in and stop the fight. The first boxer to train with McGregor believes only the luckiest of punches will be enough to give McGregor a chance against the unbeaten Mayweather.
What can bettors expect?
The contest is as much a mismatch as any you'll witness, the promotion and hype will be great for fans but before betting on Mayweather vs. Mcgregor, read about how important knowledge of pre-fight preparations is in a boxing betting strategy.
When looking at fighting stance, a boxer will fight much closer than a UFC fighter would, whilst an MMA fighter has to continually consider the impact of getting grabbed.
Don’t be entirely surprised if McGregor has some form of early success through sheer adrenaline and the magnitude of the event - but it will quickly become apparent who is a professional boxer and who is not.
When analysing the Mayweather vs. McGregor odds you should make sure you separate the signal from noise. Human nature is a pushover for a story, so try to avoid consuming news or information that reflects fans’ opinions.
Mayweather is more than capable of stopping someone who is a novice boxer – and McGregor is a novice boxer. But even by being dominated in the fight, McGregor can win the event.
Want to know what an MMA expert thinks? Read Mayweather vs. McGregor betting: An MMA expert's view.
*Photo credit to Chris McCarthy (@ChrisMcCarthy)