CLEVELAND -- The boxing and mixed martial arts worlds collide tonight when combat sports champions Conor McGregor and Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. step inside the squared-circle for a scheduled 12-round bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It is a unique bout in many ways, most notably because McGregor has never boxed professionally, while Mayweather is an undefeated former five-division champion, but none the less, the two combatants will get to prove which sport has the better strikers.
Here are three reasons why McGregor could win the crossover bout.
With the win over Eddie Alvarez in the UFC’s New York City debut last November, McGregor successfully fought in three weight classes over an 11-month period, posting a 3-1 record in four bouts between featherweight (145 pounds), welterweight (170) and lightweight (155).
Although McGregor has never boxed professionally, he is 21-3 in his professional MMA career, and has won nine of his 10 bouts in the UFC.
Of his 18 wins by knockout or technical knockout, 16 have come via punches, while Mayweather has not finished a fight since a fourth-round KO of Victor Ortiz on September 17, 2011. Mayweather’s last seven wins have come either by majority (two) or unanimous (five) decision.
BIG SPOTLIGHT NO BIG DEAL
Because of his braggadocio, McGregor is used to media attention and the spotlight and support of fans. And regardless of the location of his fights, McGregor is often the fan favorite because of a strong Irish contingent travelling to see the native of Crumlin, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland.
As such, McGregor is used to the big stage, and a super-fight against Mayweather will not throw him off his game. He has headlined multiple UFC pay-per-view events, including the organization’s New York City debut at Madison Square Garden last November.
Each of McGregor’s last four fights have sold over 1.2 million pay-per-view buys, and those events were viewed by the same or more people than most of Mayweather's recent fights, with the lone exception being the Pacquiao contest.
Additionally, McGregor has won eight straight post-fight bonuses for Performance of the Night (six) or Fight of the Night (twice).
DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE
For his entire career, McGregor has faced questions about his skills and durability, but in nearly every instance, he has risen above the doubters to become the preeminent practitioner of MMA and a history-making fighter at that.
Courtesy of a knockout of Alvarez in the main event of UFC 205 in New York City, the 5-foot-9, 155-pound McGregor added the UFC lightweight championship to his resume, and became the first simultaneous two-division champion in UFC history.
The win over Alvarez goes along with the featherweight title McGregor won in December of 2015 in a 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo. Considered unbeatable at one point in time, Aldo entered the McGregor fight on an 18-bout win streak over a 10-year period.
Not one to waste opportunities, McGregor could become the first professional boxer to put a loss on Mayweather’s record. Mayweather last lost a fight as an amateur at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
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