Boxing is arguably the easiest martial art to pick up, but the toughest to master. Over the past two decades, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has paved the way for pugilists. Not only has Mayweather dominated the sport, he has also acted as the blueprint for budding fighters who want to make money.
UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor is one fighter who has followed in Mayweather’s footsteps. Since debuting with the UFC four years ago, McGregor has been outspoken in criticism of his adversaries. He has also been vocal about pursuing his goal to be the biggest Pay-Per-View star in the world. As McGregor’s relationship with the UFC reaches an impasse, the media has touted a boxing match between McGregor and Mayweather. But as far as I’m concerned, this is a terrible idea.
I firmly believe that McGregor will leave the UFC within the next two years and will more than likely move over to the ring, but a debut against Mayweather would be extremely shortsighted. While it’s hard to dispute that McGregor versus Mayweather will make an exorbitant amount of money, the fight would be embarrassing.
Floyd Mayweather is an artist, and McGregor’s face would act as his canvas for 12 rounds. Mayweather has beaten the best of the best for years in boxing, whereas McGregor hasn’t boxed solely since he was a schoolboy. Many will be keen to point out that McGregor has a puncher’s chance, but with boxing gloves on, his power will be far less noticeable. While McGregor is adept to pressure from his experience fighting in the UFC, Mayweather’s movement and defense make him an impossible target for the Irishman. If McGregor genuinely wants to box, there are a number of fights that make more sense and would be infinitely more exciting to watch.
Since placing at the Athens Olympics in 2004 as a teen, Khan has been a household name in the UK. Khan’s media profile would make a stadium show in either London or Dublin’s Croke Park a possibility. Khan is actively involved with the MMA promotion Super Fight League (SFL), so he’ll be well aware of McGregor and will be able to go back-and-forth in the trash talking stakes with the Irishman.
For Conor McGregor, Amir Khan provides a winnable fight with a former world champion. While Khan is phenomenally talented, he has shown that he is very hittable, which gives McGregor ample opportunity to land his ferocious left hand. Given Khan’s history of brutal knockout losses, McGregor has the chance to put the former champion to sleep.
McGregor is the scariest puncher in MMA. His power is truly devastating. But there is one boxer who rivals and perhaps overtakes him in the power stakes. Canelo Álvarez has earned 34 of his 48 victories by knockout and has only ever been defeated by Floyd Mayweather. Canelo is possibly the best boxer in the world right now and in a meritocracy, this fight would never happen. But as a fan of fighting, this one really excites me.
Álvarez is a bonafide star in the Latin American world and McGregor is the most popular fighter in Europe. A fight between the pair would be guaranteed excitement. Álvarez would play into McGregor’s strengths, but his power and ability would likely lead to McGregor’s first knockout loss. Regardless of the outcome, this fight would be fireworks.
Chris Eubank Jr.
While Eubank Jr. Isn’t the biggest star on the planet right now, if McGregor could arrange a co-promotion deal with Eubank’s team, he would likely be able to negotiate a high pay-per-view percentage. This fight would act as a chance for McGregor to spread his promotional wings and would be huge for the UK and Ireland’s fighting fans.
Eubank Jr. is much bigger than McGregor and extremely talented, but he isn’t at the technical level of Mayweather, Álvarez, or Khan. While McGregor would face an uphill battle, this fight is perhaps the most winnable of the aforementioned fights. And if McGregor does retire from MMA to compete in boxing, this would be a good first fight.
Whether McGregor decides to remain in the UFC or not, he continues to be one of the most interesting athletes on the planet. Moreover, his ability to make money is truly outstanding. While a money fight with Mayweather is tempting for him, it would derail his boxing venture before it even starts. If McGregor is serious about boxing, he should look to take things a little slower.