As a website that covers both boxing and mixed martial arts, the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor clash is an interesting, if odd, occurrence. Here's our take.
First, let's realize that anything can happen in sports. When the Jets took on the Colts in Super Bowl III, the Jets were an 18-point underdog, the equivalent of around 20-1 underdogs. According to the latest odds, McGregor is only a 3-1 underdog. So just from Vegas, we would have to consider a much bigger upset to have happened, famously guaranteed by Joe Namath.
But the odds don't reflect reality. McGregor's fans are loading up on him as usual, distorting the line. The real odds should probably match those before Super Bowl III, because that's about the chance McGregor really has to beat Mayweather. About 20-1, with that one riding on a big, lucky punch. That's what McGregor needs to do to win—get in a big, lucky punch. Either that or win a DQ decision if Mayweather breaks a hand.
Realistically, if McGregor is going to win, he's going to have to win early. As seen in both fights with Nate Diaz, McGregor has about 8 minutes in him. Then he fades, fast and hard. Three minutes into the 2nd round of both fights he hit a wall. It didn't matter against Jose Aldo; he beat him in 13 seconds). And Eddie Alvarez was already in too big of trouble by the 8-minute mark and lost 4 minutes into round 2. That means McGregor has to do all his damage in 3 boxing rounds.
We don't see Mayweather knocking out McGregor. He's not a power puncher. There won't be any knockouts, or probably even knockdowns in this fight.
With all that in mind, here's how we see the fight most likely going:
Round One: Who knows how McGregor will come out? Probably not roaring and reckless, but acting like he belongs there. Mayweather will be similarly cautious. We're guessing there won't be any real fireworks early; both fighters know that they have to give the fans their money's worth, and that the fight buildup includes the first round. Call it a draw 10-10.
Round Two: McGregor knows he has to strike early, and round two is his moment. If he catches Floyd it will be in this round, after Floyd starts to get less cautious. Gaining confidence just from being in the ring, McGregor will rush Floyd and try to pressure him. Floyd will be on defense to weather the storm. 10-9 McGregor.
Round Three: McGregor's momentum continues for the first two minutes of the round, but then he hits the wall and runs out of gas. Floyd comes out of his defensive shell in the last minute of the round. Is it enough to win the round? Probably. Mayweather 10-9. As of this point, the fight is approximately a draw, with many different ways it could be scored.
Round Four: Mayweather starts to pick McGregor apart, methodically. Now McGregor is backing up and avoiding contact, but throws the occasional big shot in hope of landing something. This keeps Mayweather honest but the outcome is a clear 10-9 Mayweather round.
Round Five, Six: See round four above.
Round Seven: Things are looking very dire for McGregor by now, and after three rounds of being hit constantly, he is just holding on. Round Seven is where it starts to get embarrassing. No knockdown so it's still 10-9 Floyd, but in MMA rules this would be a 10-8 round.
Round Eight, Nine: Same as Round Seven above. The referee might be talking to Conor's corner at some point here, but they won't be throwing in the towel.
Round Ten: McGregor will not answer the bell for round ten.
That's how we see it. Three interesting rounds, three not-so-interesting rounds where Mayweather puts on a clinic against a tired McGregor, and three sad rounds that make people question whether this fight should have been made just for the sake of money.
It could go differently. No one thought the Jets could compete at all with the Colts, but they dominated, 16-7. Tellingly, they won with defense. It's very unlikely McGregor can do the same. But in huge upsets, the method is rarely foreseen as a possibility before it actually happens.
It's a weird experiment that we'll be watching tonight.