Pundits, analysts, and fight connoisseurs around the world collectively give Conor McGregor a zero percent chance of beating Floyd Mayweather this Saturday night in Las Vegas. Even though McGregor is the current UFC lightweight world champion, a former UFC featherweight world champion, and the first UFC fighter to hold world championship belts in two different weight classes at the same time, everyone still says a victory over Mayweather, the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, is impossible.
Insert eye roll emoji here. Can’t we have any fun anymore?
Impossible? C’mon, nothing is impossible. Especially in the fight game, within which many of these same pundits, analysts, and fight connoisseurs collectively concluded that McGregor vs. Mayweather happening at all would be impossible. This fight has laughed long and hard in the face of logic since its infancy many months ago in the back of Conor McGregor’s creative mind. Logic tells you that this fight should never have come close to becoming a reality. Yet, here we are, just a day away from it coming to fruition. Logic also tells you that Floyd Mayweather is 49-0. He is the best boxer of his generation and one that has habitually only taken fights that he absolutely, 100 percent knows he can win. Mayweather is the best defensive fighter of all time and shockingly patient when it comes to waiting out his opponents, frustrating them, and capitalizing on that frustration with stiff and strong shots to the head and body. He’s the quicker, smarter, and more experienced boxer who should lay a beating of epic proportions on UFC’s golden boy in a boxing match. That’s the probable outcome and it would be silly to logically argue against it. The fun though is in the illogical. The fun is in the impossible. The drama surrounding Saturday night is in the “what if.” What if Conor McGregor wins? Inside that question lies the intrigue and enjoyment that Saturday night should bring to fight fans all around the world. Embrace it.
Conor McGregor can win this fight. He’s going to be in the ring with boxing gloves on isn’t he? First off, Floyd Mayweather is 40 years old. Second, boxing is McGregor’s primary form of offense when fighting in the octagon. Throughout his career he’s proven that when he hits you he hits you hard and knocks you out. Sure, he utilizes kicks and other striking techniques to set his opponents up, but make no mistake boxing is McGregor’s bread and butter. To win, McGregor needs to find the happy medium of pressing Mayweather to score the knockout while simultaneously using his length and size advantage to keep a safe distance and avoid Mayweather’s pesky but powerful punches. It’s not an easy strategy but a necessary one. A McGregor victory won’t come on the scorecards but in Mayweather looking up at the lights inside the T-Mobile Arena. Finally, McGregor is playing an incredibly intricate chess game inside Floyd Mayweather’s head. On their four city promotional circus tour for this fight, McGregor used his mental warfare and clearly rattled Mayweather. Typically, it’s Mayweather who leads and wins the mental warfare before a fight. This time, McGregor beat him at his own game. Checkmate? Round one certainly goes to Conor McGregor.
Throughout his entire training camp, McGregor has maintained a level of pristine confidence even in the face of tremendous adversity. He doesn’t appear to be a man going through the motions, like I feel Floyd Mayweather is. He genuinely and without hesitation believes he will handily win this fight and knock Mayweather out inside of four rounds, that type of confidence is hard to ignore and even harder to openly defy. The narrative is fun to follow and easy to buy into. It taps into a simple human emotion in that seeing someone succeed and achieve the impossible is enjoyable. We all may get to experience that feeling come Saturday night.
Many of the great sports moments in our history tap into that emotion. Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson after landing the seemingly impossible knockout punch. The New York Giants upsetting the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 42, ending their perfect season after a miracle catch on the head of David Tyree. The New York Jets beating the Colts in Super Bowl 3 after Joe Namath rebelliously predicted the unthinkable. The 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that consisted of nobodies brushing off doubters and winning the unwinnable game against the Soviet Union powerhouse. Each of those moments prey on the emotion of seeing the impossible and we all remember the fun that was had within them. We remember where we were when they happened, who we were with, and what the moment felt like. These unforgettable moments took a gigantic bite out of logic, chewed it up, and spit it back out.
So, logic be damned. Saturday night is going to be fun. Even as a grizzled and jaded fight fan, allow yourself to live it correctly and without negativity. People don’t buy-in this big for the “probable.” People love stories. They like seeing the unthinkable and they yearn to witness the impossible. We don’t buy a lottery ticket because we think we will win. We buy the lottery ticket so we can dream of “what if.” We know the odds of winning are slim to none but we play because of how fun it is to imagine the impossible happening. Saturday’s fight is the same way. Sit back, relax, and enjoy it. After all, we could be talking about a historic night when the sun rises Sunday morning.
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