By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
JAMES DeGALE thinks Conor McGregor against Floyd Mayweather is a mismatch – but he will not be able to stop himself flying to Las Vegas to watch it.
Despite odds falling last week, bookies still make UFC superstar McGregor a 7-2 underdog and Mayweather the 1-5 favourite for the light-middleweight boxing contest on Saturday.
Those wide odds have done nothing to dampen the public’s interest in a fight which, despite being slammed by some as a money-grabbing circus, could make more than the record $623.5million that Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao generated in 2015.
Irishman McGregor, who was on the dole four years ago, has trash-talked his way into earning a massive $100m from his pro boxing debut. He may have won titles in two weight divisions as an MMA fighter but the man from Crumlin, 29, is up against the best boxer since the 1980s.
American Mayweather might be 40 and has been in retirement for two years but he has won world titles in five weight divisions and DeGale (left) thinks he will win easily. But that has not put the IBF world super-middleweight champion off travelling to Nevada this week.
The Londoner said: “It’s a mismatch if I’m being honest but it’s going to be a great event. It has made for a fantastic build-up because McGregor is just as interesting a character as Mayweather.
“But it’s one of boxing’s greatest fighters against a complete novice, a guy who has never had a professional boxing bout in his life. He’s coming from a combat sport but it’s still a mismatch. Having said that, I’m really looking forward to heading watching it.
“I can see Floyd stopping him late on or it being a whitewash and him winning every second of every round.”
McGregor, though, claims his big rival will not make it out of the second round.
He said: “It’s certainly motivating, the disrespect and disregard for my skill set. I look at people sometimes and their mind is closed. Fighting is a complex game. I use it as motivation and I look forward to going in and educating the world about martial arts.”
Another man who cannot wait for Saturday’s fight is Nathan Cleverly.
The Welshman (right) hopes to steal the show in Las Vegas and set up a crack at Andre Ward.
He will be performing in front of the biggest TV audience of his career when he faces Badou Jack as the main support to Mayweather-McGregor.
World light-heavyweight No.1 Ward holds the WBA, IBF and WBO world titles and is regarded by some as boxing’s current pound-for-pound king.
Cleverly, 30, said: “Myself versus Badou Jack is a great fight, it stands alone. But the way it has worked out and the way it is chief support to a fantasy fight on a global scale event, it’s a real bonus and a terrific opportunity for us.
“Win this fight and then it’s very, very likely that the Ward fight could happen.
“This is a world-class fight between me and Jack. The winner will push on to challenge for the elite-level fight.”