By Keith Idec
Leonard Ellerbe senses something different during the buildup toward Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s fight against Conor McGregor.
More than any fight in his recent history, Ellerbe believes Mayweather wants to knock out his opponent.
Maybe it’s the all the over-the-top trash talk McGregor has directed at Mayweather. Maybe it’s all the criticism Mayweather endures from frustrated fans who contend his fights are boring. Or maybe it’s that Mayweather truly understands that the best boxer of this generation will be considered a failure if he doesn’t knock out a boxing novice in his pro debut.
Whatever his motivation, Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs), who has one knockout in his past 10 fights, has convinced Mayweather Promotions’ CEO that he’ll knock out the brash Irish southpaw August 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I’m very confident that this fight will end in a knockout,” Ellerbe said. “I’m very confident in that. In no way, shape, form or fashion can I see this fight going 12 rounds. No way that I can personally see this fight going no 12 rounds. I just can’t. With both of those mentalities? Nah.”
Ellerbe expects McGregor to come after Mayweather immediately in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.
“I think it’s gonna be a terrific fight,” Ellerbe said. “It’s gonna be very exciting and entertaining. You’ve got two guys that’s gonna be trying to knock each other out. Not fighting recklessly, but you’ve got two guys who are gonna be aggressive and I think – I know – that they’re gonna be trying to knock each other out.”
The odds of that happening will improve, according to Ellerbe, if they’re allowed to wear eight-ounce gloves, not the standard 10-ounce gloves for fights above the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. The Nevada State Athletic Commission will rule on that request Wednesday at its next meeting in Las Vegas.
“There have been especially [with] a lot of things that have happened recently – I think Floyd really wants to get this guy out of there,” Ellerbe said. “I know that for a fact. I think that you’re gonna see a more aggressive Floyd Mayweather in this fight. Conor said that he’s gonna come forward, I know what Floyd’s gonna do and that’s another reason why, you know, I petitioned the commission for the eight-ounce gloves. Potentially, if the commission approves it, fighting in smaller gloves, it increases the probability of somebody getting knocked out.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.