Veteran trainer and ESPN expert analyst Teddy Atlas, gave his take on the recently finalized boxing match between undefeated Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor, two of the most popular athletes in their respective sports.
The two athletes agreed to a crossover fight in the ring on August 26 in Las Vegas. The Showtime Pay-Per-View event will take place at the T-Mobile Arena - which is first bout where Mayweather will fight outside of the MGM Grand since 2006.
Mayweather, 40, retired in 2015 with an unblemished 49-0 professional boxing record while boastful Irishman McGregor, 28, is the UFC's lightweight champion.
The two fighters have gone back and forth for nearly a year regarding a potential showdown with both men previously stating they each wanted $100 million for the fight.
Mayweather is widely regarded as one of the best defensive fighters ever, and prides himself on his ability to evade punishment with his skillful movement about the ring while making adjustments against opponents on the fly.
“It doesn’t figure to be competitive. You’ve got a guy that they’re gonna say he’s got a puncher’s chance, but he’s in there with a defensive genius. And they’re taking advantage of your imaginations. ‘Oh, he’s got a puncher’s chance.’ Guys like Maidana, Pacquiao, Canelo — they were better punches than McGregor and better fighters. They couldn’t hit him. They couldn’t hurt him. So, really a puncher’s chance? Those are words, those are words to sell the fight. But in reality, not really a puncher’s chance," Atlas told ESPN.
“At the end of the day, myself, most boxing people that have been around the business think it’s a caveman in there with a defensive genius. And usually cavemen don’t win those matches, because in this case they’re not allowed to bring a club. Even if he brought a club, you know what? There would be a lot of strikes. I don’t think that he’d be catching Floyd too easily with that.”
“You got a guy, that yeah he’s a good striker. He might be one of the better strikers in the MMA world, I don’t know. I don’t rate him that way. But in the boxing world, he’s a ‘C’ class fighter. And I’m not knocking him. Because if it’s MMA rules he wins. Because he comes in low, he gets under his legs, he gets him on the ground, he ground and pounds, he grapples and Floyd’s got no chance. But strictly standing, you know Marquess of Queensberry Rules? Nuh uh. Not happening.”
McGregor, the UFC's reigning lightweight champion and former featherweight champion, is known as much for his bravado as for his explosive knockout power inside an MMA octagon.
The Irishman became the first UFC fighter to hold two belts simultaneously when he knocked out Eddie Alvarez in New York last November for the lightweight championship.