By Keith Idec
Count Anthony Joshua among the star boxers who cannot envision Conor McGregor giving Floyd Mayweather Jr. any legitimate competition Saturday night.
The hard-hitting heavyweight champion from England readily admits that he “probably” would lose if he competed in a mixed martial arts match. But Joshua thinks McGregor will face an even tougher test than he would against a top UFC fighter because the UFC superstar will encounter the best boxer of this generation in their 12-round, 154 pound boxing match at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (Showtime Pay-Per-View; $99.95 in HD).
“It’s probably [going to be] a landslide,” Joshua told Sky Sports for a story posted to its website Monday. “Look at the great fighters Mayweather’s fought, and he’s made them look average. Some of the fighters Mayweather’s fought would probably beat Conor McGregor as well. Conor can’t really compete.
“He’s coming out of his field and going into Mayweather’s domain. Even though he’s an excellent fighter in UFC, he’s not an excellent boxer. Him crossing over is going to be a real big challenge.”
As long as the 40-year-old Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) doesn’t completely embarrass McGregor, though, Joshua views the novice’s venture into boxing to be well worthwhile. Regardless of the outcome of a fight in which Mayweather is heavily favored, Ireland’s McGregor (21-3, 18 KOs in MMA) could earn more than $100 million from their pay-per-view extravaganza.
“He could give a good account of himself,” Joshua said. “I think Mayweather will win, but as long as he gives a good account of himself, it’ll work really well for him.”
The 27-year-old Joshua, meanwhile, is expected to return to the ring October 28 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), of Watford, England, is expected to make a mandatory defense of his IBF heavyweight title that night against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.