CONOR McGregor will fight Floyd Mayweather later this year - at least that’s the view of McGreor’s coach John Kavanagh, who has been preparing his charge by honing his boxing ability and not worrying about the other skills needed for Mixed Martial Arts.
“In my mind, it’s on. That’s the mentality we’re in,” Kavanagh said on Bill and Boz on Fox Sports News 500. “There’s a lot of fingers in the pie with this one — there’s different promotions, different organisations, there’s different commissions that are involved.
“But as far as I’m concerned, I’m really convinced it’s going to happen this year and that’s the mindset that I have. Let the people in the suits worry about the paperwork, we’re training for it.
“I said a quote, but I was kind of taken out of context, I saw it would be simpler training for boxing. But what I mean is that boxing is one of the 10 skills you need for Mixed Martial Arts.
“But now we’re only doing boxing, so we can drop wrestling and jujitsu and Thai boxing. We can just focus on the boxing. So of course we’re getting ready to fight one of the best defensive boxers of all time, but the training will become simplified because we only have to do boxing. It’s a new challenge, I’m excited about it.”
Kavanagh likened the difference in the training regimen to the differences in preparing for two different ball sports, but was at pains to point out that boxing is just as difficult as MMA.
“It’s almost like the physicality to get ready for a rugby game rather than to get ready for a soccer game. Not that it’s easier, it’s different,” he said. “A different energy system involved. We can cut out all the grappling training that we’d have to do. It’s simpler but it’s not easier. There’s less skills involved. We’re training differently than we have in the past.”
Kavanagh said the fight will likely be at 147 pounds (67 kilograms) but that McGregor has fought at 66 kilograms so often that it won’t be an issue.
He also said overcoming difficult challenges is what he and McGregor have done their entire careers.
“When he brought this challenge to me, I kind of had to shake my head and smile,” Kavanagh said. “He’s done so well in Mixed Martial Arts but that’s being Conor. Also the mentality around, ‘You can’t do that’. We grew up hearing that: ‘You can’t be in Ireland and a get a fighter to the UFC level’. ‘You can’t fight for a UFC belt without having a wrestling background.’
“We just hear that all the time. But you now what, we keep doing it, we keep proving people wrong. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”