On August 26, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor will take his first steps into the boxing ring. He’ll do so against undefeated boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. Needless to say, he’s going to have his hands full.
While McGregor faces a massive test against Mayweather, he and his camp have seemed optimistic about their chances from the get-go. His head coach, John Kavanagh, has even suggested the UFC fighter would be ready to fight Mayweather weeks ahead of schedule.
Earlier this week, however, a pretty concerning rumor emerged surrounding McGregor. According to retired boxer Jessie Vargas, McGregor was recently knocked out in a sparring session during his preparations for Mayweather.
“He got knocked out in sparring already, man!” Vargas said, via Darragh Murphy of Joe.co.uk. “The boxing world is small; it’s a small circle.”
While this rumor caused concern among McGregor fans, Mayweather himself is not a believer in them. Mayweather shared his doubts in a conversation with FightHype.
“If I ain’t seen no footage, I don’t believe it,” he said. “Everything is rumors until I see it. I have to actually, visually see it with my own eyes.”
While there is currently no proof that McGregor experienced a knockout in the gym, many fans believe it’s possible, given his camp’s increased focus on sparring. In a recent interview with The Mac Life, Kavanagh explained that the Irish MMA star has been doing “four times” more sparring than he would for a typical bout in the Octagon.
“Without going into too much detail – just to throw a number at you – we’re doing four times the amount of sparring for this camp than we would do for a regular MMA camp,” Kavanagh said.
“That’s a huge amount of extra rounds. Whatever other parts you get ready for a fight whether it’s boxing or MMA, without doubt the most important part of that is sparring. That’s the sport. So you can be doing movement drills and weight lifting and running and all of these different things that go with it but number one should be sparring, as long as it’s sensible.”
Do you believe Conor McGregor was knocked out in sparring, or do you share Floyd Mayweather’s doubts?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/18/2017.