Most of those coming from the world of boxing are not giving Conor McGregor much of a chance against Floyd Mayweather. Boxing analyst Max Kellerman is claiming that “The Notorious” will not land a single punch on Mayweather in the course of their fight in the ring.
However, what are MMA fighters who also have professional boxing experience saying?
KJ Noons, Marcus Davis, and Chris Lytle have all fought in professional MMA and boxing matches and gave their first-hand experience via MMA Junkie on the difference between the two sports.
Noons, who has 23 pro MMA fights, 13 pro boxing fights, and also 14 kickboxing matches under his belt compares MMA and boxing to tennis and racquetball.
“They’re both sports where you’re hitting a ball with a racquet, but they’re also very different,” Noons said. “One’s all wrist, and one is no wrist. It’s a similar thing with boxing and MMA.”
While Noons doesn’t make any bold predictions for the fight, he does plan on watching and feels the matchup is good for the sport.
“Will it be competitive?” Noons said. “I don’t know. But it’s fun; it’ll bring eyes to the sport. At the end of the day, it’s entertainment. I’m going to watch it for sure.”
Marcus Davis retired after 34 pro MMA fights and 20 professional boxing matches and started his boxing career years before making his way to mixed martial arts. The “Irish Hand Grenade” also says MMA and boxing are two very different sports.
“Once you understand that it’s not the same sport, you can’t keep telling yourself that it’s just a fight,” said Davis. “The gloves are bigger, the tactics are different. A lot of the defenses that work in boxing are ones you can’t even use in MMA.”
Davis explained his own experience with sparring MMA fighters under boxing rules and says it was like night and day.
“But then sometimes I’d go to MMA gyms, and people who knew I boxed would want to put on the gloves and do some boxing sparring with me,” Davis said. “And when we did that, and I could use all my old boxing tricks, my boxing stance and defense, then I’d just destroy them. They just couldn’t touch me because it was a completely different game. I knew how to play that game, and they didn’t.”
Davis admitted that he won’t be dishing out any of his own money to watch the fight on August 26 and is fine with just catching the highlights on social media. While not so interested in watching the actual fight, Davis gave his prediction for how things will go on fight night.
“He’s going to have to work really hard just to get a clean look at him, but when he thinks he has an opportunity to hit him, then Floyd will tie him up,” Davis said. “I think he’s going to get desperate, he’s going to start lunging, because he’ll realize he can’t lay a glove on him. That’s when I think he’ll start getting hit with the harder shots, and I think he’ll probably get stopped within six rounds. If McGregor can make it more than six rounds, that looks bad for boxing.”
Chris Lytle, who has had 54 pro MMA fights and 15 pro boxing fights also feels the same way as Davis regarding the outlook on the two sports and McGregor’s chances in the ring.
“Conor, he’s a very good and maybe even a great striker for MMA,” Lytle said. “But there is a very big difference between boxing striking and MMA striking. Let’s say you think Conor is a good boxer, which is a pretty big compliment for someone who’s never had a boxing match. But even then, he’s definitely not a great boxer or an elite boxer, and Floyd doesn’t get hit by elite boxers.”
Although Lytle is predicting that he will be disappointed after the mega money fight is over, he will be tuning in on fight night.
“I’m sure I’m going to watch it,” he said. “Of course I am. I’ve got to see the spectacle train wreck just like everybody else. But I know I’m going to leave disappointed. If Conor is able to land five clean punches the entire fight, and I’m not talking body shots, I’ll be impressed.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/4/2017.