The pre-fight hysteria has lived up to the hype and boxing’s biggest ever fight is nearly here.
After more trash talk than even Vince McMahon would be proud of, it’s nice to finally get down to the business of finally analysing the business inside the squared centre.
Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor will, at last, meet in the ring on Saturday night in Las Vegas and there’s a couple of fights on the undercard worth a look too.
Mayweather v McGregor – Bet Now
McGregor has done a job on Mayweather in the pre-fight banter battle and the odds on the Irishman causing pretty much the biggest upset in boxing history have come in to 10/3.
The boxing purists aren’t impressed however, and they don’t like the idea that a UFC fighter could make it a good contest, earning tens of millions while doing so. We’ve seen kick-boxers and a former Aussie Rules player win world titles, a former footballer become British champ, but an MMA superstar crossing-over seems to have really riled the ‘experts’.
McGregor has sparred plenty of rounds in the boxing ring over the years and his training in other combat sports will have heightened his reactions and defensive skills.
Anyone who has seen ‘The Notorious’ warm up, or ‘The McGregor Challenge’ it inspired, won’t be expecting an orthodox boxer, but I’m not expecting an uneducated brawler either.
McGregor will probably attack in aggressive bursts, however ‘Money’ is one of the greatest ever at ducking, diving and riding an onslaught before finishing the exchange on his terms. At least, Mayweather was in 2015 and before.
We’ve been burnt a few times this year with top class boxers either showing their age, suffering from inactivity or overlooking an opponent – Manny Pacquiao and David Haye are just the two most high profile.
A prime Mayweather would school any mixed martial artist, but a slightly rusty, 40-year-old Las Vegas resident might find it tough against a physical, hungry fighter like McGregor.
The two-weight UFC boss is a whopping 25/1 to win on points and that’s certainly worth a small punt. You might have seen McGregor put down former multiple world champion Paulie Malignaggi in sparring, but don’t be tempted by McGregor by KO.
Even with the lighter gloves Mac won’t be able to catch the five-division world champion clean or often enough to cause any real damage, but the reduced mitts will make the hands fly a fraction faster. Both have promised early showers and you can get 8/11 on under 8.5 rounds.
Mayweather has notched up a grand total of one KO since 2007 and if you really want to back a KO result then take the 20-year pro to win in rounds 7-12, when McGregor is out of his comfort zone, at a fair 13/5.
The boxing purists are desperate to see a resounding victory for one of the best ever, but the best bet is for Mayweather to win another cagey bout via the judges cards.
Bet of the bout: Mayweather to win on points 11/4.
Cleverly v Jack – Bet Now
Two-time world champion Nathan Cleverly makes the first defence of his new light heavyweight title when he faces former super middleweight supremo Badou Jack in Saturday night’s main support act.
Jack needed to move up a division after feeling the effects of draining weight against the likes of James DeGale and George Groves. Yet, the Swede still secured a draw and win against the pair.
Cleverly is fast and furious, but he takes too many shots. I’m backing Jack’s strength to tell and taking the 3/1 for him to win by KO.
Bet of the bout: Jack to win by KO – 3/1
Finally, Mayweather’s latest protégé and possibly his true American heir is Gevonta Davis. The super featherweight is a huge puncher and you can get him at 23/10 to win in rounds 5-8 when he takes to the ring before the main event.