Would UFC star Conor McGregor fare any better if he decided to return to the boxing ring in the immediate future? The brash Irishman, himself, seems to think so.
But, while MMA betting odds for Conor McGregor nearly always place him as a favorite in the Octagon, any bout he takes in boxing will be considered an uphill battle.
When asked about his August 29 tenth-round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather, McGregor had plenty to say about what he learned from his first professional boxing match.
“Everyone was saying to me get in and ragdoll him and muscle him from the bell,” McGregor said at a recent Q&A session in Glasgow, Scotland. “And I could’ve gone in and done that. But I out-skilled him, I outboxed him early. You can’t deny that. I outboxed him and he didn’t know what the f**k was going on.
“He just covered up his head and walked forward. When the f**k have you ever seen him do that? It is what it is, but I still feel like I could beat him under boxing rules.
“I know if I went another go with him, under boxing rules, I’d get that win, I know that. I know that. I know by the feeling of him in the first fight. He had to change his whole approach. He fought completely (different) than he (usually) fought, he couldn’t figure out what I was doing early on. I feel with the lessons I learned from that first fight, if I had another go around, I’d get him.”
The novelty of McGregor fighting in a boxing ring is still there and that certainly means he could come back an fight in another high-profile PPV bout.
But, while the market may still be there for him to sell himself in at least one more boxing match, there will have to be a real effort to match him properly.
In his bout with Mayweather, McGregor was very fortunate to be facing a tired old pro, two years into retirement, who wasn’t all that interested in putting a big hurt on the incoming MMA invader. Against a younger, hungrier opponent with a true offensive mindset, a McGregor bout could be a shameful and brutal slaughter.
“…If he’s talking about Canelo,” one-time McGregor sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi said of a recent story regarding Team McGregor’s desire to face Saul Alvarez in May, “he has to book a hospital room for two or three weeks, because when he loses it they will take him directly to that reserved room…McGregor will get killed in that fight.”
A bout with Gennady Golovkin, who McGregor also mentioned publicly not too long ago, would be like the two-division UFC champ walking into a threshing machine. It would be ugly—Maybe so ugly that it would never be sanctioned.
The best bet for McGregor, if he indeed wants one more shot in a boxing ring, is someone like Paulie Malignaggi, who has been burning for a shot at McGregor ever since the two had a falling out in McGregor’s training camp for the Mayweather bout.
Malignaggi is naturally much smaller than McGregor with not much of a punch at all. He’s also retired and well past his prime. And, even then, Malignaggi would likely have a fairly uncomplicated time when it comes to winning decisively.
So, really, from a competitive standpoint, it might be in McGregor’s best interest to NOT box again. But tell that to a man who just made a guaranteed $30 million plus back-end PPV money from boxing and who could easily top his best UFC payday with a boxing match against even a remotely credible opponent.