Conor McGregor has been having a tough time with his sparring partners in the lead-in to his fight with Floyd Mayweather. After initial reports that training sessions had turned violent and “out of control,” the man tasked with helping him prepare for Mayweather eventually walked away, calling McGregor a “dirtbag” on his way out the door.
Though he's known for his motor mouth, Mayweather's camp has been quiet as church mice in comparison. But don't mistake that for timidity or a lack of confidence, because if you ask the fighters Mayweather is working out with right now, McGregor has absolutely no chance against the undefeated, undisputed champion.
In an interview with Dotun Akintoye of ESPN The Magazine, three prominent fighters—DeMarcus Corley, Zab Judah, and Errol Spence Jr.—discussed what makes Mayweather such a great fighter. From the sound of things, they don't think a first-timer like McGregor has any chance against a lifer like Mayweather.
“He's been programmed from Pampers,” said Corley. “He breaks the will of fighters. After a few rounds, you realize it's not what you thought it was going to be. You can't do what you want to do to him. You start questioning yourself. How can I get this guy? What is he doing that I can't catch him?”
Corley would know. Not only has he trained with Mayweather, he was dominated by him in a 2004 fight in which Mayweather knocked him down twice and scored a unanimous decision victory. Judah met the same fate in 2006, when not even a low blow on his behalf could stop Mayweather from completely outclassing him. He emphasized Mayweather's preparation level when describing how hard it is to get close to him, let alone beat him.
“He lines up like 15 to 20 sparring partners at a time. I've known him since we were amateurs,” said Judah. “He's always done over and beyond what the job consists of. You can't beat someone who's not going to get tired…He studies your background down to your kids, your wife, who your mama is, who your daddy is. He doesn't watch fights; he prepares for the person. Sometimes when you learn the person, you don't have to learn how they fight.”
This paints a stark contrast between Mayweather's prep for the bout and McGregor's. Paulie Malignaggi, the sparring partner who angrily stormed out of McGregor's camp, insisted that McGregor would only deal with one sparring partner at a time, forcing one guy to go a full 12 rounds. With Mayweather constantly battling fighters with fresh legs, the preparation level doesn't even sound close.
And in case the words of a couple former opponents don't mean much, one of Mayweather's sparring partners is a current champion. The aforementioned Spence is the current IBF welterweight champion, standing on top of his division with a 22-0 record. And even he is blown away by Mayweather's focus in the ring.
“His eyes are always open. Your mind can't wander; it's a mental workout as much as a physical workout,” said Spence. “Fighters throw punches at him, and you see him looking. He moves just enough and never overreacts to a punch. You never see him rattled. When you go back to the corner, he's looking at you, seeing if you're tired.”
That doesn't sound like a boxer who's going to be bested by a converted MMA guy. Hate Mayweather if you want, because there are plenty of legitimate reasons to, but never question his aptitude in the ring. He has flawless numbers and near universal respect from anyone who has stood across from him in the ring, but he's still in the gym working as if he is the one with something to prove.
To see what else Mayweather's sparring partners had to say about him, go here. You can also hear why some other boxing experts are betting on Mayweather to make light work of McGregor here.
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