What makes Conor McGregor different?
Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto all tried to stop Floyd Mayweather — all failed.
All are future members of the boxing hall of fame, yet Mayweather vanquished them all.
De La Hoya took their fight to a split decision, Canelo Alvarez a majority decision — everyone else struggled to get close.
Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao won rounds, but none of them were even close to winning the fight.
How can we expect Conor McGregor, a boxing amateur, to do better?
UFC President Dana White said today that Conor has the punching power to stop Mayweather, saying anyone he lands on, generally goes down.
But MMA striking is very different to boxing.
Australian MMA legend John Wayne Parr would know. He is perhaps one of the most high profile fighters to make a transition into professional boxing, alongside former world title contender Paul ‘Hurricane’ Briggs.
Wayne Parr recently made his Bellator Kick Boxing debut and has had over 129 kickboxing fights in a storeyed career. He is a multi-time world champion and works with a number of current UFC fighters on their striking.
“The Gun Slinger” has even helped UFC legend Georges St Pierre prepare for fights in the Octagon.
He has rare insight into both combat sports at the highest level and he says McGregor’s task is almost impossible.
Not just for the Mayweather challenge ahead, but the fact he has just over two months to prepare.
“I think it’s very difficult for Conor,” Wayne Parr said. “Moving the fight closer to August it shortens McGregor’s time to improve his boxing skills, so it’s an advantage for Mayweather.”
John Wayne-Parr is a 10x Muay Thai World Champion.
Wayne Parr detailed the difference between boxing and MMA, explaining that while the two may look similar, technically they are very different.
“It’s completely different, it’s like playing tennis and playing squash,” Wayne Parr said.
“You have a racquet, but it’s completely different sports. In MMA it’s different footwork, different strategies.
“I think because you’re so worried about being taken down in MMA, you can’t flow with the punches as in boxing and head movement, it takes you a long time.
“So you’re not getting caught with the first and second (punch) but it’s the fourth and fifth you have to worry about.”
Wayne Parr said footwork and the transitioning of body weight, the way fighters generate the power behind their punches, will be the biggest mountain for McGregor to climb.
This could in fact be the most telling aspect of the boxing transition, given many are saying punching power is McGregor’s one and only advantage over Mayweather.
“In Muay Thai in particular, the majority of our body weight is on our back leg, because we’re looking for leg kicks. We have to try and bring our leg up really fast,” Wayne Parr explained.
“In boxing your body weight is more on your front leg. So transitioning from back to front, it sounds easy, but once you get into the deeper rounds, it’s a whole new ball game.
“Because you’re body goes into automatic and you’re relying on muscle memory and it takes years of training. The transition from MMA to boxing in such a short period is such a tough ask.”
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McGregor’s punching power will also be lessened by the fact he will not be wearing MMA gloves, but ten ounce boxing gloves.
“That’s going to neutralise a lot of that power,” Wayne Parr said.
“Even if he does hit Floyd flush, it’s not going to be the same. It’s a whole new world. You have to divide that punching power in half.”
Changing technique, different equipment, they are just some of the challenges laid in front of the Irishman, but cardio is another issue.
UFC fights are fought over five, five minute rounds, while the fight with Mayweather will be 12, three minute rounds. Wayne Parr revealed that this was an area he needed to step up over time.
Progressing from four, to six, to eight and finally twelve round bouts in his boxing sojourn. McGregor will look to make the leap in his first fight.
“You cant practice it in the gym,” Wayne Parr said. “I started four rounds, six rounds and eight rounds and built myself up.
“It’s mentally draining, as you see the ring card girl hold the card up and you see the rounds go past. It, like, sucks it out of you mentally, knowing you have so many rounds to go.
“To go from zero to a twelve round fight — holy s***
“(Mayweather) Applies pressure the entire fight, by about round three, round four, they (the opponent) stops throwing, because every time they throw they get countered,” Wayne Parr said.
“They end up standing still like a punching ball almost. He (Mayweather) eats away peoples will to fight him back.
“If Conor can overcome that he’s a legend.”
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