Despite the fact that negotiations are “nowhere,” in the words of UFC President Dana White, talk continues about a megafight boxing match between MMA champion Conor McGregor and undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr.
While most boxing fans find the pairing laughable (the Irishman’s never boxed professionally before), McGregor has at least one man in his corner.
Well, sort of.
On Wednesday, McGregor’s UFC rival Nate Diaz told CSN Fights that the 28-year-old has “a good chance to make something happen,” but only if he makes that something happen quickly.
“[McGregor’s] got an amateur style, where he’s got the good movement and punches for six, eight minutes,” Diaz said.
That time equates to about two rounds out of the 10 in a full boxing match.
“Anybody can be good for … six, seven minutes — anybody — and they all have that puncher’s chance,” Diaz added. “But ready to go round after round and he’s gonna be a hard person to get a hold of, so it’s gonna be rough one.”
That’s likely an understatement. While Mayweather gave his possible opponent some credit late last month in what appeared to be a blatant attempt to keep the buzz alive for what would likely be a blockbuster revenue-generator, boxing insiders have said the matchup leaves real fight fans much to be desired.
“It makes such little sense on one side, but so much sense on the other side,” boxing promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports this month. “To the man on the street, the noneducated boxing fan, it’s the best fighter in the world against the best mixed martial arts guy in the world. To the educated boxing fan, it’s a complete disaster. It’s terrible, just terrible.”
Vegas oddsmakers appear to agree. Mayweather’s opened up as the huge favorite at -2250 on the betting site Bovada. Meanwhile, McGregor’s the heavy underdog at +950.
“Floyd has never really been hit his entire career against the baddest professional boxers in the world,” Bovada’s Kevin Bradley told OddsShark.com last month. “So Conor will have to shock the world to even lay some leather on Mayweather.”
McGregor, of course, might not be interested in this fight to add a win to his record, according to Diaz. In fact, he might not really be interested in an actual fight at all.
“I think it’s a big publicity stunt,” Diaz said Wednesday.
If that’s the case, it’s certainly working. McGregor hasn’t fought since November when he won the lightweight strap off Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. Four months later, and with no fights scheduled in the near future, McGregor continues to making headlines on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
Diaz, who recently acquired his California boxing license, as well, might be angling for a piece of that publicity now, too.
“The UFC’s been holding back on promoting me and they’re just … handing everything,” said Diaz, who hasn’t fought since he lost to McGregor in the pair’s rematch at UFC 202 in August.
“I’m keeping my options open,” Diaz added. “I’ve been sparring with top-ranked boxers for years … so I’m open to keep fighting in mixed martial arts or going into boxing.”