John Danaher on Mayweather–McGregor

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

John Danaher discusses Mayweather–McGregor:

Tonight is the biggest fight show of the year — a fight that has been dismissed by many knowledgeable pundits as farcical but which has nonetheless garnered more viewer interest than any boxing event in a very long time. On the face of it, this is a huge mismatch. Mr Mayweather is unquestionably the finest boxer of his generation and arguably of all time. He is both a master technician and a master tactician in the ring who has made the best boxers of his time look ordinary when matched with him. Mr McGregor is an an outstanding MMA fighter with an amazing penchant for proving doubters wrong. In truth however, this project would be the equivalent of having Mr McGregor compete in an IBJJF jiu jitsu tournament in a gi against say, Rafa Mendes — do you really think he would prevail against Mr Mendes under these conditions?

My experience of watching very good MMA athletes spar against elite boxers in the gym is always the same — they are quite competitive for the first 3–4 rounds and do surprisingly well. Then around the 5th round the elite boxer begins to figure out the unorthodox or awkward movement and begins to employ ring craft tactics to tire the MMA athlete by making him work harder than he is, making him miss punches etc etc. around the 8th round a very noticeable shift occurs where the elite boxer takes over.

I expect a similar pattern tonight — though probably taking less time, given the incredible skill level of Mr Mayweather. Mr McGregors only advantages are youth and size, but heavier punches are not much use if they are thrown at a target that can’t be hit, and Mr Mayweather is as always, in fine shape and has never tired in a fight. I would consider it a fine victory for Mr McGregor if he survived 12 rounds and had some competitive rounds among them. Like most people, I love to see an underdog take on impossible odds and win, so my heart is with Mr McGregor, but my mind knows this is exceedingly unlikely.

In a world of uncertainty I will offer you one certainty that I truly believe — however well Mr Mcgregor does in tonight’s boxing match, I ASSURE YOU IT WILL BE MUCH BETTER THAN MR MAYWEATHER WOULD DO IN A REAL FIGHT AGAINST MR MCGREGOR.


  1. Jeff R says:

    His prediction seems to have held up pretty well, based on what I read about the fight (I didn’t see it myself).

  2. Isegoria says:

    Yeah, Danaher’s prediction was spot on. He returned with his reflections on the big show:

    As is usually the case, most people are focused upon the RESULT of the Mayweather/McGregor bout last night. The truth is, to anyone familiar with both sports, the RESULT was never in serious doubt — all-rounders generally don’t step into the domain of a refined specialist and beat them in that domain. The result was never the interesting feature of this bout.

    What IS interesting is the ramifications of the MMA vs boxing debate. As I have seen so many times in similar match ups in the gym, the MMA athlete did quite well early in the match and can create a competitive first few rounds. However, there is a dramatic difference in energy expenditure on the part of the MMA athlete versus the more efficient boxer. As such, there is an inevitable change over as the match progresses. Mr Mayweather was doubtless aware that this would occur and waited patiently for the mid/later rounds to switch from a passive game to one of forward aggression.

    What has become clear however, is this — ELITE MMA ATHLETES ARE CONSIDERABLY BETTER EQUIPT TO HANDLE A BOXER’S GAME THAN BOXERS ARE TO HANDLE AN MMA FIGHTER’S GAME. There is almost no chance an elite boxer could get to a tenth round with an elite MMA athlete. Even if the bout permitted kicks and elbows/knees in the clinch, the outcome would almost certainly be different. If takedowns and ground work were allowed it would be over in seconds — any one of the innumerable clinches in the fight would be an immediate takedown from which a boxer is extremely unlikely to recover.

    Mr McGregor may have (predictably) lost the bout, but he won something much bigger. He showed that the endless criticism of MMA in standing striking over the years is grossly exaggerated. At elite levels they are highly competent and can provide a good match for a time with even the best boxers in the boxers’ domain. The daring Irishman may have lost a bout, but he won the cultural war between boxing and MMA and showed clearly that he can do far better in their domain than they can in his. For the courage, self belief and skill it took for him to do that, he can always count me as a fan.

  3. Bomag says:

    Thanks for the update.

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