August 26 will see two of the most popular combat sports athletes fight as UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor will make his boxing debut against former pound-for-pound boxing king Floyd Mayweather. The world of MMA and boxing will collide on a massive showcase of two of combat's sports biggest stars. Soon we will either have the perfect 50-0 record or the greatest upset in boxing history.
But the August 26 mega fight won't be the only fight taking place in Las Vegas. A total of eight fights will take place on that card, which will be shown on Fox and on pay-per-view.
Well here is Fightful's full breakdown of every single fight on the Mayweather vs. McGregor card.
Gervonta Davis (c) vs. Francisco Fonseca: IBF junior lightweight title bout: This fight probably wasn't even the likely co-main event planned three weeks ago, but here we are.
After stopping both Jose Pedraza and Liam Walsh in the span of a few months, Fonseca seems like a somewhat noticeable step down in terms of difficulty. Davis' power is very impressive and is about as mature a 22-year-old boxer can ever be. The fact that Davis had to travel the England and face Walsh in front of 40,000 fans in his first defense shows just how far Davis has gotten since he became a world title contender.
It's obvious that Davis is Mayweather's biggest star and that he is being looked at potentially headlining his own pay-per-view. I don't know how much of a draw Davis will be in the United States, but defending his title shouldn't be a tough task against Fonseca. The idea
Nathan Cleverly (c) vs. Badou Jack: WBA "regular" light heavyweight title bout: On paper, this is probably the most interesting fight and probably will be the most competitive on the pay-per-view card.
The thing that remains to be seen is how good Cleverly really is. Cleverly defeated Braehmer last year to win the title, but we haven't seen Cleverly defend the title once. Beating Braehmer really is no small feat, but the fight did because Braehmer suffered a dislocated elbow. Who knows what would have happened if Cleverly and Braehmer went the distance, especially with Braehmer still up on all three judges' scorecards 58-56.
Now that Jack is competing at 175 pounds, I think we'll see an even better fighter now that he has seven more pounds to work with. Jack has noted that he has had some issues making the 168-pound super middleweight limit. His last fight against James DeGale was one of the better fights in the first half of 2017 and if that Badou Jack shows up on against Cleverly, I can see Jack winning handily on the scorecards.
Andrew Tabiti (c) vs. Steve Cunningham: NABF cruiserweight title bout: In the European-heavy cruiserweight division, some prospects fall under the radar and Tabiti is just one of them. Tabiti is fighting his toughest opponent yet in Steve Cunningham. Cunningham is 41 years old, but he's still a quality fighter that can be a great litmus test for Tabiti. Cunningham doesn't have the greatest knockout power in the cruiserweight division, three stoppage wins in the last 10 years, so this fight could go the distance.
Tabiti, on the other hand, does have tremendous power at this point in his career, but it will be very tough knocking down Cunningham. Tabiti can win a close decision fight and beating Cunningham will put him one step closer to potentially challenge for a world title.
As far as pay-per-view opening fights are concerned, you can definitely do a lot worse than this one and more often than not, cruiserweight matchups such as these are pretty entertaining that does provide a lot of hard hits
Yordenis Ugas vs. Thomas Dulorme: You got to feel bad for Fox on this one. They get to broadcast the Mayweather vs. McGregor undercard but are stuck with, collectively, one of the most uninteresting and star-lacking television cards in 2017. This coming a month and a half after being stuck with the Robert Guerrero vs. Omar Figueroa fight that drew about as low a viewership a major television network like Fox could get for a live sporting event. The fight was originally going to be Dulorme vs. Shawn Porter, but Porter withdrew from the fight card due to a personal matter.
Although this fight got significantly less star power with the departure of Porter, it actually might be for the best if you're Dulorme. Dulorme had a really small chance of beating Porter and Mayweather would like to see all of his fighters win on Saturday night. It's not that Dulorme can't fight or isn't any good. I did see his fight back in January on the untelevised portion of the Jack vs. DeGale undercard and he didn't look bad, but if you were to ask me back then if Dulorme could beat Porter seven months later, I would have strongly said no.
Porter's departure means that this will be a way more competitive fight that now sees Dulorme as the slight favorite in my book. Ugas has never been a strong contender and only ever competed for one small title a few years back, and lost. Ugas has looked good since taking his two-year break from the sport and has actually scored some knockout wins over a few decent guys. Dulorme's jab is going to be the key in this fight as he needs to adjust to a brand new opponent on relatively short notice. Establishing the pace early with the jab could set Dulorme up for a late stoppage win if he can keep up the pressure. Both fighters are decently aggressive, so I don't think this fight will go to the scorecards.
Juan Heraldez vs. Jose Miguel Borrego: A pair of undefeated welterweight prospects are facing off in the undercard and these are two good rising prospects. Heraldez isn't a knockout artist, but Borrego pretty much is a knockout machine. Twelve of Borrego's 13 wins in his pro career have come via knockout and has already fought three times this year. Borrego has the potential to end this fight early and I've seen that knockout power first hand. He fought at the Shawn Porter vs. Andre Berto undercard back in April, defeating John Delperdang late in the fight.
Heraldez will likely be facing the toughest opponent of his young career. Borrego brings incredible pressure to the table in his fights and can either knock you out cold with one punch or blitz you until the referee has to stop the fight. Borrego has been rising up in the ranks with a few quality wins as far as prospects are concerned and he is the 64th best welterweight on the Boxrec welterweight rankings. I suspect the winner of this fight could be nearing an opportunity to fight for one of the many regional titles within the sport's governing bodies.
Savannah Marshall vs. Sydney LeBlanc: Marshall is one of the latest signees to Mayweather Promotions and is the United Kingdom's first female amateur world champion. She's coming into this fight with a lot of expectation, not just to win the fight, but to look spectacular doing so. Marshall is fighting LeBlanc, who has lost her last three fights. If Marshall can shine in his fight, it could elevate her to almost immediate title contention in an extremely scarce super middleweight division.
If the stars align and Marshall keeps improving and rack up win after win, we could potentially see a matchup between Marshall and the unified super middleweight champion: Claressa Shields. A Shields vs. Marshall fight could be one of the best female boxing fights in a very long time and both women have history. Marshall is the only woman to ever score a win over Shields at the amateur level.
Speaking of Shields, LeBlanc was Shields' second career win and Shields dominated that fight, beating LeBlanc by unanimous decision (80-72 on all three scorecards). As far as mismatches go, this might actually be the biggest mismatch, at least on the betting side. On Oddshark, Marshall is a -5000 favorite and LeBlanc is a +2000 underdog, which gives you an idea of much of a mismatch this fight is.
Kevin Newman vs. Marcos Antonio Hernandez: Newman is another prospect signed to Mayweather Promotions who is still getting experience and a fight against Hernandez is just the next step in Newman's career. Newman has been a product of the Mayweather gym ever since he was a child and had a successful amateur career. Newman's pro career got off the wrong foot when his debut ended in a draw. The draw did reinvigorate his motivation and has looked sensational from his second fight onwards. Although Newman still has a long way to go before becoming a noteworthy name in the super middleweight division, as far as prospects go, Newman is a name to watch out for. Hernandez was undefeated until his most recent fight when he lost a close split decision fight against Kyrone Davis back in March.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: Well, here it is. After months of speculation and skepticism that this fight will not happen, we are actually going to see this fight happen.
As for the details of the fight itself and how it would play out, Mayweather saying that he will be more aggressive in this fight will likely be just Floyd actually bothering to throw a good punch or two in the first couple of rounds. Mayweather understands that an early stoppage win will not be good enough for the fans.
McGregor has punching power for sure, and there is the danger of McGregor knocking down Mayweather in the fight. The thing to remember is that McGregor's power isn't something that Mayweather hasn't seen in his career. Guys like Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Zab Judah, Ricky Hatton, Manny Pacquiao and countless others had their punching power basically neutralized by Mayweather's defense.
As expertly told on the "Holy Smokes MMA Podcast" here at Fightful.com. Mayweather's greatest strength is rendering his opponents' strengths almost entirely useless. Mayweather certainly has the stamina to go the distance and excel late in the fight and reports of McGregor's stamina not being great for the championship rounds could be detrimental to the UFC Lightweight champion.
McGregor also hasn't seen the type of speed Mayweather's hands carry during McGregor's UFC career. In fact, even most boxers haven't seen Mayweather's speed up close.
So what is the best chance of McGregor of winning the fight? Stop Mayweather within the first two rounds, three if he's lucky.
There's no doubt McGregor will be aggressive from the beginning. He has been pretty much his whole career. McGregor is at his most dangerous at the beginning of the fight when opponents are still feeling out McGregor. Thirteen of the 18 knockout wins McGregor has come in the first round and the list of wins in the first round include the likes of Jose Aldo, Dustin Poirier and Diego Brandao.
Mayweather also doesn't start rounds off well especially in the last few years. Combine that with Mayweather's brittle hands, and Mayweather is capable of being taken down early in the fight.
And Mayweather starting out slow isn't a new thing discovery. It's been a thing for quite some time. Take Mayweather's 2012 fight against Alvarez. In the first six rounds of that fight, according to CompuBox, Mayweather threw a total of 240 punches in the first six rounds, an average of 40 punches. Mayweather landed 84 of those punches, which meant he landed 35 percent of his punches in the first half of the fight.
But not only was Mayweather more active in the fight, but he was more accurate as well. In the second half of the fight, Mayweather threw 265 punches, averaging 44 punches per round. He landed 134 punches in the last six rounds of that fight, which meant was landing just about half of his punches. That's not good for McGregor if the fight goes five, six rounds deep and McGregor hasn't done serious damage to it.
But even with Mayweather's slow starts and lack of punching power, one factor hasn't been talked about a whole lot: his footwork and stance. Mayweather rarely stands squarely across from his opponent. Instead, he prefers to stand almost side-on, with his left foot forward and his legs widely spaced, while keeping his left arm low to protect his body and his chin tucked behind his left shoulder.
In this stance, Mayweather presents his opponents with very little to aim for. Right hands will be blocked by Mayweather’s back, his left arm or absorbed on the shoulder before they can reach his elusive chin, whilst Floyd keeps his right arm free to parry any punches thrown from his opponents left.
Where opponents have had, albeit limited, success against Mayweather is when they have succeeded in trapping him in a corner, or pinning his back against the ropes and unloading with combinations.
The counter to this tactic is the use of footwork to evade the rushes of his opponent and outmaneuver them. Mayweather has demonstrated this ability against pressure fighters countless times, most notably perhaps against Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and against Robert Guerrero.
In the end, I predict Mayweather's experience and defensive prowess will be the deciding factor in this fight. McGregor's stamina is questionable for this fight because we don't know how he'll react and fight 10 rounds into the fight. Mayweather improves as the fight drags on and I don't think McGregor will be able to keep up with Mayweather late in the fight.
Prediction: Floyd Mayweather defeats Conor McGregor via ninth round stoppage
FIghtful will have complete coverage of the card as well as a post-fight podcast on Fightful and on YouTube.