Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather couldn’t stop mocking Conor McGregor during their week long promotional tour last month, predicting he would make mincemeat of the MMA fighter when they enter the ring on August 27th [AEST].
But the 40-year-old has struck a different tone only weeks out from the fight during an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A Smith.
Mayweather highlighted the obvious advantages the UFC lightweight champion possesses before admitting the Irish fighter is a legitimate threat to his undefeated 49-0 record.
“He’s a lot younger. When you look at myself and Conor McGregor on paper, he’s taller, has a longer reach, he’s a bigger man from top to bottom. He’s a lot younger, so youth is on his side,” Mayweather said of the 29-year-old McGregor.
“And I’ve been off a couple of years. And I’m in my 40s. So, if you look at everything on paper, it leans toward Conor McGregor.”
Mayweather has not fought since his one-sided unanimous decision over Andre Berto in September 2015.
McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion, will be making his professional boxing debut against Mayweather.
When asked why he wasn’t boldly predicting an easy win against a fighter who has never fought in a boxing ring, Mayweather pointed to his age.
“I’m older. “I’m not the same fighter I was two years ago. I’m not the same fighter I was five years ago. I lost a step,” he said.
“A fighter like Andre Berto isn’t even supposed to go the distance with Floyd Mayweather, but remember, I was 38. It’s obvious I’m slipping a little bit to even let a fighter like that go the distance with me.
“I’m not what I used to be.”
Mayweather also underlined his lack of knockout power as a potential issue considering he hasn’t knocked out a fighter since flooring Victor Ortiz in 2011.
“I used to have a 90 percent knockout ratio,” Mayweather said of his punching power early in his career.
“It’s obvious I slipped somewhere. Something has taken a toll on my career.”
However, the five-division world champion did make a promise to fight fans regarding his approach to the bout at T-Mobile Arena saying he will be more aggressive.
“This can’t be a defensive fight. I have to go to him,” Mayweather said of McGregor. “I owe the public because of the Pacquiao fight. They weren’t pleased with that. They’re gonna be pleased with this fight here.”
According to ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell, public interest in the super-fight hasn’t reached expectations with a huge jump in the amount of tickets hitting the secondary market, meaning watching the fight live might not be as popular as some might have thought.
Source: Sacha Mirzabegian| Wide World of Sports