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Mayweather-McGregor: How many punches will Conor land on Floyd?

By Bob Smith: Just how many punches will UFC star Conor McGregor land against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their fight on August 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is a serious question and requires a serious approach. I will go out on a limb here and guess that Mayweather defeats McGregor by unanimous decision. But a key question is, how many punches will McGregor land en route to a unanimous decision loss?

Let us begin with his fights since Arturo Gatti in 2005, about when he changed from “Pretty Boy” Floyd to “Money” Mayeather. Despite enthusiastic Arturo Gatti fans who anticipated that Gatti would be the one to take down the cocky Mayweather, Gatti landed 41 punches in six rounds or 6.83 punches per round according to Compubox. Only ten of these were non-jabs, so effectively Gatti landed less than two non-jabs per round.

Next was Sharmba Mitchell. Granted, he is not the best fighter in the world, but he landed only 31 punches in 6 rounds, and Mayweather nearly quadrupled his connect percentage, at 43% landed versus 11% landed. That is only five punches landed per round!

Against Carlos Baldomir the theme continues – in a one sided decision, Mayweather landed nearly 4 times as much as his opponent did percentage wise – 43% versus 12%. Also, Baldomir landed in single digits in 11 of 12 rounds. Baldomir landed 79 punches in total, mainly due to the fact that he lasted the whole fight. In the end, he landed between six and seven punches per round.

The Zab Judah fight was competitive in parts and Zab Judah did best Mayweather several times in the first few rounds of the fight. Yet in the end, he managed to land only 18% of his punches against Mayweather, or a decent (by the standards of Mayweather opponents) 89 punches overall en route to this loss. By contrast, Mayweather landed 205 punches for the clear unanimous decision victory, and all doubled his opponents’ connect percentage at 36%. So, in the end, he landed between eight and nine punches per round.

But perhaps the greatest challenge for Mayweather in his career to that point was Oscar de la Hoya – at this time, Oscar De La Hoya was the champ and had all of the advantages, which he dictated – a small ring, heavy gloves, etc. – yet even then he only landed 122 punches – in other words, he occasionally broke double digits in punches landed per round, including jabs and all sorts of pillow punches. It is worth noting that Oscar De La Hoya connected on only 21% of his shots versus 43% per Mayweather, so was a lopsided fight, with Mayweather landing nearly two punches for every De la Hoya punch landed. In other words, Oscar was one of the very, very few fighters who managed to average (barely) more than ten punches landed per round, which sounds good on paper, but not in comparison with the fact that he threw nearly 500 punches.

Hatton, who was indisputably a world class fighter and champion when he fought Mayweather, managed to land only 63 punches in ten rounds, and only 52 power punches or only slightly more than five per round. Again, Mayweather more than doubled his percentage connected at 39% versus 17% This indeed is the problem with power punches like Hatton or skillful tacticians like Juan Manuel Marquez when they fight Mayweather – when they try to out-think or use their strengths against Mayweather, they end up losing more convincingly than those like De La Hoya or Guerrero who simply let their punches fly and connect at a 20% rate.

Next was Juan Manuel Marquez, the brilliant counter-puncher who later in his career would go on to knockout Manny Pacquiao in an electrifying finish to their rivalry. Yet against Mayweather he never broke double digits in punches landed and managed to land only 69 punches in the entire fight, or less than six per round.

He turned after Marquez to fight Shane Mosley, another future Hall of Famer. And Mosley managed to land 92 punches overall, but saw his best moments early in the fight – anyone who has seen the fight recalls the vicious right hand in the 2nd round that staggered Mayweather for the first time in years. In the end,though was a typical Mayweather fight, with Mosley landing fewer than ten punches per round for nine of the next ten rounds. Mayweather again more than doubled his opponents connect percentage at 44% to 20%.

Victor Ortiz landed only 26 punches in four rounds, and we all know how that ended up.

Miguel Cotto did rather well by the standards of Mayweather opponents however. He broke 100 punches landed, with 105 total, and most tellingly Mayweather connected on only 26% as compared to 21% for Cotto. This is the first time that Mayweather had not more than doubled his opponents connect percentage in literally seven years. This is a tremendous achievement for Cotto, even though he managed to only land between 9 and 10 punches per round.

Moreover, in the 8th round, Cotto actually out-landed Mayweather. I repeat: in the 8th round, Cotto actually out-landed Mayweather. This is a very rare occurrence. Why then did Mayweather not do as well against Cotto? Part of it is age, part of it is style, part of it was the strengths and defense and tenacity and heart of Cotto.

Against Robert Guerrero, it was vintage Mayweather – he landed twice the percentage of his opponent overall (41% versus 19%) and twice the power punch connect rate of his opponent (60% versus 28%). It is pretty tough to lose a right when you land 60% of your power shots as a boxer. In the end, Guerrero landed 81 punches or between six and seven punches per round.

Against Alvarez, where Mayweather wanted to control distance and wear down the bigger man, he landed nearly 3 times the percentage of jabs as his opponent (42% to 15%). Overall, Alvarez landed a very respectable 117 punches, nearly ten punches per round (which almost no one or no one had done against him in his career to that point). Of course, it was about half of Mayweather’s total punches 232 to 117 and less than half of his total connect percentage at 46% to 22%.

From there, Mayweather moved on to face Marcos Maidana, who is a ferocious puncher and fought in a rough and perhaps dirty way, and threw awkward, wild punches and frequently rabbit punches. In the first fight, Mayweather also promised a “fan-friendly” fight. Maidana shattered the record for most punches landed against Mayweather with 221, and only narrowly lost the total punch count to Mayweather at 230 to 221. He did win many rounds due to sheer activity. However, his punch connect rate was a mere 26% compared to 54% for Mayweather and that, along with Mayweather’s jab percentage that was triple that of Maidana (33% to 11%) undoubtedly played a role in the judge’s decision.

It was back to classic Mayweather in the rematch, however, and Mayweather made no promises of “fan-friendliness”. These were more typical of his usual fights, with Maidana landing only 128 punches, or slightly more than ten per round, in contrast, to Mayweather, who landed 166, with a percentage of 51% to 22%. Again, Mayweather landed nearly 60% of his power punches (58% to 26%).

The great showdown with Pacquiao followed the two fights with Maidana. In it, Pacquaio landed 81 punches, or fewer than seven per round, and only 19% in comparison to 34% for Mayweather. I agree that Conor McGregor is a left handed puncher, but is he better than Pacquiao, who won titles in seven divisions, and is in the top five boxers of all time by box recs statistical formula? If so, then he can be expected to land significantly more punches than Pacquiao.

In an anticlimactic climax, he fought Andre Berto in his last fight before retiring: Berto landed 83, with a connect rate of 17%, versus Mayweather who landed 232 with a connect rate of 57%.

So, to sum up, since Gatti, Mayweather’s opponents, en route to mostly UD losses, have landed quite low punch totals against Mayweather:

Gatti – 41 (in six rounds)
Mitchell – 31 (in six rounds)
Baldomir – 79
Judah – 89
De La Hoya – 122

Hatton 63 (in ten rounds)
Marquez – 69
Mosley -92
Ortiz – 26 (in four rounds)
Cotto – 105
Guerrero – 81
Alvarez – 117
Maidana – 221 (amazing for Maidana!)
Maidana – 128
Pacquiao – 81
Berto – 83

So, there are two cases, if Mayeather stops McGregor or if Mayeather defeats McGregor by unanimous decision. Of course, Mayweather has slowed, he is over 40, and Conor McGregor is a good puncher with some amateur experience and anything can happen in boxing. But supposing that Mayweather manages to pull out the victory, there remains the question of how many punches McGregor lands.

I conjecture Mayweather will win by UD, because I just don’t see Mayweather being able to knock out the bigger, Tough McGregor who has seen far worse in UFC fights than Mayweather’s sharp and accurate punches. Moreover, he has the will and pride to not go down no matter how tired he is. McGregor may even surprise many with his boxing skill, after all it was the unorthodox Madiana that gave Mayweather the toughest fight of his career in their first match. However, Maidana was a volume puncher and McGregor is more of a counter-puncher like Juan Manuel Marquez.

What does Bob Smith predict will be the Compubox total? I argue McGregor will land between 69 and 81 punches, or somewhere between Marquez and Pacquiao en route to a unanimous decision loss. This is because he will take the fight seriously, not waste his punches and try for one of his powerful left hand shots. He will try to out think Mayweather in the boxing ring, despite his 0-0 boxing record. I also predict Mayweather will land more than 60% of his power shots and more than 200 punches overall.

In other words, in the end McGregor-Mayweather will look quite similar to McGregor and Berto. And the #1 boxer of all time according to Boxrec will retire with a perfect 50-0 career record and a pay day of more than $100 million.

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