Mayweather comments on McGregor’s potential dirty fighting
By Allan Fox: Floyd Mayweather Jr. got the chance to watch the video clips of Conor McGregor sparring former 2 division world champion Paulie Malignaggi recently, and noticed a lot of rabbit punches from McGregor during the brief clip.
Mayweather says McGregor was hitting Malignaggi on the back of the head, wrestling and landing other illegal shots. Mayweather is confident that the referee assigned to their August 26 fight, Robert Byrd, will make sure it’s a fair fight.
Mayweather-McGregor will be battling it out next Saturday night on August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight will be televised on Showtime PPV.
“It was interesting — a lot of illegal rabbit punching behind the head, grappling and a lot of illegal shots,” Mayweather said.
If McGregor starts to foul Mayweather, he’s going to need to keep watchful for return fouls. Who can forget what Mayweather did to Victor Ortiz when he head-butted him in their fight in 2011? Mayweather turned around and tagged Ortiz with two big shots to the head a fraction of a second after he apologized to him. The difference was, Ortiz wasn’t prepared to be hit, because he had apologized and was pulling back from having hugged Mayweather. Ortiz hit the deck and was counted out quickly by referee Joe Cortez. It was a terrible way to win, but Mayweather showed that he’s not beyond playing dirty himself if he feels he needs to. Mayweather isn’t the type that will turn the other cheek if McGregor starts fouling, and if referee Robert Byrd doesn’t life a finger to address the fouls.
McGregor may have gotten a lucky break when the Nevada State Athletic Commission assigned Robert Byrd as the referee for the Mayweather fight. Byrd didn’t do a whole lot of controlling Andre Ward’s wrestling in his first fight against Sergey Kovalev last November. Byrd took a hand’s off approach to the fight, letting Kovalev pry Ward off him instead of stepping in to pull the two fighters apart. If Byrd officiates in a comparable way with the Mayweather-McGregor fight, then we could see McGregor do a lot of wrestling and throwing short punches on the inside. As a matter of fact, that’s probably how McGregor should fight Mayweather. I doubt that he will though. It would take a good trainer to come up with a game plan like that.
It would be perfect though for McGregor to nullify Mayweather’s hand speed. The best way to nullify someone with faster hands is to stay in close so that they can’t use their hand speed. McGregor would have to be disciplined to get away with that tactic against Mayweather. If McGregor gives Mayweather any space at all, he’ll be battered and out-boxed.
“I’m pretty sure the referee’s going to be fair on both sides and treat both competitors fair … my job is to not worry about the referee. My job is to let the referee do his job,” Mayweather said to the latimes.com. “I just want a good, solid fight.”
Byrd will need to keep an eye out on McGregor to make sure he doesn’t decide to rough Mayweather up with his MMA tactics. It would be bad for Mayweather if he has to deal with McGregor fouling him for 12 rounds.