Why Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather is a lopsided match

Will Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Conor McGregor come out on top on 
Aug. 26? Hint: Our experts predict a looooooong night for the Irish brawler. ESPN Illustration

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It's the best boxer of his generation, Floyd Mayweather Jr. (49-0, 26 KOs), against a mixed-martial artist with no professional boxing record whatsoever, Conor McGregor. Who will emerge on top in the spectacle of the year? ESPN's boxing and MMA experts, Dan Rafael and Brett Okamoto, agree: it's going to be a looooooong night for the brawler from Dublin.


DAN RAFAEL: Floyd Mayweather epitomizes the art of boxing: to hit and not get hit. At the time of his 2015 retirement, Mayweather owned a boxing-best plus-24.5 plus/minus rating, per CompuBox. He landed 43.4 percent of his punches, while opponents landed only 18.9 percent. Advantage: Floyd
BRETT OKAMOTO: Conor McGregor's takedown defense is pretty good, but that won't help him here, will it? Frankly, striking defense is not what he's known for. According to FightMetric, McGregor has defended just 57 percent of strikes during his UFC career, worst of any current male champ. Advantage: Floyd

D: Mayweather has only 26 knockouts in 49 fights, so he goes 12 rounds as easily as the rest of us breathe. He's breezed through 12 rounds in his past seven fights and 12 of his past 14. Since his 17th fight, every bout but one has been set for the championship distance. Advantage: Floyd
B: One could easily argue McGregor is the most ferocious first-round fighter in MMA. He has finished about half of his pro bouts inside the opening round. As impressive as that is, it's a potential concern here. He has fought past the third round only once. Advantage: Floyd

D: Only a few times has Mayweather even been shaken, notably against Shane Mosley and Marcos Maidana. Officially, he's been knocked down only once, when the referee blew a call in a 2001 fight against Carlos Hernandez. Advantage: Floyd
B: The Irishman has a beard on him, no doubt. Nate Diaz hit McGregor 166 times, and he didn't go down. The heavy-hitting Chad Mendes blasted him in 2015, but he wore it fine. He's not invincible, but he can take a punch. He's also the younger, bigger man in this matchup. Advantage: McGregor


D: In his younger days, Mayweather was known as one of the fastest fighters in boxing with his hands and his feet. He's 40 now, but even in his final fight before retirement in 2015, Mayweather's speed and reflexes in throwing and avoiding punches remained elite. Advantage: Floyd
B: McGregor is a gifted athlete, but his speed is by deception. After the Jose Aldo knockout, he famously said "precision beats power, and timing beats speed." He doesn't have blazing hands and feet; he's fast because he lives in your head and already knows your next move. Advantage: Floyd

D: If there's one area in which Mayweather is just a regular fighter, it's power. His KO rate is a middling 53 percent. He hasn't scored a KO since a controversial fourth-round stoppage of Victor Ortiz in 2011. But power has never been Mayweather's game and never will be. Advantage: McGregor
B: In March, McGregor posted an Instagram photo of his left hand. The caption: "This left hand made me millions." Yes, it did. More than 
85 percent of his wins are by knockout. He won both of his UFC titles, plus a U.K.-based Cage Warriors championship, via knockout. Advantage: McGregor

D: Mayweather has seen it all. As a gifted amateur, he won a bronze medal in the 1996 Olympics after being robbed in the semifinals. As a pro, he's faced almost every big name of his time and done so in the crucible of the sport's biggest stage. Advantage: Floyd
B: McGregor's fighting roots are in boxing, in Ireland's Crumlin Boxing Club. He's always had comfort in the pocket, which he credits to his amateur boxing. That said, he's agreed to rules vastly different from those in his own arena. He's also facing one of the best ever. Advantage: Floyd

D: Easy work for Mayweather, who'll see what McGregor has for a few rounds and then pick him apart. He'll get inside a tiring McGregor's wild shots and KO him in about Round 7.
B: Pressure on Mayweather to win big plus McGregor's willingness to take chances should equal a rare Mayweather stoppage. Mayweather KO in the 11th round.