McGregor has Diaz to thank for boxing license approval
When the idea of Conor McGregor boxing Floyd Mayweather was first broached over a year ago, a dubious UFC president Dana White questioned whether the bout would even be approved by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Mayweather was after all the greatest boxer of his generation, and McGregor had never boxed.
However, McGregor was licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the bout was approved. In an interview with Sky Sports, NSAC executive director Bob Bennett explained why.
“I reviewed UFC 202 which was a perfect indicator of Conor’s boxing abilities,” said Bennett, as transcribed by James Dielhenn. “Then I gave renowned trainer Virgil Hunter a call. I said, ‘I heard Diaz was a sparring partner for Andre Ward?’ Virgil confirmed that Diaz has sparred with Ward at least twelve times. As we know, Ward was a world super-middleweight champion and now a light-heavyweight champion.
“Diaz had also sparred a dozen times with Brandon Gonzales, a super-middleweight with a record of 18-1-1. He also sparred a dozen times with Andrzej Fonfara, a light-heavyweight with a record of 29-5.
“Virgil believes that Diaz could have been a world class boxer if he hadn’t become an MMA fighter. Virgil holds Diaz’s boxing ability in high regard.
“But then look at UFC 202 when McGregor fought Diaz, predominantly striking. McGregor knocked down Diaz in the first and second rounds. McGregor took some hellacious shots to his jaw from Diaz, and they didn’t move him. McGregor fired a number of shots that hurt Diaz.
“Watching McGregor in that fight did contribute to me finding [the Mayweather fight] approvable.”
“I met with McGregor’s manager on three occasions and viewed video that he provided from McGregor’s sparring sessions in Ireland. I did my own research in addition to watching him spar. This is an approvable bout – he’s the taller, longer, stronger, younger fighter. He has a 21-3 record in MMA with 18 TKO or KO wins.”
The NSAC is currently going to decide whether the bout can be contested with 8 oz. gloves as both parties have requested, rather than the regulation 10 oz. gloves.