Winklejohn: McGregor has a chance, but …

Monday, June 19, 2017

MayGregor on August 26 is scheduled for 12 boxing rounds; that’s 36 minutes of boxing and 11 minutes of rest, totaling 47 minutes. My contrast, an MMA title fight is scheduled for 5 MMA rounds; that’s 25 minutes of boxing and 4 minutes of rest, totaling 29 minutes. That pacing is different, and the ability to box for 12 rounds takes years to develop, in an exceptional athlete.

That is just one of the challenges Conor McGregor faces vs. Floyd Mayweather. Mike Winjklejohn appeared recently on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, and detailed what could happen.

“Oh, I think if I was to put money on it I’d put Mayweather,” said Winkeljohn as transcribed by Chuck Mindenhall for MMA Fighting. “But I think Conor has a chance early on. I think if Conor can come in with some different things that Floyd hasn’t seen, off-angle things that he can attack so Floyd can’t hide behind his shoulder as such, he could pull off a surprise.

“But that would play out real quickly if Conor’s thinking those thoughts.”

“He’s got to come to the table with something that Floyd hasn’t seen much before. And those are the things Conor can do. Conor’s very athletic. Conor’s got a great understanding of angles and footwork.

“But to do those things, that takes a lot of energy. And in a world title fight do you hold back because you’re worried about running out of gas, or do you just let it go? And that’s tough. That’s a hard call to make on the outside, trying to figure out what’s going on in a fighter’s mind.”

McGregor has gone to a decision only twice in his entire career, once for three rounds and once for five. Endurance is not his greatest strength. So he faces a painful calculus on August 26 – go crazy attacking from all angles, but risk gassing in minutes, or pace himself, against the greatest defensive boxer in history. Expect McGregor to go crazy trying to land the straight left, and expect him to tire and expect what inevitably comes next.