The Press Box Sports

McGregor had the Skill, But Lacked Conditioning and Experience

Floyd Mayweather Conor McGregor Fight

In Saturday night’s loss to Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor did something many thought would not happen. He proved many experts and analysts wrong. Yes, I know that he lost the fight. I also know that he was getting destroyed in the later rounds. I also know though, that he looked good early on. McGregor showed good technique and kept Mayweather off-balance in the first three rounds. He even looked solid in the fourth and fifth. He was great at countering punches. He wasn’t sluggish when he switched his stance. He was even connecting hard shots. So what happened? It’s actually pretty simple. He ran out of gas.

As the fight wore on, you could tell that Mayweather was trying to get McGregor to punch himself out. He was trying to give Conor false confidence that he was dominating. The only problem with that strategy was that McGregor was actually dominant early on. Mayweather hands down lost the first three rounds and the fourth and fifth could’ve gone either way. McGregor didn’t look like a novice going into his first professional fight ever. Instead, he looked pretty darn good. His technique was really good and he seemed to follow his game-plan perfectly in the early rounds.Then the lack of conditioning kicked in.

Even if letting Conor have the first few rounds was part of Floyd’s strategy, McGregor held his own in the boxing ring. Mayweather fans were getting nervous and rightfully so. It’s been over 700 days since Mayweather’s last fight before Saturday. He’s older and it showed in the ring. Floyd has lost a step or two, but that doesn’t mean he’s that much less of a fighter. As any crafty veteran, he changed his strategy. It worked well in the later rounds, but not so well early in the match. If McGregor didn’t become fatigued, he had a very good chance of beating Mayweather by decision. Conor did learn a valuable lesson about boxing Saturday night though. He learned that conditioning is crucial to success in the boxing ring.

While boxing and mma are both combat sports, the conditioning is very different. An mma fight is 25 minutes long while a boxing match is 36 minutes. That may not seem like a big difference to some, but it’s an eternity to an athlete. Especially one that isn’t a professional in that sport. Granted, you use more muscles in mma than in boxing, but you have to properly condition for a boxing match. In boxing, you’re constantly in you feet and moving. You’re also throwing a lot more punches. Once your wear down, that energy is lost. There’s no way of regaining it. You have to condition for a boxing match.

I’m not saying that McGregor laid down in training and slacked on conditioning. His issue was that he had to learn to box. He had to learn combinations, strategies, and what to do in certain situations. When you have a full plate, you won’t be as focused on some aspects. In this case, it was conditioning. You have to train your body to go a full twelve rounds. If you can’t make it to the end of a fight, winning fights will be uncommon. McGregor is in shape, he just wasn’t in boxing shape. He’s shown fatigue later in mma fights before, so adding on eleven minutes can be crucial.

Lack of experience can also be devastating to a fight. It even goes hand in hand with conditioning. Boxers know what to condition for. As your experience develops, so does the knowledge of what and how to workout. I’m sure McGregor thought that he was safe since a mma fight can go up to 25 minutes. Unfortunately, he was wrong along with his trainers. That’s where the lack of experience sets in. Conor had the skill, but he didn’t pace himself early in the fight. Neither him or his corner picked up on Mayweather’s strategy. It’s a huge misconception on their part. If McGregor had enough left in the tank, he could’ve possibly pulled out a decision.

Overall, McGregor performed significantly better than expected. You can’t take anything away from Mayweather though. He used his experience to create a solid game-plan and it paid off in the later rounds. It was risky though because McGregor was looking sharp. If McGregor had the proper conditioning, the later rounds could’ve had a different result. Up to the 10th round, the fight was separated by one point. I would say if Conor could do one thing over again, in would most likely be a better conditioning plan. For the record, the ref had no choice but to stop the fight. Just because McGregor didn’t go down, doesn’t mean that he wasn’t done. If he fought back, the ref probably would have let it go a little longer, but he didn’t fight back. Actually, he couldn’t fight back. It looked as if McGregor couldn’t even hold his arms up right before he got into trouble on the ropes. ┬áRegardless of all of McGregor’s miscues, he certainly did his part in making this an entertaining fight.

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