Floyd Mayweather has yet to sign a deal to face Conor McGregor in the boxing ring just yet, meaning the bout is still far from a reality. But McGregor, who signed his side of the deal with the UFC, is preparing as if the fight is already confirmed.
In an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh discussed a number of topics surrounding the fight. While there are still some questions as to a date, weight class and other variables, Kavanagh’s specific plans for McGregor’s training camp are already forming.
"I have a pretty good idea on how I see the fight going," Kavanagh said. "Over the next three to four months, we need to put that plan into action. Drill it. See how it works in the gym. Mix and match the plan until we have it right for the night of the fight.
I will say this: Mayweather has proven himself to be perfect against guys who have trained purely in boxing. I was asked very early on, ‘Are you going to bring in Freddie Roach? He’s the greatest boxing trainer in the world right now.’
OK. I’m an evidence-based guy. I don’t make decision based on emotions. Has Freddie trained somebody to fight Mayweather before? Yes. And a southpaw. A hard-hitting southpaw! And the plan didn’t work. I don’t see a point in doing the exact same thing."
As some have predicted, McGregor taking on Mayweather in the boxing ring does not necessarily mean the Irish MMA star will begin training exactly like a boxer. Kavanagh recognizes the foolishness in that: to enter the ring with a traditional boxing style against a craftsman like Mayweather all but guarantees defeat, as he has bested fighters with far more ring experience than McGregor has. Instead, Kavanagh and McGregor are planning to use old-school tactics that Mayweather may not be as accustomed to.
"We’re not going to spend 10 to 12 years doing something one way and then, because it’s a boxing fight, change everything for three months and beat the best defensive boxer of all time. No. We’ve got to come at this with an MMA striking strategy. Of course, hands only, but maybe there are things we can do from an MMA perspective, which, if people study boxing from the early 20th century, those things were a bigger part in the boxing game than they are today. We’re bringing an old-school boxing approach."