Examining the potential outcomes of Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather
Pre-fight analysis of Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather seems silly.
It's surely impossible to predict how McGregor will approach a boxing match because, well, he's never been in one before.
The main event on August 26 is definitely closer to a circus sideshow than a credible boxing match, in a good way, and nobody really knows what's going to happen when 'The Notorious' steps through the ropes for his professional debut against arguably the greatest of all time.
It still feels very surreal to consider the fact that the Nevada State Athletic Commission gave the green light to this bizarre contest but they did and we're not complaining.
And with just days to go before the world watches the two biggest draws in combat sports share a ring, we've taken a quick look at what *might* go down in Las Vegas.
1 - Conor McGregor starches Floyd Mayweather
Imagine it. Just imagine it for one second.
McGregor steps into the pocket, a straight left penetrates Mayweather's guard and that 40-year-old chin is hit flush. Mayweather hits the canvas.
The T-Mobile Arena erupts, with eyes bulging in disbelief, before murmurs of "49-1" reverberate around the crowd.
Conor McGregor immediately becomes the biggest athlete on the planet and as Mayweather comes to, 'The Notorious' embraces his dance partner and whispers "thank you for the opportunity" in his ear.
The men have just earned at least $100 million each and the commentators pretend that Mayweather's legacy remains unblemished but everyone knows that it's been irreparably tarnished.
Three weeks pass and talk turns to a rematch as accusations of "a lucky punch" are leveled at McGregor.
Understandably content to make another $100 million, McGregor makes it clear that he would prefer another crack at Mayweather rather over a return to the Octagon for $5 million.
Round 2 is booked.
2 - Floyd Mayweather wins all 12 rounds
It's what's supposed to happen.
Mayweather weathers an early storm but quickly downloads McGregor's patterns and dominates for the subsequent 35 minutes.
The undefeated boxer decides against pouring it on in pursuit of a finish and coasts to a decision.
"120-108, 120-108, 120-108," reveals announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. as Mayweather pats McGregor's head as a show of appreciation and respect.
Some boos can be heard but most are just impressed that McGregor was able to keep his exhausted legs under him for the latter rounds.
The camera cuts to Paulie Malignaggi, who seizes the opportunity to point towards the ring and announce that he'll see McGregor in there.
Malignaggi immediately gets on Twitter and starts his campaign for the payday of his life because, although McGregor was bested by Mayweather, he was not stopped and given the fact that the Irishman dropped Malignaggi in sparring, that match-up looks more competitive.
3 - Unanswered punches stop Conor McGregor
Floyd Mayweather might not have the explosive power to one-punch KO McGregor but he certainly has the technique to unleash a significant volume of punishing punches to his Irish opponent.
Several analysts point to this as the most likely outcome of the August 26 super-fight and it's very easy to envisage.
Mayweather rips the body early and, unaccustomed to the exhausting effect that body shots take, McGregor begins dropping his hands after a few rounds to protect his midsection.
Mayweather proceeds to mix things up between the body and head, going low with thudding hooks and whipping high when McGregor's guard falls.
McGregor takes a rare backwards step and finds himself cornered by Mayweather, a master of the ring, and referee Robert Byrd is given no choice but to wave the fight off after a series of unanswered punches in the corner.
It was a valiant effort but McGregor proved he had no business in the boxing ring against a top pro and he is forced to return to the Octagon.
The winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee awaits before he moves up to welterweight to meet Georges St-Pierre in the most lucrative fight in UFC history.
4 - McGregor does some mad shit
Stranger things have definitely happened.
Conor McGregor is not a dirty fighter by any means but, if Mayweather is at his best, then 'The Notorious' will have never experienced the kind of frustration that the boxing great imposes upon his opponents.
Arguably the most elusive fighter in the history of any discipline, Mayweather makes people miss which, in turn, makes them look a little stupid.
'Money' has managed to force top fighters like Manny Pacquiao, 'Canelo' Alvarez and Oscar De La Hoya find nothing but air despite their best efforts to land that one shot on Mayweather's chin.
So if McGregor feels like he's being humiliated and wants to find the easy way out or if he simply resorts to his MMA instincts under pressure, it's not exactly unfeasible to think that the Dubliner might unleash a roundhouse kick towards Mayweather's temple.
We're not saying that it's likely that Conor McGregor will throw a kick because, as his contract stipulates, he would part ways with 90 per cent of his fight purse if he decides to introduce a mixed martial arts technique into the fight.
But we're saying it's possible and during a year in which we find ourselves facing the prospect of nuclear war, it could well be the most shocking thing to happen in 2017.
As we said, stranger things have happened.