Many people cannot wait to see Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor square off in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini is not one of those people.
“(The fight) won’t break records, but I got to be honest with you: There’s more people buying it than I thought,” the former boxer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “At first, I said, ‘Look, this is a spectacle. It’s not an event.’ I don’t think that many people are interested. I certainly know that boxing people aren’t interested.”
Mancini, 56, has disliked pretty much everything about this fight.
“First of all, that press conference, that was just a disgrace,” he said. “That was an absolute disgrace not only to sports – my sport, boxing – or MMA people; it was a disgrace to anything. These guys are two pigs. There’s a way of promoting a fight. You don’t have to do things they did, you don’t have to talk the way they did, if it’s a real fight; the fight sells itself. But since they got to bang the drum, so to speak, and say, ‘Look at me,’ and (call each other names) – I’ve been to plenty of press conference, but that was an absolute disgrace, how they talk in front of people, kids. Why would you watch it then? If it was a real fight, they wouldn’t have to sell it like that.”
Mancini also cannot believe that a growing number of people think McGregor is going to win.
“People actually believe – actually believe – that McGregor can win this fight and will win this fight,” Mancini said. “I shouldn’t say can win; anybody can win. In any contact sport, in any combat sport, if you get tapped on the chin, you get caught. But I just don’t see this happening in any respect. . . . It’s a spectacle. People have drank the Kool-Aid. The public has drank the Kool-Aid. I think the best part of this whole spectacle was the press conferences. I think that was the best part. That’s what you paid for. That’s the event.”
McGregor backers point to the fact that 18 of his 21 MMA wins have come via knockout. He’s also, for what it’s worth, never been knocked out. All three of his losses have come via submission – and he’s lost just once in the last seven years.
Mancini is not impressed, at least not from a boxing standpoint.
“Mayweather has fought some of the best punchers over the last 20 years,” he said. “This guy (McGregor) has never thrown an actual punch. He’s knocked people out? Yeah, MMA guys. They keep talking about how McGregor can punch. They said he’s bigger and stronger. Mayweather has fought bigger and stronger guys most of his career. That don’t mean nothing.”
McGregor’s only chance, Mancini said, is to make the match “a dog fight.”
“That’s the only way you beat Mayweather – is make it a dog fight,” he said. “This guy will try to do that. Then it could be entertaining. This guy’s as tough as nails. We know that. He gets kicked in the head. But he’s never been punched on the chin. Most of these guys can’t take a shot. . . . If Mayweather realizes this guy’s tougher than he thought and he’s not going to knock him out, then he’ll just slap him around for 12 rounds. That doesn’t benefit anybody. . . . The only way McGregor beats him is come out, make it a dog fight and hopefully catch him with something. It’s never impossible, but it’s close to being impossible with this guy.”