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One major decision is bothering Floyd Mayweather ahead of his fight against Conor McGregor

Posted: August 16, 2017 at 2:22 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

LAS VEGAS – There shouldn’t be much reason for Floyd Mayweather to feel nervous ahead of what figures to be the final fight of his undefeated professional boxing career, against what some say will be his easiest opponent, for potentially his biggest paycheck.

Yet there is something gnawing at the back of Mayweather’s psyche with his clash against Conor McGregor less than two weeks out, and it stems from the misfortune of one of his greatest rivals.

Manny Pacquiao’s career will always be linked with Mayweather’s and discussions about their relative merits will focus as much on why it took them so long to fight as on the lopsided result – a Mayweather points victory – when they finally did meet in May 2015.

And it is Pacquiao’s painful recent disappointment, losing in a major upset against Australian underdog Jeff Horn in Brisbane in early July, that is bothering Mayweather.

“Hearing all this stuff about how (I) can’t lose and (McGregor) is a huge underdog is not good for your head if you think about it too much,” Mayweather said.

“Boxing is full of surprises and even though you prepare yourself in the best way you can there is always the chance of something you never dreamed of happening. That’s why this fight is exciting. Look at what happened to Pacquiao. Nobody gave (Horn) any chance in the fight, and then Pacquiao came out and lost.”

The oddsmakers in Vegas have McGregor a +350 underdog. By way of comparison, when he fought Miguel Cotto in 2012, the Puerto Rican was +700. Cotto is a four-weight world champion and a future Hall of Famer. The remarkably short odds on McGregor reflect the money that has already been wagered as opposed to his true likelihood of success.

Most of the existing bets have been for McGregor, often small amounts staked by romantics desperate to see a shock. One exception has been the Maloof brothers, Gavin and Joe, friends of Mayweather and former owners of the Sacramento Kings. The Maloofs have plumped down $880,000 on Mayweather, and plan to donate their winnings to charity.

“I don’t listen too much to what the people who make the odds say about my fights,” Mayweather added. “They are not the ones going in there, they don’t know everything that is going on. Some people are saying this fight is easy for me against Conor McGregor because of this and that, and they are the same people who were saying Pacquaio would win easy.”

Mayweather rarely contemplates defeat and that mentality has served him well in racking up 49 straight victories on the way to becoming arguably the best boxer of recent times. However, he is well aware that defeat to McGregor would be a monumental shock that would go down as one of the all-time biggest upsets in sports history.

“Floyd is not taking this guy lightly at all,” his business adviser Leonard Ellerbe said. “If there is one thing that all our experience over all these years in boxing has taught us, it is that anything can happen in this sport. It is unpredictable. When you have someone like McGregor who is coming in there with nothing to lose and has his heart and mind set on trying to knock Floyd out, that is something you have to give respect to. He is dangerous. We are not sleeping on McGregor. Don’t worry about that.”

Horn’s victory over Pacquiao created a stir in fight circles, with the decision subject to noisy criticism, especially in the United States. Part of that may have been due to the television commentary of ESPN’s Teddy Atlas, who stated during the fight that Pacquiao was winning handily and claimed afterwards that Horn’s decision victory was a travesty.

However, a later analysis of the judging by several respected officials ruled that the decision had been correct.

McGregor also watched the fight and chimed in on the discussion by saying that Pacquiao is one of few boxers, apart from Mayweather, with a name big enough that he would consider fighting them.

But he refused to buy into the theory that the Filipino star had been on the wrong end of bad judging.

“People were saying it was a bad decision,” McGregor said. “I didn’t see that. He got mauled.”



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