Floyd Mayweather has vowed to “go to” Conor McGregor in their August 26 bout and fight an offensive fight, but many are skeptical.
Mayweather traditionally fights a defensive battle, using his patented shoulder rolls and defensive tactics to avoid big punches and win by points.
The style is not without its critics. Many people think that Mayweather’s style can be dull to watch and that he should attack other fighters more rather than just avoiding them.
This was a complaint many had after his blockbuster fight with Manny Pacquiao in 2015 failed to live up to its billing. Many expect him to do the same against McGregor, an ill-suited opponent who really only stands a chance of beating McGregor if he can land a couple big shots.
It’s not a new complaint, however. In 2007, after Mayweather defeated Oscar De La Hoya, then the biggest opponent of his career, in a 2-1 decision, De La Hoya voiced the same complaint (via the Washington Post).
“I landed the harder, crisper punches,” De La Hoya said at the time. “I felt when I landed my punches I could see I was hurting him. If I hadn’t pressed the fight, there would be no fight.”
Likewise, after that fight, even Mayweather’s father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., said he thought De La Hoya should have won.
“I thought Oscar won the fight on points, threw more punches and was more aggressive. My son had good defense and caught a lot of his punches, but I still thought Oscar pressed enough to win the fight.”
Eight years later, Pacquiao said something similar after losing to Mayweather.
“I thought I won the fight,” Pacquiao said, adding, “He didn’t do nothing.” Pacquiao at one point referred to Mayweather as “running” from him.
Of course, some don’t see Mayweather’s style as an issue. Sam Girard, a Mayweather opponent from 1998 who quit boxing shortly after being knocked out in two rounds, told Business Insider that not getting hit is the name of the game.
“That’s the name of the game. You ain’t supposed to get hit, you’re not supposed to let guys hit you,” Girard said, while acknowledging that Mayweather does evade opponents a bit. “The name of the game is hit and not get it. And he does it real well.”
Time will tell if Mayweather will stick to his word and truly go after McGregor. But if he reverts back to his defensive style, don’t be surprised if McGregor, hardly a shy fighter, to also voice his disgust with it.