James “Buster” Douglas KO10 Mike Tyson. Leon Spinks W15 Muhammad Ali. Cassius Clay WRTD7 Sonny Liston. James J. Braddock W15 Max Baer. Lloyd Honeyghan WRTD6 Don Curry. Antonio Tarver KO2 Roy Jones Junior.
Each of the above stunned the boxing world, some of these wholly unforeseen results shocking the whole world; sporting and otherwise. The question now is, where would a Conor McGregor win over Floyd Mayweather rank alongside these momentous boxing upsets?
Though the betting odds are now somewhat close – and getting closer with each passing day thanks to the hoards of McGregor supporters who are piling money on their hero – the logical thinking says no way can a boxing novice having his pro debut beat as great a fighters as TBE: The Best Ever, as Mayweather calls himself (and maybe he is deserving of going down as the best defensive fighter ever – providing he wins on Saturday night of course).
This fight carries no 42/1 price as the Douglas-Tyson fight of 1990 did, but if McGregor somehow managed to pull off a win, a KO win in particular, would the result top even Douglas’ earth trembler? Very possibly. For although the likes of Douglas, Spinks, Braddock and Honeyghan were massive underdogs, they were, after all, boxers; men who had acquired amateur and pro experience ahead of their big night in the ring.
Would it be the biggest boxing upset ever if a man who had never boxed before managed, somehow, to topple an all-time great with a spotless 49-0 record? Again, very possibly. Right now, it’s incredibly hard to picture Mayweather either being dominated – outboxed! – or knocked out by McGregor. Close your eyes and you simply cannot picture it; at least I cannot.
The big outsiders listed above were given a shot in certain quarters, but practically no boxing fan or expert is giving McGregor anything more than a wild puncher’s chance. MMA fans, that may be a different story. Fans of the “rival” combat sport are picking McGregor to do it, and in doing so show that MMA fighters are tougher than boxers.
Deep down, though, MMA fans will also have to recognise a McGregor win over Mayweather as a monster upset. If it happens, that is.
Rest easy, boxing fans; it won’t.