HOW can Conor McGregor possibly beat Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match? McGregor is a master mixed martial artist, a discipline that does involve punching as well as striking with kicks, knees, elbows, not to mention grappling, wrestling and more.

But boxing is a different sport and McGregor hasn’t competed in it since he was a novice amateur in Ireland at the tender age of 16. The Irishman does have power, but for that to have an effect he’ll need to actually catch Mayweather. And we don’t know how effective his punches will be in 10 ounce gloves rather than the tiny MMA gloves.

McGregor is a left-hander but the suggestion that Mayweather ‘struggles with southpaws’ is faintly preposterous. Manny Pacquiao is the best welterweight southpaw in the world and he had little to no effect on Mayweather. In recent years Robert Guerrero and Victor Ortiz were both relatively high level southpaws that Mayweather handled with aplomb.

There is no rematch clause in the contract and by far the most likely outcome is for Mayweather to utterly bamboozle McGregor. Even if the Irishman is tough Mayweather’s speed and accuracy should hurt him. What would happen if McGregor, frustrated at attempting to box Mayweather elected to throw in a cheeky elbow, knee or kick, or decided to throttle Mayweather with a rear naked choke or some other MMA move? That eventuality is actually addressed in the contract.

UFC president Dana White maintains the chances of that happening are vanishingly small. “That will not happen,” White said bluntly. “First of all obviously that is absolutely in the contract number one and number two this is a boxing match under the Nevada State Athletic commission under the rules of boxing. When you talk about a guy of Floyd Mayweather’s level and value in the sport, the lawsuit if that ever happened! Conor likes money and Conor would depart with a lot of money if that ever happened. That will not happen.”

Remaining optimistic White said, “Conor McGregor told me [Wednesday] morning the McGregor clan has been taking over villages for the last 300 years and Floyd’s village is next… This kid eats pressure like nobody I’ve ever seen.

“This is Floyd’s world that he’s stepping in to. I’m really excited to see how he handles it that night. I’m really excited to see his gameplan when he starts executing that night, his gameplan of fighting Floyd. I’m always fascinated by Conor McGregor. I’ve been saying it all day and I’ll be saying it for the next couple of months. I stopped doubting this kid a long time ago so it’s going to be fun to watch.”

White claimed that this Mayweather-McGregor fight would outstrip Mayweather-Pacquiao. “I think this fight is bigger globally than Mayweather-Pacquiao was,” he suggested. “As much as a clusterf*** as I said the ticket situation was, people were rabid for tickets… The beautiful thing about the disaster that was that fight [in terms of promotion] is that everybody learned from it and it won’t happen again.

“This thing built itself. This is a fight that started from the ground up. The fans wanted to see this, the media went crazy about it,” he continued. “This is a fight that Conor wanted, Mayweather wanted and the fans wanted. So we’re doing it.

“I thought it would be an impossible to deal to do. It was the right fight in the right place at the right time and we got it done.”

Conor McGregor

Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza did not estimate its size but gave every indication he expected something huge. “There is no precedent. There is nothing to compare it against. We’ve never seen this kind of competition in the ring, we’ve never these types of personalities get together in a promotion and we’ve never seen a combat sports event or sporting event of this magnitude. So we’re going to have our calculators ready and all the batteries charged. The sky’s the limit,” Espinoza said. “There might be some interesting things we do with the prelims. That’s something we’re going to come together on and hope to make it an entertaining day.”

“This is not a referendum on the sport of boxing or the sport of MMA. What this is it’s a competition between Floyd and Conor,” he added. “That’s all it means. It’s not a victory for one sport of the other, regardless of who wins.”