By: Sean Crose
John Kavanaugh, the trainer of MMA superstar Conor McGregor, is reportedly uneasy about McGregor fighting again unless it’s an IMPORTANT fight – a rematch with one of his former top MMA foes, perhaps. Why has the man behind the UFCs biggest superstar gotten hesitant about his fighter’s future? One of the factors is reportedly that McGregor was knocked down by a Khabib Nurmagomedov punch during McGregor’s last fight. As far as Kavanaugh is concerned, the old Conor would never have endured such a shot. It’s easy to take this report as an indication that perhaps McGregor, who is nothing if not game, is simply starting to slip after too many cage wars. Then, however, his 2017 boxing match against Floyd Mayweather comes to mind.
Something few talk about is how badly beaten up McGregor was during that fight. Sure, the man had some good rounds, but as the bout wore on, Mayweather laid a beating on the guy, a slow, methodical beating. In the tenth round, Mayweather landed 16-20 clean and unanswered head shots before referee Robert Byrd wisely stepped in and stopped the fight. That’s 16-20 shots, from a professional boxer. Not just a professional boxer, but a professional boxer who most consider to be the best of his generation. Such things have an impact…just as Mayweather’s one sided thrashing of Japanese MMA star Tenshin Nasukawa today will undoubtedly impact Nasukawa’s psyche and perhaps his future career.
Boxing isn’t like other combat sports. It relies on slickness and fluidity in a way others don’t. For this reason, some fans – and even a few participants – of other combat sports tend to write boxing off as a wimpy cousin, something that a “real fighter” doesn’t need to take too seriously. Such thinking is fine outside the ring. Once the participant from another sport engages in an actual boxing match, however, things can literally become dangerous. I’ve little doubt George Foreman could have crushed Muhammad Ali in a parking lot. The two men didn’t fight in a parking lot, however, they fought in a boxing ring – and Ali laid Foreman out. Something to think about.
Nasukawa was – and still should be – seen as an incredibly impressive athlete. Watch clips of him that don’t involve Mayweather and it’s hard not to be impressed. He’s a buzzsaw with skill, a guy who can use his hands and feet with frightening speed and precision. It’s easy to see why people thought it was a good idea for him to fight Mayweather. Like McGregor, Nasukawa’s camp probably assumed that Floyd couldn’t really hurt their man. Mayweather’s never been known as a power puncher, after all. What, they probably asked themselves, was the worst that could happen against a 41 year old former ring great? It’s doubtful anyone on Nasukawa’s team thought for a second that Mayweather would demolish their man the way he did today.
For the uninitiated, the fight didn’t make it past the first round. Floyd, smiling in a way that was reminiscent of a prime Jack Johnson, simply walked his man down and punched the guy’s lights out, dropping the far smaller Nasukawa a total of three times before the poor kid’s corner wisely stepped in and stopped things. Afterwards, the twenty year old Nasukawa cried, while the 41 year old Mayweather danced. There was reason, after all, for the man to dance. Word is he earned nine million dollars for under three minutes’ work. Some are now saying the fight was fixed. That seems like silliness to me. The only thing that seems fixed is a mindset that says Floyd isn’t a dangerous fighter…and that boxing, at least in relation to other combat sports, isn’t that dangerous of an endeavor.
Enter at your own risk.