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Road to Mayweather-McGregor: A Coach's View


With the training camp for middleweight boxing champion Gennady Golovkin’s September bout with “Canelo” Alvarez underway, Abel Sanchez, the longtime coach of “GGG,” hasn’t had a lot of time to analyze the Aug. 26 matchup between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.

But if Sanchez didn’t have Golovkin or any of his other fighters in camp and the UFC lightweight champion showed up at his door in Big Bear, California, he knows what it would take to get “The Notorious” one ready for battle.

“It would be very difficult,” Sanchez said of preparing McGregor to compete against Mayweather. “But I think if I agreed and was going to work with him, I would work him on a lot of sparring and not necessarily hard sparring, but just situations to get him to gauge distance and get him to move his hands.

“The only chance he’s got is to move his hands and be faster than Floyd and first before Floyd and just touch him.”

"The only chance he’s got is to move his hands and be faster than Floyd and first before Floyd and just touch him." 

So quantity, not quality, would be the key for McGregor -- who has never boxed professionally -- to pull off the upset over the best boxer of this era.

“They say (McGregor) is a big puncher, and if he waits for an opportunity to land a shot, he’s gonna get drilled by Floyd while waiting,” Sanchez said. “So what I would try to do is get him to understand that he’s got to work three minutes out of three minutes and move his hands. Obviously he’s got to be in great shape to do that, so that would be part of it, and that’s why I’d worry about having enough time to get to that point.”

The high altitude of Big Bear wouldn’t hurt in terms of cardio, but even if McGregor is in the best shape possible, is there something an offensive wizard like Sanchez could put together to level the playing field a bit for the Irishman?
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“You can put an offense together where he’s got enough stamina in his shoulders and in himself to be able to work the three minutes,” Sanchez said of McGregor. “He’s not going to be perfect, he’s not going to be Floyd, he’s not going to throw perfect punches, but if he moves his hands and can do it for a consistent three minutes for as many rounds as he can go, then he has a chance.

“He has to make Floyd uncomfortable, and the only way he can make Floyd uncomfortable is to throw shots. He’s a bigger guy than Floyd, but if he’s waiting to land one on the chin, it may be all night. So he needs to hit him anywhere. Just piss him off and hopefully, while you’re moving your hands, he makes a mistake and you catch him.”

In other words, Mayweather is the favorite, but McGregor’s dream isn’t an impossible one. And when you throw in McGregor’s unyielding belief in his ability to pull off the upset, the gap between the two may be closing a bit.

“He has nothing to lose,” Sanchez said of McGregor. “Nothing. But Floyd can look bad if he doesn’t dominate the way he should dominate.”

So a man with nothing to lose is a dangerous man?

“Absolutely,” the renowned trainer said. “You’re talking about a guy whose bravado is as big as he is. He thinks he’s it, and that makes him very dangerous. The more rounds he goes, the better it is for Conor McGregor.”