The one man who has boxed with Conor McGregor doesnâ€™t like the fighterâ€™s chances when he steps into the ring with Floyd Mayweather, Aug. 26 in Las Vegas. Chris van Heerden sparred with the Irish UFC champion last July and believes the bout wonâ€™t go the distance.
â€œHe doesnâ€™t have the skill to compete with Mayweather,â€ he said. â€œHe doesnâ€™t know how it feels to be a 12-round fighter. Conorâ€™s going to get tagged as the rounds go on, and I think the referee will come in eventually and stop the fight because Conor is going to take such a damn beating.â€
Odds makers agree with that assessment and have made the mixed martial arts champion a heavy underdog. The Westgate LV SuperBook has the champion a minus-1100 favorite and McGregor a plus-700. The overseas bookmakers have him anywhere from a 1-8 to a 1-12 favorite. McGregorâ€™s odds of winning are 5-1 to 6-1. The line for the fight being a draw is anywhere from 14-1 to 35-1 at one internet betting site.
The former IBO welterweight champion was out of shape when he agreed to mix it up with McGregor and the two sessions were right before the Nate Diaz bout last July.
â€œI was approached by the gym owners and I made it very clear that I didnâ€™t want any footage out there,â€ van Heerden told Yahoo Sports. â€œI was out of shape, Iâ€™d just come off holiday and I was just trying to help Conor. He didnâ€™t pay me one dime, not one dollar. He just asked me if I could move around with him, because at that time, he was getting ready for the rematch with Nate Diaz and he wanted a big southpaw to work with.â€
It was a surprise to the South African when an edited version of the practice was released to the media. The tape was made to make McGregor look like an accomplished boxer, van Heerden said. He released the full version and said it shows a different story.
â€œWas I impressed with Conor when I sparred against him? Yes, I was,” he said. â€œDid he show some boxing skills? Yes, he did. But it was a sparring session. I fooled around and I had just got back from South Africa.â€
Mayweather Should Dominate
Though it was nearly a year ago, van Heerden believes McGregor is not in the same class as the champion, who came out of a two-year retirement for a reported $100 million payday.
â€œI wasnâ€™t fazed or dazed by him, I could land when I wanted to land,â€ he said. â€œDid he land some shots? Yes, he did, heâ€™s a fighter.â€
That doesnâ€™t mean the boxer thinks there will be an upset.
â€œHe stands a puncherâ€™s chance against Mayweather,â€ he said. â€œOne lucky punch between lands that knocks Mayweather out, if anything.â€
Others have been quick to rule the fight a farce, most notably famed boxer, Oscar De La Hoya, who said it would be a travesty to the sport.