Boxing

Only one winner in Las Vegas Mayweather vs McGregor showdown

Floyd Mayweather is arguably the best boxer of the last 30 years and he should be far too good for Conor McGregor in Las Vegas on Saturday night Picture: PA

IF you can’t be in Las Vegas this weekend, Dublin might be the next-best option with an action-packed couple of days in store.

As if Tyrone taking on the Dubs at Croke Park on Sunday wasn’t enough to get the pulse racing, Kerry and Mayo decided to do it all over again this Saturday for the honour of taking the first place in the All-Ireland final on September 17.

And sandwiched between those epic encounters, in the wee small hours of Sunday morning, comes the small matter of Dublin’s other ‘Notorious’ son, Conor McGregor, taking on Floyd Mayweather in Vegas.

This fight has split opinions from the moment it was rumoured, never mind announced.

We were told that it could never happen, that McGregor wouldn’t be willing, or able, to make the switch from MMA to to boxing.

Yet the two-weight UFC champion has indeed agreed to cross over to take on arguably the best boxer of the last 30 years on his own terms, simply because the fans demanded it.

The $100m on offer for each man had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Opinions about the appeal of this weekend’s match-up are still wildly spilt, with some sports fans genuinely intrigued, and others seeing it as a hype job, set up cynically to line a couple of already bulging pockets.

Either way, the bookies aren’t complaining about the fight being made, with the money coming thick and fast since the announcement.

And the majority of that cash has been for McGregor, who unbelievably is now as short at 10/3 with Paddy Power to do what no actual boxer has been able to do and defeat Mayweather.

‘Money’ seemingly retired after defeating Andre Berto at a canter in September 2015, bringing his record to 49-0, but the temptation to bring that record to a round 50 wins has proved too much.

It has nothing to do with the cash.

McGregor’s camp will be pinning their hopes on the chance the two years out of the ring have completely slowed down Mayweather, and that at 40 he has forgotten everything he ever knew about ringcraft and defensive masterclasses.

The one big advantage McGregor has is age. At 29 he should have the edge in fitness, but he has given every other thing in his favour away.

Yes, he has an impressive fighting instinct, a huge heart for a battle and a fair bit of punching power, as he proved by sparking Jose Aldo out, but he has to first get a glove on Mayweather, something the likes of Manny Pacquiao and Saul Alvarez have largely failed to do in the last few years.

That Mayweather can be backed at 3/10 with Bet365 is unbelievable and if I had a few grand to spare I’d class this as buying money.

He should probably be priced up at around 1/20.

For example, if Dublin, as All-Ireland champions, decided they could beat Champions League holders Real Madrid at their own game, what price would you be offered? Not 10/3 anyway.

To my mind, there is next to no chance that McGregor can win this fight.

He may or may not have proved his boxing capabilities by flooring Paulie Malignaggi in sparring a couple of weeks ago, but even if that footage told the whole story, Mayweather is another huge step up the ladder.

The Dubliner will try and make the contest as rough and unorthodox as he can.

Malignaggi has predicted that McGregor will try and hold, wrestle and scrap his way through the 12 rounds, and that is probably his only realistic option if he is to go the distance.

Mayweather has seen most things in his 49-fight career, but he won’t have been faced with the type of challenge McGregor presents, and the American’s natural caution means he might take a few rounds to figure things out.

But he has an almost unparalleled boxing brain and Mayweather will find a way to get the job done with as little fuss as possible and slip off into retirement yet again.

The 3/10 is far too big and is bound to tempt some punters, but the normal man on the street will want something bigger than that to get involved.

I’m expecting ‘Money’ to get his man out of there in the mid-section of the fight, so the 7/2 quoted by Boylesports about him winning between rounds five and eight is certainly of interest.

Another thing that is a distinct possibility is McGregor rubbing referee Robert Byrd up the wrong way, so Paddy Power’s 5/2 about him being docked a point for any rules infringement also appeals greatly, while the 14/1 offered by Unibet about a Mayweather win after a McGregor disqualification shouldn’t be dismissed.

The events in Las Vegas certainly have intrigue, and the hype is

only going to build as the week goes on.

But don’t be fooled by the sales pitch.

There is only one winner of this one.

It’s all about the ‘Money’.

Have A Punt

Floyd Mayweather to beat Conor McGregor in rounds 5-8, 7/2 (Boylesports)

McGregor to be docked a point for rules infringement, 5/2 (Paddy Power)

Mayweather to win due to a disqualification, 14/1 (Unibet)

THE Wyndham Championship turned into something of a hard luck story for Irish golfers at the weekend, with Shane Lowry, Seamus Power, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell failing to do enough to extend their PGA Tour seasons into the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Rory McIlroy is the only man from these shores left standing going into this week’s first playoff event, The Northern Trust, at Glen Oaks Country Club in New York.

And given his fitness concerns, it is hard to have any real faith that McIlroy will last the four event course as he seeks to defend the FedEx trophy he won last term.

He is currently 44th in the standings and will need one big week to make sure he is in the top 30 for the season-ending Tour Championship at the end of September.

As it is, the Holywood man is amongst the top 125 players who are eligible for The Northern Trust, with 120 of those taking their places.

The top 100 will move forward to next week’s Dell Technologies Championship in Boston, before the numbers are trimmed to 70 and then the final 30.

Some big names, such as Bubba Watson and Luke Donald, will need a good performance at Glen Oaks, which is hosting a tour event for the first time.

The Northern Trust was known as The Barclays until this season, with Patrick Reed the defending champion after winning at nearby Bethpage Black last term.

And while we are on a new course, the event has always been rotated around the New York and New Jersey area and certain players seem to shine in that region.

Hideki Matsuyama is the jolly this week and deserves real consideration at 11/1 in a star-studded line-up that also includes Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson.

However, Jason Day has been creeping back into form and his record in the New York area makes him the main pick for this one.

The Aussie is a 20/1 shot with Boylesports and he has to be backed. He would have been right in the mix at the US PGA last time out but for a quadruple bogey at the 18th on Saturday, while he won The Barclays in 2015, was second in 2014, and fourth last term.

In addition, Day (left) was runner-up to Jimmy Walker in the US PGA at nearby Baltusrol last term and a return to the Big Apple might serve him, well so back him each-way at the 20s.

Elsewhere, it would be no surprise if Henrik Stenson follows up his win at the Wyndham with another big week.

The Swede hadn’t tasted victory since the Open Championship last July until Sunday, but he has a long history of competing consistently when he gets into the groove.

Stenson won the FedEx Cup in 2013 thanks to two playoff victories in the space of three weeks, while he also tasted success in Germany just a fortnight before his Open triumph last summer.

He is more than capable of going back-to-back, and he should certainly get into the mix at least, so at 25/1 with Boylesports he has to be backed to give Day most to do.

Have A Punt

Jason Day, The Northern Trust, e/w, 20/1 (Boylesports)

Henrik Stenson, The Northern Trust, e/w, 25/1 (Boylesports)

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