Mayweather vs. McGregor: Predictions from Times staff

         Conor McGregor is going to get kicked out of this fight. Seriously. Literally. This is how it will end.

It will be the eighth round. Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be completely in control, frustrating the wild-swinging McGregor with his elusiveness and balance, landing enough punches to occasionally stagger McGregor but not quick enough to knock him down.

McGregor will slowly become bloody, his face slowly swelling from the beating, his eyes growing wide from the stark realization that boxing is not his sport and this is not a fight he can win.

So, what the hell, in the middle of the eighth round, he’ll kick him. McGregor will drop his hands, lift his left leg, and kick Mayweather smack in the side of the face.

He’ll kick him like he’s kicked his 24 UCF opponents. This is what McGregor does. This is who he is. It will be the first moment in the entire fight that he will seem comfortable. The kick will come as natural to him as his next breath. 

Mayweather will stagger back in shock, the crowd will scream, referee Robert Byrd will stop the fight by disqualification, McGregor will shrug and smile, and everyone will immediately start scrambling around to make the rematch.

Admit it. You know this could happen. You’re probably cheering for this to happen. Why else would you be watching this fight?

— BILL PLASCHKE, Times columnist

Conor McGregor has said much about defeating Floyd Mayweayther Jr. on Saturday night.

But let’s be serious.

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Now that the fight is at hand and McGregor has ensured prize money that should exceed $100 million, everything that follows the opening bell will be about how to spin this forward.

Mayweather will pick McGregor apart in a true boxing match, so McGregor has to bring the fight to Mayweather in the early rounds. He has to hope that being close and landing one of his heavy left hands will affect the40-year-old, five-division world champion who hasn’t fought in almost two years.

I would argue McGregor doesn’t even have a puncher’s chance given Mayweather’s first interest in defense.

Mayweather “can go 12 rounds in his sleep,” as gifted Southland trainer Manny Robles told me, so he can be intent to let McGregor start to tire after three rounds of intense pursuit. Then he will begin to dismantle the Irishman with jabs, body shots and clean punches.

This form of execution is Mayweather’s choice, captured in Mayweather’s faked hand pistol shots at McGregor during Friday’s animated weigh-in at T-Mobile Arena.

The fact that this fight is entertainment first does give me pause to strongly consider if McGregor, at some point in frustration, attempts some rough play allowed only in MMA fights as part of an exit strategy back to UFC.

And I’ve also wondered how “Money” Mayweather can’t consider the idea of walking into a heavy punch, taking a loss and setting up two more fights for even more cash.

But I’ll give Mayweather’s interest and dedication in boxing the benefit of the doubt here, and say he’s going to underline his belief that his sport is the king of combat sports.

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Through repeated blows in a technical masterpiece, Mayweather wins by eighth-round technical knockout and heads back to retirement with a 50-0 record.

— LANCE PUGMIRE, Times boxing writer

Admittedly, I haven’t been around Conor McGregor much. But I can tell you the McGregor who was in Los Angeles for the first stop of his four-city press tour with Floyd Mayweather Jr. last month isn’t the same person I’ve seen this week.

McGregor has looked scared in Las Vegas, and understandably so. This isn’t a fight. This is the best boxer of his generation attacking a practically defenseless man.

Mayweather’s 40, but that shouldn’t make a different. Mayweather could be 50 and he would still be favored here.

Mayweather has said he would take the fight to McGregor and while that seems out of character for him, I’m inclined to believe him.

Mayweather walked down Zab Judah, whom he correctly determined was incapable of throwing punches while in retreat.

He also walked down Shane Mosley. Judah was once an undisputed welterweight champion. Mosley is a future Hall of Famer. If Mayweather can stalk and dismantle fighters of their quality, he can certainly do the same to a novice such as McGregor.

How long the fight lasts is entirely up to Mayweather. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to blast out McGregor early, which could prevent the audience from seeing the extent of McGregor’s incompetence.

Doing so might even earn him some undue credit for the farcical win. The more likely scenario is that Mayweather takes his time, advances behind a high guard, methodically breaks down McGregor and stops him between the fourth and seventh rounds.

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Something to keep in mind: the longer the fight lasts, the more head shots McGregor will take and the more likely he gets seriously injured in this fight. Referee Robert Byrd better be alert.

Prediction: Mayweather wins by fourth-round knockout.

— DYLAN HERNANDEZ, Times columnist