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Conor McGregor’s Biggest Boxing Flaws

If you’re thinking of betting on the underdog for Mayweather/McGregor, this article (courtesy of the coaching staff at Warrior Punch) could save you some serious cash!

As our film study will show, Conor McGregor makes two fundamental boxing errors that could get him hurt on August 26th. While he hasn’t paid for them yet, Mayweather’s boxing audit will exploit every mistake he makes on fight night.

So without further ado, let’s get into it!

Boxing Mistake #1) McGregor Overextends His Punches

Though the debates rages on in the martial arts world, it’s generally believed that power is God-given, and in this regard McGregor is truly blessed. Unfortunately, McGregor knows it, and he makes many of the mistakes common to born punchers as a result.

It’s very common for people who’ve fallen in love with their power to overcommit to their punches. They want to make the most of their natural gifts, so they train to punch through their target every time. They hurl their hips and shoulders into every shot, sacrificing their balance, combination punching, and energy-efficiency to generate maximum power.

Here, we see McGregor doing just that:

mcgregor

Overlooking the flared elbow and lifted rear foot for now, let’s focus on the inefficiency of McGregor’s extension. The punch should have stopped in Frame 3 (bottom left), but he continues to drive through, well past the optimal “lock-out” point. Max power is McGregor’s goal; he’s of the mind that the further the punch travels, the harder it will be. This is the same thinking that drives streetfighters to cock their punching hand back before a haymaker. And while the theory is sound, the application is rarely pretty.

Think of a power punch as a car crash: the damage is done at the moment the two vehicles collide, not when the aftershock pushes the cars further down the road. In McGregor’s case, he extends the cross past the point of impact, spending energy on a “push” after the collision’s already occurred.

Frame 4 shows a classic over-extension. Conor his punches like this in all of his fights; you can see it happening against Barao, Mendes, Brimage, Poirier, and Aldo. His excessive follow-through generates a lot of power, but it’s a recipe for disaster against a counter-punching boxer of Mayweather’s calibre. It leaves Conor unbalanced and out of position to follow up with punches, and forces him to spend a lot of energy to recover.

Here’s another example:

mcgregor boxing

 

Look at how far McGregor ends up over the lead hip. He is completely overcommitted, and in no position to follow up with anything from his right (lead) side.

Overextending like this is a bad move against Diaz, who stays compact and controlled, but it’s strategic suicide against “TBE.” Beyond opening him up for big counter shots, these excessive movements threaten to burn him out down the stretch, something he’s been criticized for already in shorter fights with Nate Diaz.

Imagine trying to outlast someone in a squatting competition – would you stick to quarter squats, or go ass-to-grass every time? In this metaphor, Conor’s doing the latter. In contrast, Floyd Mayweather’s movements are more subtle and efficient, allowing him to spend less energy and stay balanced at all times. Simply put, Conor’s inefficient extension gives him a tremendous disadvantage in terms of endurance, punch volume, and defensive success.

Expect Floyd to wait for McGregor to overcommit, then light him up with combinations as he scrambles to recover, like Diaz did in their first encounter.

Boxing Mistake #2) McGregor Neglects a Basic Boxing Guard

McGregor has exceptional timing, agility, and boxing skills, but he neglects one of the most fundamental defenses out there. Call it the guard, the shell, the turtle; they’re all variations on static defensive hand positioning, and you’ll rarely see McGregor using any of them.

Looking back to his first fight with Nate Diaz, we get a very telling image contrasting how these two “MMA boxers” choose to enter punching range:

mcgregor boxing

McGregor forgoes basic blocking in favour of skillful slips and parries, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; after all, slipping keeps your hands free for offense, and parries give you as measure of control over the opponent’s parried hand. But these “active” forms of defense come at a cost.

We can see three instances where McGregor is successful in setting up his slip and counter game here:

mcgregor boxing

In Frame 1, McGregor is working a pull counter to set up a counter left cross. In Frame 2, he’s slipping left (outside the jab) to cock his counter left uppercut. In Frame 3, he’s slipping right (inside the jab) and throwing his overhand left simultaneously.

Looking further at McGregor’s “active” boxing defense, we see four instances of him playing his parry and counter game:

mcgregor boxing

In Frame 4, we see a cross-body parry; the same he used to knock Aldo out cold.

So what’s the problem with “active” boxing defense?

Unfortunately, although he has excellent timing and a pretty high success rate with these counters, these techniques are relatively energy-intensive, and using them exclusively will burn him out very quickly against Floyd Mayweather. This is especially true when you consider Floyd’s speed – Conor will essentially be “racing” Floyd’s punches when he slips, which means he’ll need consistent explosive output to make this form of defense work.

In my experience, it’s better to cover potential openings and be opportunistic about slips and parries than it is to rely on them exclusively. McGregor shouldn’t only block, but he’d benefit from doing it more.

Wrapping Up

Nothing’s certain in combat sports, but you can rest assured that these two fundamental boxing mistakes will get Conor into trouble on fight night. Conor will need to reel in his punches and incorporate more restful modes of defense if he hopes to outlast and even dethrone boxing’s best fighter.

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