Not many boxing experts are giving UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor much of a chance to defeat boxer Floyd Mayweather, if that much-discussed bout ever comes off.
Hall of Famers Sugar Ray Leonard and Freddie Roach are among them.
But Roach, one of the great trainers in boxing history who has helped numerous MMA fighters with their striking, was perhaps the most outspoken of all of them.
Roach, who is best known for his work with Manny Pacquiao, has coached former UFC champions Georges St-Pierre, B.J. Penn and Anderson Silva on their striking.
Given he’s worked on both, his opinion of McGregor’s chance to upset the 49-0 Mayweather, carries more weight than most.
And though Roach has no love lost for Mayweather, don’t count him among the McGregor supporters.
“I’d love to see it,” Roach told FightHype. “He’s fun to watch. He’s a character. [But] he’s not that good of a fighter. He’ll let his hands go and so forth. He’s a little wild.
“He’s putting himself on a very high level. I think he’s more of a four-round fighter at this point.”
McGregor is the most accurate striker in all of MMA. But he’s never been in an amateur or professional boxing match so how he would be able to defeat an Olympic medalist and the greatest boxer of his generation is an open question.
McGregor attended a boxing match in New York on Friday in which he vowed to shock fans.
“Look me in the eyes, 28 years of age, confident as a [expletive], long, rangy, dangerous with every hand,” McGregor told reporters on Friday at Madison Square Garden. “Trust me, I’m going to stop Floyd and you’re all going to eat your words. The whole world is going to eat their words.”
Roach has coached against Mayweather and studied his style for years. He knows it as well as anyone and said it may be too complex for someone new to boxing.
“For [McGregor] to get ready and fight Mayweather it’s a different style,” Roach said. “[Mayweather is] probably one of the best boxers in the world today. He’s [Mayweather] not a risk-taker anymore. He’s not the most exciting guy in the world. But, he’s still a great boxer. [McGregor] can’t beat guys like that, in my opinion.”
Leonard said he doesn’t see it as a competitive boxing match. In his case, he views it as more of an entertainment event.
He’s fine with the fighters making big money off the bout – estimates are that it could soar past 3 million sales – but doesn’t want the public to be misled.
“It’s not that I don’t approve of it,” Leonard said on SportsCenter. “It’s entertainment. But it’s not boxing. Could it happen? Yes, it could happen. … If it’s boxing, Mayweather wins big time.”