Opinion: Can Conor McGregor shake up the boxing world with a win over Floyd Mayweather?

OPINION: So, here it is, fight week for the biggest sporting event in history - in financial terms anyway. Are you excited? Do you care? Well, either way, it's happening. The two biggest motormouths on the planet (despite their crass, limited vocabularies) will face off in a boxing ring on Sunday (NZT).

As Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor taper down training, the build-up has been somewhat strange. The Paulie Malignaggi sparring controversy, with the Irishman disclosing footage and the ensuing war of words.

A global publicity tour, which died a death very quickly, as everyone realised how boring it is to watch two people abusing each other, no matter how much bling they wear.

And the normally uber-confident Mayweather proclaiming he isn't the fighter he used to be, in order to generate more interest - which hasn't really worked.

But what does make this bout fascinating is there are so many unanswered questions:

Can McGregor box?

The big one, that's impossible to answer right now. But if the sparring sessions are anything to go by, he's a long way short of being able to catch up with the elusive Mayweather.

In terms of balance, weight transference and ring movement (as an MMA superstar who uses kicking and wrestling inside an octagon), there's no way he can adjust effectively in just a few months. And, up against the greatest fighter of his generation, this is McGregor's ultimate Achilles' heel.

Opinion: Can Conor McGregor shake up the boxing world with a win over Floyd Mayweather?
Photo credit: Getty Images
Opinion: Can Conor McGregor shake up the boxing world with a win over Floyd Mayweather?
Photo credit: Getty Images
Opinion: Can Conor McGregor shake up the boxing world with a win over Floyd Mayweather?
Photo credit: Getty Images

Is anything in McGregor's favour?

He is 11 years younger and in the shape of his life. He looks spectacular in terms of muscle mass, strength and flexibility. While the cardio and physical conditioning for boxing is unique, there can be no doubting his fitness level.

And he's definitely won the mind games. No-one has ever intimidated Mayweather in this fashion. Fights are often won outside the ring, as the great Muhammad Ali illustrated. But the biggest advantage for CM is that the American has no idea what's coming - and, ironically, McGregor probably isn't sure either. It's a one-off... and that will give the underdog immense confidence.

What chance of an upset?

I don't think I've read any boxing pundit predicting a McGregor victory (and Chris Eubank doesn't count). Bookmakers' odds have got closer in recent weeks, but Mayweather is still a clear favourite.

However, just under two years out of the ring is a huge period of time, without a knockout in six years. Could Mayweather be ring-rusty? McGregor's game-plan has to be a stoppage ... it's surely impossible for him to outbox his opponent.

But no-one has been able to knock out Mayweather in his illustrious, unbeaten career - how on earth does rookie McGregor suddenly have the tools?

Is this bout good for the sport of boxing?

It's a rather pointless question being bandied about, because it's impossible to deliver a definitive answer. A more important question is, "Why is this fight happening?" Mayweather has been brutally honest ... it's money.

And the Irishman has already said he will return to MMA, so there's no love lost for the sport, is there? The build-up has been crude, foul-mouthed, trashy and lacking class.

Ticket revenue has also been disappointing, with the secondary market offering seats for US$1500, failing to sell-out  they were around $4000 for Mayweather vs Pacquiao. Turns out the public isn't that interested after all.

In conclusion, I'm going down the pub to watch it. But for Joshua vs Klitschko, I bought the pay-per-view because it was a genuinely important contest. I wanted to take in the undercard and concentrate on what was going on, it had a special feel. I'm guessing most of you will stroll down to the pub as well.

Mayweather vs McGregor is not worth paying for, because it's a circus show. Mayweather will go back to running his strip club and being a stand-up guy, while McGregor probably won't box again and quit all combat sport in a few years.

But wouldn't it be great if Mayweather got spanked and failed to surpass Rocky Marciano's 49-0 record? It's the hope that kills you….I just can't see it happening.

Alex Bell is a boxing contributor to Newshub.