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Conor McGregor’s best weapon might be the unknown

Updated August 25, 2017 - 9:51 pm

Former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub has been among the biggest advocates for Conor McGregor’s chances of beating Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday.

Schaub sets the percentages of a McGregor victory at about 20 percent.

That constitutes a full-throated endorsement in the massive media tent located on Las Vegas Boulevard a few blocks south of T-Mobile Arena where the historic bout will take place.

A common theme among those that give McGregor a chance of handing Mayweather the first loss of his professional career is the power the UFC superstar possesses in his left hand.

Schaub, however, believes the unknown will be McGregor’s best weapon.

“Conor has shown nothing,” said Schaub, who is also a former NFL player and will serve as a studio analyst for Showtime on the broadcast. “Floyd hasn’t seen any footage. He doesn’t have any idea what to expect, and Floyd’s a cautious guy. He needs to download what McGregor is doing and then he won’t attack until he’s sure he can take advantage of his opponent. Conor’s movement and stance are going to be super awkward. That’s going to take a lot of time to process.”

Schaub said he thinks it will take until the third or fourth round before Mayweather is comfortable with what he’s seeing from McGregor.

If McGregor can’t end the fight early, he will have to find a way to continue keeping Mayweather off balance, Schaub said.

“At that point, Conor can switch to orthodox, and if that doesn’t work, he can just start making it dirty in there like Marcos Maidana did to Floyd,” Schaub said. “You’re looking at four to five rounds at least where he has a shot.”

Jon Anik sets the possibility of a McGregor victory at “a little more than 10 percent.”

The UFC play-by-play announcer reminds those giving McGregor no chance that the UFC lightweight champion has defied the odds throughout his career.

Anik said he thinks it was the right move for McGregor not to employ a boxing coach for training camp.

Mayweather has figured out every opponent’s style. The less McGregor looks like a boxer, the better chance he has to shock the world, Anik said.

“I believe there are a lot of unknowns and variables in this fight for Floyd Mayweather,” Anik said. “We just don’t know what we’re going to see early, and neither does Floyd. That’s where the chance lies that (McGregor) could land that big shot. Conor is the type of guy that if he knocks Floyd Mayweather down and there’s enough time in the round, he has the mentality to have a shot to close the deal.”

McGregor is more direct about his chances to win his boxing debut, saying he will just step forward and pressure Mayweather before overwhelming him with power.

“I’m gonna (expletive) this boy up, make no mistake,” McGregor said. “And when it’s all said and done, you know what? I’m going to feel a little bit sad, because you should have all left your mouth shut. You should have left me over in that game where I’m from, that more ruthless game where we bounce heads off the canvas and drill them through the floor. You should have left me where I was.”

McGregor is in the boxing world now. Whether he’s successful will be determined Saturday night.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.

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