Experience Matters

I recently was at a dinner in Las Vegas where the upcoming Mayweather v McGregor conversation inevitably came up. We went around the table remarking on how McGregor is no match for Mayweather. I was finally surrounded by boxing fans. This wasn’t an argument of who was tougher or who was the better fighter… it came down to who is the better boxer. A quite obvious answer. There was some quibbling of what could happen. But ultimately the doctrine of 10K hrs squashed all doubts; thank you prophet Malcom Gladwell.

Hour x Hour

The experience that Mayweather has in the ring compared to McGregor glaring… its astounding. Before we dive down, remember that McGregor has 0 minutes in professional boxing. Zero. Can you imagine a young aspiring small animal veterinarian standing in for the world’s foremost pediatric heart surgeon? Stretch of a comparison, sure, but consider this – these doctors may have taken some of the exact same classes and share similar understanding or practices. Could the vet pull the heart surgery off? Maybe, but I don’t like his chances. Mayweather is so specialized in technical field that he is a master. McGregor, while talented, is not equipped to face Mayweather.

Mayweather has been in a professional boxing match 49 times. A boxing round last 3:00 minutes and he has gone 12 rounds 19x’s in his career or just under 39% of the time. Almost 70% of his fights go to six round or more, which is a hair under 10 hours alone. In total he has fought +1K minutes in the ring or almost 19 hours in total. Ignore my early analogy for now as heart surgeons can be in a single surgery for several hours, but don’t think for a second Mayweather isn’t training and prepping. You don’t stay on top for this long without wholly dedicating yourself to one thing.

Mayweather Count of Professional Fights
Mayweather Total Fights Over the Years
Mayweather Total Professional Ring Time

Lets do some ultra conservative assumptions for training hours: (1) Floyd trains at least 30 hours a week (by trains I mean living and breathing boxing), (2) he trains for 45 weeks out of the year (seven weeks off I think is generous!), and (3) his professional boxing career has spanned at least 19 years (pro debut in 1996, semi retired in 2015). Following this equation means that training alone would account for +25K hours (19 years*45 weeks*30 hours). He is a master 2x’s over! To visualize these hours, picture the famous Eddie Robinson Stadium (Grambling State Football! Don’t tell me you don’t remember them!), which has a capacity of close to the approximate 25K hour calculation above. Another way to think about this is that +25K hrs translates to +1K days (25K hrs/24 hrs) or just shy of 3 years (+1K/365 days). An incredible amount of time.

Boxing over and over and over… thinking about boxing… being an actual professional boxer, which McGregor is not. Again, McGregor is NOT a boxer.

Punch x Punch

Given the amount of time in the ring and training, Mayweather has found a winning formula over his 20 year career — defense. He is as technically sound as anyone to ever box. His ability to counter with speed and precision is remarkable. The only chance McGregor has is to knock Mayweather out in the early rounds. As previously demonstrated Mayweather (FMay – adopting this as I will get tired of typing and seeing the full name) is no stranger to going the distance and he can maintain a deadly accuracy despite fatigue. To further illustrate his greatness, lets look at his last seven fights, and compare him to that of Manny Pacquiao (Pac), known to be a volume puncher. I chose the last seven fights as they both fought each other in 2015, but also they also went the full 12 rounds in these seven fights, making the sample set more comparable. All points below are about the last seven fights unless otherwise specified.

  1. FMay is known to hold opponents under 20% accuracy and statistically is considered one of the greatest of all time at connecting and not getting hit.
    • Against Pac, FMay was only hit 19% of total punches. This is well below the average accuracy of Pac at 32%.
    • Pac landed in total 81 punches against FMay, which is -56% against his average of 185 punches. If he doesn’t fight Mayweather, his accuracy bumps up a full 1% and averages 17 more landed punches.
    • Without landing consistently, Pac was mentally frustrated and threw less punches. In the previous three fights leading up to Pac v FMay, Pac threw at least 669 punches. His output was 35% lower or 240 punches lower than that 669 mark.
  2. While FMay threw only 16 total punches per round over the last seven fights, he was accurate 44% of the time. Pac was at 15 punches with 31% accuracy.
    • Pac’s activity slowed FMay down, as he threw four punches less per round than his average of 16 and only landed 34%.
  3. FMay is able to box a consistent fight. Looking at his percentage of jabs and power punches vs the total shows illustrates this point
    • In his fight against Pac, FMay had his total punches landed as: Jabs 45% – Power Punches 55%. Pac: Jabs 22% – Power Punches 78%.
    • FMay is able to adjust this balance as well. He averages Jabs 36% – 64%. Pac has a much different composition, with 25% and 75% respectively.
    • The standard deviation of his punches are much smaller – meaning he can hit opponents no matter how they fight him.
  4. Mayweather has fought 387 rounds. If we take the minimum thrown and landed punches of 27 and 12, we can assume that he has thrown +10K punches and landed +4K in professional fights…

Those are a lot of number and you may be asleep, but the biggest takeaways is that Floyd is not only superiorly accurate, his defense frustrates opponents and wins him fights.

Note that this chart show ascending order
Note that this chart show descending order
Note that this chart show ascending order
Note that this chart show descending order

If you are still paying attention, you will notice from the charts that Miguel Cotto did very well against FMay. This was the worst fight for FMay in the sample. His accuracy against Cotto was a mere 26% and he threw 221 more punches than the average. The contrasting styles and power of Cotto (73% KO rate) troubled Mayweather. Ultimately, Mayweather won a unanimous decision.

McGregor has to be something different than Mayweather has ever seen. But, “He is different!”. No, McG is not different, he is just a RAW boxer. Mayweather has seen them all. Every style, every ability. McG can’t just morph into a veteran fighter. He has to have the speed and pressure of Pac and the power of Cotto, but remember, both of those fighters lost to Mayweather.

Oh, did I mention that McGregor has never fought a professional boxing match? Zero minutes. Zero punches thrown.


You can watch the mentioned fights of Pac and Cotto v Mayweather.

Excel Breakdown




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