Editor’s note: Floyd Mayweather defeated Conor McGregor by technical knockout in the 10th round on Aug. 26. Tahoe Onstage analyst Simon Ruvalcaba called it. Here was his take before the fight.
Once the longest of longshots, Conor McGregor become a favorite for bettors in his much anticipated Saturday, Aug. 26, 12-round boxing match with Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas.
The line opened in June with Mayweather -1,100, meaning someone betting on Mayweather would need to bet $11 to win just a dollar. But there has been so much action on McGregor that the line has moved to half of that (-550).
Floyd “Money” Mayweather has won all 49 of his fights and accumulated title belts in five divisions. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor is a mixed martial artist who is the reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title holder and is the biggest draw in the history of his sport.
Simon Ruvalcaba, a former professional boxer born and bred in South Lake Tahoe, weighed in on the Mayweather-McGregor fight and he did not pull any punches. Ruvalcaba was a member of the U.S. Army boxing team and had a 54-17 record as an amateur. He had an 18-fight pro career that was hampered by a shoulder injury he sustained in a 2003 bout at Caesars Tahoe. His final fight was in 2013.
Now a sales associate living in Reno, Ruvalcaba remains close to the sport as a writer for FightHype.com and Pound4Pound.com. He also coaches boxing and MMA, which in recent years has surpassed boxing in popularity.
Support for the MMA certainly is a factor for folks who are betting on McGregor. They also can consider that their man is just 28 years old and Mayweather is 40. Mayweather also hasn’t fought in 23 months and after years in the ring, his hands have become brittle. He’s only knocked out two of his last 14 opponents.
McGregor also has the element of surprise in his corner.
“When you spar regular boxers every day, you kind of know what to expect,” said Ruvalcaba, who has sparred with two of the all-time greats, Pernell “Sweat Pea” Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez. “Sometimes you spar against a beginner who doesn’t do things by the book and it’s a little confusing.”
Ruvalcaba picked Mayweather to win, but that was before he saw the Irishman McGregor conduct a workout for the press.
“Watching that media workout and the way McGregor throws his punches and the way his stance is, it has me thinking that this might actually be worse than what I was thinking what it’s going to be. I don’t know how those people didn’t bust out laughing. It’s almost like the movie ‘Great White Hype.’ ”
In the MMA, fighters wear 4-ounce gloves. For welterweight (147 pounds) bouts and higher, boxers wear 10-ounce gloves. The Mayweather-McGregor bout is set at 154 pounds but both fighters requested 8-ounce gloves, which were approved by the commission today.
“What if we wake up on Aug. 27 and Floyd is 49-1?” Ruvalcaba said. “I just can’t fathom it. It’s a mismatch. It’s a spectacle. I am upset at the commission for approving that fight. … They make exceptions because of the money that’s going to flow in. The Nevada commission has no credibility now.”
Another possible outcome is a disqualification.
“McGregor’s been pretty high-tempered and round after round the frustration could build so don’t be surprised if he does something that gets him disqualified,” he said.
Despite calling the fight a mismatch, Ruvalcaba doesn’t expect an early knockout.
“I’m gonna assume McGregor can take a punch and he’s a tough guy,” he said. “He’s gonna be in there trying to prove that he belongs. Don’t be surprised if he lasts a bit of rounds and doesn’t get stopped until the late rounds. Or he might go the distance and just take a beating for 12 rounds. But once Floyd finds his range, (McGregor) will be out of his league.”
“But it’s a big moneymaker. Everybody’s making millions of dollars for the event and the public is buying it.”
For those who are buying, this might be the best time to put money down on Mayweather, who would win them 20 percent on their investment. High rollers, including members of the wealthy Maloof family from Las Vegas, are reported to be considering major wagers on Mayweather. That could cause the odds to shift back to where they began.