Written by ESPN Staff at ESPN.com
Floyd Mayweather spent much of his promotional tour last month mocking Conor McGregor’s skills and confidently predicting he would dominate their Aug. 26 boxing match, but he struck a more deferential tone Tuesday, acknowledging that he has “lost a step” and that McGregor, at least on paper, has the edge over him.
In an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Mayweather, 40, pointed to McGregor’s advantages in size and age as reasons why the UFC fighter poses a legitimate challenge.
“He’s a lot younger. When you look at myself and Conor McGregor on paper, he’s taller, has a longer reach, he’s a bigger man from top to bottom. He’s a lot younger, so youth is on his side,” Mayweather said of McGregor, who is 29. “And I’ve been off a couple of years. And I’m in my 40s. So, if you look at everything on paper, it leans toward Conor McGregor.”
Mayweather, the former pound-for-pound boxing king and five-division world champion, is coming out of retirement for his clash with McGregor, a bout for which he is widely considered a heavy favorite.
He has not fought since his one-sided unanimous decision over Andre Berto in September 2015, which improved his record to 49-0. McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion, will be making his professional boxing debut against Mayweather.
Asked by Smith why he wasn’t brashly proclaiming McGregor has no chance in their fight, Mayweather said simply, “I’m older.
“I’m not the same fighter I was two years ago. I’m not the same fighter I was five years ago. I lost a step,” he said. “A fighter like Andre Berto isn’t even supposed to go the distance with Floyd Mayweather, but remember, I was 38. It’s obvious I’m slipping a little bit to even let a fighter like that go the distance with me.
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