With the super blockbuster mega awesome boxing match between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather drawing ever nearer towards inevitability or inevitable disappointment, each day brings a new wrinkle to what is quickly becoming the most talked about story of 2017 (for better or for worse).
A few recent tidbits:
- Showtime Sports VP Stephen Espinoza has declared that if McGregor-Mayweather doesn't happen by year's end, it likely won't happen at all
- Legendary WWE announcer Jim Ross, on the other hand, is more hopeful
- Former light heavyweight boxing champion Antonio Tarver thinks McGregor doesn't have "a chance in hell" at beating Mayweather
- Floyd Mayweather Sr. thinks even he could "beat the sh*t out of" McGregor
All caught up? Cool, because now here's UFC lightweight prospect Kevin Lee explaining to Submission Radio why Mayweather recently approached him to helphim prepare for a boxing match with McGregor.
“I train at his gym a lot over with Dewey Cooper, but I go into his gym all the time, I know a lot of the guys on TMT. We just hang out, we good friends, or whatever. They approached me years ago about it – actually, before my fight with (Leonardo) Santos. They approached me and they (asked) if I ever would (help Floyd prepare for Conor). So that was the first time that got brought up. And then as these talks kind of got more heated, they started to give me timelines and then we would start going over specifics. But you know what, these past two months almost it’s been pretty dry.
So I haven’t heard anything back. I hear just about as much rumours as the next person. So I’m not gonna sit around and wait for him. The fight was supposed to happen in June, which I would have been available to help him. But if they ain’t gonna fight until July, November, whenever they’re gonna fight, I don’t know, but If it interferes with my schedule, I’m putting them on the backburner.”
That's right, if all had gone according to plan, we'd be a month or so away from the biggest fight in cross-promotional, MMA vs. Boxing history actually happening. What a world.
As to why Lee was being brought in to prepare Mayweather?
“Well, because he’s fighting an MMA fighter this time. And Floyd’s very smart. He understands the fight game. We just move different. We’re very different from what you see in a professional boxer. We do a lot of things, even some things that could be considered wrong in boxing when we’re straight boxing, but they’re right for MMA and they’re awkward. They’re strange punches, the clinch-work is obviously a lot different, our tie-ups are different. We’re just different. If you’re getting ready to fight a wrestler, you don’t bring out a great striker because he’s a better fighter, you bring out another wrestler, even if he’s not as good of a fighter as the striker. So they’re bringing me out because I’m the closest to being able to emulate his style.”
It's interesting to note that Kevin Lee, despite being a stellar fighter with a 15-2 record (8-2 UFC) to his credit, has earned just one victory by way of TKO. While he undoubtedly possesses some of the awkward eccentricities of the average MMA fighter, it would be safe to say that he probably doesn't make for the best surrogate to mimic McGregor's style.
Then again, if McGregor is as doomed as the majority of the boxing community (and let's be honest, the MMA community as well) feels he is, then Mayweather might as well spend his prep time training on one of those inflatable standing punch bags that bounce back when you hit them. You know the ones.