Light heavyweight champion Andre Ward says he doesn’t think the McGregor-Mayweather matchup will hurt boxing.
No, not at all. I think you just got to see it for what it’s worth. I think it’s something that’s never been done before in the sport, and I think just enjoy it. You’re going to pay and wanna tune in and be engaged with the spectacle, just understand what you’re getting into. And if it’s also a great fight, for however long it lasts, then that’s a bonus. All this talk about it ruining boxing — this is just something different. You’re going to have people speak out against it, it’s never been done before. But look at all the mainstream press that this situation has been getting over the last year. Every fighter that I see, every interview I do, I’m asked about it. And it’s bringing attention to our sport, casual attention. Mainstream attention.
Ward urges McGregor to use MMA-style moves to gain an advantage over Mayweather.
I don’t think this is going to be as easy as people think…for Floyd Mayweather. I am a Floyd fan, Floyd’s a legend and he is going to take care of business, don’t get me wrong. But Floyd is 40 years old and McGregor is a lot younger, he is naturally bigger and, if he has nothing else, he has a big left hand – he has one hand that if he lands it can cause some trouble. Now I don’t think that he is going to land that shot but just the movements that Conor has, the awkward, martial arts type of movements, it’s going to take a few rounds for Floyd to kinda figure him out. Ultimately, I think he will, but I think it will be interesting early…[McGregor] is not going to end it early. I wouldn’t focus on the knockout because if he goes out there looking for the knockout, he could get knocked out. I wouldn’t totally abandon the martial arts moves, like I said, some of the awkward things he does. Obviously he can’t lift his legs, and that’s going to be a challenge in and of itself, to not kick Floyd or grapple Floyd like he would in an octagon, but be who you are. We are going to work on boxing, but be awkward, be as awkward as you can, make it ugly because if it’s a close fight where there is an argument and it’s the sixth or seventh round, it’s close, [people are asking] who’s winning, that’s a win for [McGregor].”