Can Khabib Nurmagomedov beat Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match?
The former five-division boxing world champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. officially announced that he is going to make a comeback in the ring in 2020. It’s worth noting that this is Mayweather’s third “unretirement”. In his last professional fight in August 2017, Mayweather defeated the Irish UFC superstar Conor McGregor via knockout in the 10th round.
This time around, there is a very good chance we are going to see Floyd boxing against another MMA star – the undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Khabib is been calling out Mayweather since late 2018 when Nurmagomedov also beat Conor McGregor (in the UFC matchup). As we heard, Khabib will have another title defense in the UFC in April 2020 against Tony Ferguson. After that, he will be up for a boxing challenge against “Money” at some point later in 2020 (September or October).
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Assuming Khabib vs Mayweather will actually take place, does Nurmagomedov even stand a chance to win a boxing match against one of the greatest athletes in the history of the sport? Can Khabib, an undefeated martial artist with a 28-0 professional record, be the first guy to beat Floyd Mayweather, 50-0, in a boxing contest?
Khabib Nurmagomedov is a wrestler, not a boxer
Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov, 31-year-old undefeated Dagestani martial artist, is one of the most popular UFC fighters in the world. Unlike Conor McGregor who previously squared off with Mayweather, Khabib is not even known for his boxing skills in the MMA world and not considered to be an elite striker in the UFC’s lightweight division. Nurmagomedov grow up freestyle wrestling and he is most famous for his incredible wrestling, grappling, and ground game skills.
Speaking of Khabib’s stand-up and boxing skills, we haven’t seen much in his entire career in martial arts. His boxing is kind of awkward and not very technical. But at the same time, Khabib’s footwork isn’t bad and he can move around pretty well. Nurmagomedov also is known for great cardio so this could be an advantage when facing a vintage version of Floyd Mayweather. Khabib’s most dangerous weapon is his jab as well as an overhand right that almost dropped McGregor down on the canvas.
Mayweather vs Khabib predictions and betting odds
According to bookmakers, Floyd Mayweather is a -1500 betting favorite in a potential boxing bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov (underdog at +800). As you can see, bookmakers basically don’t buy that the UFC champ has a chance to outbox Mayweather based on these betting odds.
It’s easy to see why “Money” is a highly favorite to beat the Russian UFC superstar. Despite his age and long inactivity from the sport, Mayweather still has the skill, technique, strategy, and a lot of boxing experience. Nurmagomedov has none of that because his whole life he competed in different combat sports such as wrestling, combat sambo, martial arts, and boxing isn’t one of his specializations.
I believe Khabib can learn a lot and significantly improve his boxing skills in preparation for the bout with Mayweather by working with Anatoly Lomachenko, Vasyl Lomachenko’s father/coach. But there is no way he can close the gap in boxing skills and experience in 3-4 months when Floyd was born in a family of boxers and he has been boxing since his childhood.
Besides being younger and physically in better shape, I can’t think of any other advantages going for Nurmagomedov. A “rusty” 43-year old Mayweather might not be as fast and physically in the same conditions as he used to be in his prime. But he will get another easy win against NOT A PRO BOXER by letting Khabib attack and push forward while Floyd will peace him apart in his favorite defensive manner. “Money” will just have to make sure to bring on a more entertaining and believable show than he did against McGregor to satisfy the crowd.
Does Khabib have a chance to beat Mayweather in a boxing match? Yes, according to Khabib’s father and his coach, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov: “Khabib will have a chance in boxing”. His father, an Honored Coach of Russia, also said that Khabib will have a better chance to beat Mayweather than McGregor did. And if Mayweather vs Khabib gets booked, they’ll arrange a training camp with a lightweight boxing world champion Vasyl Lomachenko’s team in preparation for the contest.
Realistically, if Mayweather wants to win this bout, he will take it without a doubt. I don’t see it playing out any other way unless “Money” has a deal to lose to Khabib which is impossible in my opinion. The one thing Floyd Mayweather cares more than money is his undefeated record.
What are you guys think about a potential boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Khabib Nurmagomedov which can take place in 2020? Is it realistic for a lifelong wrestler/combat sambo champion/current UFC Lightweight champion to beat a 43-year old boxing legend in a boxing contest? Share your predictions for Mayweather vs Khabib matchup in the comments below this post.