Peter Carroll speaks to the legendary boxer about a fighter who won novice titles while at the boxing club
Two-time Olympian and legendary Irish boxer Phil Sutcliffe has claimed that he would welcome Conor McGregor back to Crumlin Boxing Club with open arms for his preparation for his proposed boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather.
The fight is far from being finalised despite McGregor agreeing terms with UFC last weekend.
However, ‘The Notorious’ recently made posts on his Instagram account that suggest that he has already begun his preparation for the Mayweather clash. Last week, McGregor’s striking coach, Owen Roddy, told Newstalk.com that the UFC lightweight champion has had his sights firmly set on Mayweather since his historic win over Eddie Alvarez in November at Madison Square Garden.
McGregor won novice boxing titles under Sutcliffe and the Crumlin Boxing Club banner as a teenager. Although the four-time national boxing champion has admitted that he is not a big fan of MMA outside of McGregor fights, he understands that a bout with Mayweather would be lucrative for both men.
“It makes money sense,” said Sutcliffe. “In boxing sense, it doesn’t make any sense. But anything can happen in boxing.
“(Mayweather) is getting old and Conor is in his prime. As we all know, he’s punching very hard at the moment.
“I can’t see him winning it, but I’ll definitely be shouting for him. It’s two different sports and Mayweather is one of the craftiest boxers of all time.”
Oscar De La Hoya and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez have previously labelled the super fight “a mockery”. Some have argued that McGregor is taking the place of other boxers who have paid their dues for a fight with Mayweather, but Sutcliffe thinks that it is unlikely that any other fighter would have the earning power to force ‘Money’ out of retirement.
“Maybe Mayweather is coming out of retirement just to shut Conor up, but it’s difficult to say if any other boxer could’ve got him out of retirement.
“This is the type of fight that is going to be intriguing for people all around the world. There’s so much interest in it already and it’s not even signed off on yet.
“They call him the ‘Money’ man for a reason. That’s what he’s doing here. He’s being very clever and he knows that this fight will generate the most interest and money at the moment.”
There has been no mention of McGregor bringing in an additional boxing coach as the negotiations for the fight progress. Sutcliffe highlighted that the SBG fighter’s boxing skills have been one of the key factors in his success in the Octagon.
“Conor could be doing a lot of training with different boxing coaches for this already. He’s very clever too. He could be doing it on the sly.
“The thing is, he could always move around a ring. You can see that in his MMA fights the way he controls his opponent with the way that he moves. He was always handy. He was a very good boxer.
“You’ve got to remember, what got Conor to where he is now is his boxing ability. Most of his wins come from his boxing, that big backhand has put a lot of people down.”
McGregor has praised Crumlin Boxing Club for honing his fundamentals in the past. Sutcliffe has also traced the origins of McGregor’s patented ‘Celtic Cross’ back to fledgling days in Crumlin.
The UFC champion’s left hand has been the protagonist in the argument as to whether he can compete with Mayweather in a boxing match, and Sutcliffe isn’t ruling out his former student landing the big shot if the fight does happen.
“It’s hard to know if it will land. Who knows? Maybe Mayweather is underestimating him,” Sutcliffe said.
“As I said, in terms of boxing, it isn’t a 50/50 fight. But then again, anything can happen. Someone might slip, someone might fall or Mayweather might decide to hold the fight up in the clinch. All it takes is one punch to land and for someone to take advantage of the opportunity if it comes.”
If the fight gets made, Sutcliffe believes that Crumlin Boxing Club would be an ideal place for McGregor to prepare for it.
“It would make sense for him to come back to where he learned to box in Crumlin, wouldn’t it?” he said.
“Mayweather is not unbeatable. He never was. He’s always been very clever and he has always been super fit. He lives for the gym. When Conor is in training, he lives for the gym too.
“I would be delighted to see him back here training. I really think it makes sense too. It would be great for Crumlin Boxing Club.”