The collective sporting world is preparing to slow down on Saturday night to enjoy the spectacle that is Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. Many are hoping to see at least one fighter humbled while others just want to bask in the craziness of it all. If you land in one field or the other, one thing is for certain: everybody wants to know what is going to happen.
Even though the odds have come down from where they opened, Mayweather is still a prohibitive favorite (-375) over McGregor (+285) making his pro boxing debut, according to Bovada.
We here at CBS Sports feel pretty good about our predictions for the mega fight and have decided to compile our staff picks for Mayweather vs. McGregor (Showtime PPV, 9 p.m. ET). Below are picks from Bill Reiter (National columnist), Brian Campbell (Combat Sports writer), Matthew Coca (producer), Adam Silverstein (editor) and Brandon Wise (editor).
Reiter: Mayweather via TKO5
The temptation to take McGregor is strong, one of the reasons the bets in Vegas are 12 to 1 on him. But there's still more money on Mayweather because the SmartMoney knows what the heart won't admit with McGregor: the Irishman has no chance. Zilch. Mayweather is perhaps the greatest defensive boxer of all time, McGregor is a supreme athlete in another sport , and that's that's all you need to know. Mayweather dominates.
Campbell: Mayweather via TKO5
Talking yourself into believing McGregor's bold claims can be an intoxicating exercise, further fueled by Mayweather's age and time away from the ring. But I've seen this movie too many times and I know how it ends. McGregor will be brash and he will be bold, but the more aggressive he decides to be, the quicker Mayweather breaks him down with clean counter shots and forces the stoppage.
Coca: Mayweather via TKO8
For as long as McGregor has been in the fight world, he just hasn't trained enough and has no real boxing experience. Mayweather is just too skilled -- he's going to chip away at McGregor and should pick up his first TKO in almost a decade.
Silverstein: Mayweather via TKO4
So this is a boxing match, right? Should I pick the championship-winning ring scientist who is 49-0 and at least has an argument when "greatest of all time" is discussed, or the champion mixed martial artist who has never boxed as an amateur or professional and has only been training for months -- not years -- for this fight? I don't care if Mayweather comes to the ring looking like James "The Grim Reaper" Roper. McGregor is not "Irish" Terry Conklin in the ring, let alone Marcos Maidana. If this was any other major fighter -- such as Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez -- I'd predict McGregor gets slayed in the first two rounds (maybe even the first two minutes), but Mayweather's age and fragile hands concern me about the possibility of a knockout. I do expect McGregor to be conditioned well enough to last the entire fight, and it could very well go the distance with Mayweather either earning a unanimous 120-108 decision or giving up a couple rounds. But I keep going back to the simple fact that it's all-time great boxer vs. an MMA striker, and no matter what else enters my mind, I can't shake thinking Mayweather finds a way to take down McGregor sooner than later.
Wise: McGregor via TKO5
Call it drinking the Kool-Aid. Call it buying the Great White Hype. Call it whatever you want. For the last four years, I've been expecting to see McGregor get humbled. The only person to do it did it on 12-days' notice when McGregor had no time to prepare. The second fight went according to McGregor's plan against the bigger and longer Nate Diaz, earning a majority decision. It may feel like a no-win game picking the elevated amateur, but this just feels different than past Mayweather "super fights." Victor Ortiz came in with dirty tactics against him and was humbled quickly. Look for McGregor to press the tempo and force Mayweather to throw early before he gets a feel for McGregor's gameplan. It's his best shot -- and likely his only shot to win. I think he finishes the job so he can legitimately say "doubt me now."