The announcement of what has been hailed as the biggest fight of all time between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was still fresh in people’s minds when a video was leaked by one of McGregor’s sparring partners, Chris Van Heerden. He released a video that was filmed while he sparred with McGregor in 2016, which was apparently a one-time thing. While few gave McGregor a shot against perhaps the best pound for pound boxer ever before the release of the video, people are now giving McGregor no shot come August, including Van Heerden himself.
Van Heerden spoke with ESPN about the video (Which you can view HERE), and why he released it: “Because people are tweeting and talking and telling me that Mayweather has his hands full landing on Conor McGregor, I’m a professional fighter — boxer. And I’m standing up for the sport. I was just making it very clear that, don’t be ridiculous. If I could land, don’t tell me Floyd Mayweather is not gonna land.”
He’s got a point, in the video which again was filmed last year, Van Heerden (Who is ranked 11th in the world as a welterweight in the WBA rankings) lands multiple shots on McGregor who looks even more out of his element than you’d think. Considering how elite Mayweather is than Van Heerden and the fact that Mayweather will be wearing ten-ounce gloves, and you get the general idea. Van Heerden continued:
“This is just a platform to prove that in boxing, a mixed martial artist taking on a boxer in the world of a boxer, you’re not gonna beat a boxer in boxing taking him on if you come from mixed martial arts.”
While Van Heerden claims that he is simply sticking up for the sport (and taking offense to the people who are saying that McGregor has a chance), he also admits that he essentially released the video just for the clicks, man.
“I helped him because I saw the platform. I knew the Conor McGregor-Mayweather thing was gonna pull off, because the energy, the vibes, it was gonna happen. It was gonna happen. And I took advantage.”
The sad thing is, it worked. Millions of people now know who Chris Van Heerden’s name. And while it appears that he’s ripping on McGregor, he does say that he has respect for him.
“I have nothing but respect for McGregor. There’s no bad blood. I think [he’s] phenomenal. And being a southpaw, it’s gonna work in his favor. He’s got the power to do it. I wasn’t fazed by his power, I wasn’t hurt. But again, we didn’t have 10-ounce gloves on and he’s got some small chance of causing an upset.”
He also does say that he doesn’t think McGregor will win, but he also believes in the idea of a puncher’s chance, saying:
“It would be ridiculous for me to say he has no opportunity, he has no chance,” Van Heerden said. “Yes, he has a slight chance of pulling it off. He’s a fighter, he’s a mixed martial artist. He can land one big punch. It can happen. This is fighting, it’s two men in the ring. The opportunity is there. He doesn’t have a zero chance of beating or causing the biggest upset in the sport. Yes, he has. In my opinion and I’m gonna stick by it and I’m not afraid to say it, there’s no way he’s beating Mayweather.”
So, while in the eyes of the public the odds that McGregor could pull the biggest upset of all time (in the “biggest fight of all time”), those odds seem even longer now. While all this does is draw more attention to August’s bout, it does harm the rough image of McGregor who makes millions a year off of his reputation. One does have to keep in mind, though, that this video was taken last year and McGregor is a skilled fighter so he’s probably a lot better now (and will be even better when August rolls around). Either way, if there ever was a time to place a bet on McGregor, that time is now. As they say, you’ve got a punchers chance.