MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s Jeff Horn has given Conor McGregor little chance of beating Floyd Mayweather in Saturday’s super-fight and hopes the American will “annihilate” the mixed martial arts fighter for the sake of boxing.
Horn, who became WBO welterweight champion by beating 38-year-old Manny Pacquiao in Brisbane last month, said McGregor would struggle to even land a punch on the undefeated American.
Mayweather (49-0) has not fought in nearly two years but is a heavy favorite to surpass Rocky Marciano’s record in the Las Vegas bout, which purists have dismissed as an exhibition.
“I hope Mayweather annihilates him and I think he will,” Horn said in comments published by News Ltd media on Tuesday.
“It will be dreadful for the sport of boxing if Mayweather, one of the greatest fighters of all time, gets rolled by a guy having his first fight but I can’t see McGregor doing too well even with all the hype.
“Their fight is going to be under boxing rules and Mayweather will probably not even get hit.
“If McGregor’s got any sense he’ll crash tackle Floyd at the opening bell and put a choke hold on him, get disqualified and then they’ll have a rematch and make even more money.”
Saturday’s fight is tipped to test the pay-per-view and revenue records set by the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout in 2015.
Mayweather’s defeat of the Filipino generated over $400 million from 4.6 million pay-per-views.
After Horn’s own win over Pacquiao, the Australian immediately laid down a challenge to Mayweather, holding up a walking stick to bait the 40-year-old.
Former schoolteacher Horn is set for a rematch against Pacquiao in Brisbane later in the year but said he would “love a crack” at Mayweather.
“He could challenge me for the world welterweight title. And if McGregor wanted to fight me I’d take it right now. I wouldn’t be worried one bit,” said the 29-year-old.
Horn added that he would fight Mayweather like Marcos Maidana, who pushed the American in two defeats in 2014.
“A few years ago we saw Marcos Maidana from Argentina give Floyd the fight of his life but Maidana didn’t have the engine to sustain it for 12 rounds,” the Australian said.
“I’d fight Mayweather like Maidana did but I’d do it for 12 rounds, not six.”
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford