Sport | 2 months ago

Chris van Heerden has nothing but respect for Conor McGregor.

That must be why he shared sparring footage of Conor McGregor shortly after the Floyd Mayweather megafight was confirmed. The year-old footage was edited down to show all The Notorious' lowlights from the training session i.e. when he got hit in the face.

Former IBO and IBF welterweight champion Van Heerden was upset with McGregor's website, The Mac Life, accusing them of craftily editing their footage of their sparring session to make the UFC star look better. He later retracted the complaint and offered his apologies.

He confirmed in a recent interview with ESPN that he harbours no ill will towards McGregor's team over the incident.

“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.”

When asked why he decided to share the footage just after the massive fight announcement, the South African pugilist made a head-scratcher of a claim.

“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.”

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What?

Who in their right mind was suggesting that Floyd Mayweather would struggle landing on Conor McGregor? 'The Notorious'  isn't exactly known for being an elusive defensive genius. Nate Diaz landed 252 strikes over five rounds in their welterweight do-over at UFC 202.

Either way, van Heerden believes McGregor has a very slim chance of causing an upset. Although he wasn't fazed by the Irishman's power, they were wearing heavier gloves at the time.

"McGregor is a phenomenal athlete. He’s ruling the UFC. Absolutely, I believe he did put in training and he’s still putting in training and yes, he got better. Definitely better. I’m not saying he’s bad. I’m just laying it out as it is."

High praise indeed...

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Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather, Chris van Heerden