Andy Lee's criticism of Conor McGregor completely misses the point
Andy Lee isn't the only one knocking Conor McGregor's recent open workout.
Anything that strays from the norm generally receives giggles upon introduction.
When the unorthodox goes untested, it's written off as ridiculous. If it's successful in action, however, it's lauded as innovation.
When the wider boxing community got their first glimpse of Conor McGregor at his open workout in Las Vegas, more than a fair share of knees were slapped. His pad work, his footwork, his warm-ups, even the way his gloves were tied had some boxing personalities in stitches.
The reaction caught a lot of MMA fans off guard, but that is only because they have become accustomed to McGregor's doing his thing. They've seen the bountiful fruits of that bizarre labour. Although, it wasn't that long ago when 'that dork' Portal was the (touch) butt of every joke.
While #TheMcGregorChallenge getting trending was understandable, the insanely harsh criticism of how McGregor hit a bag was a bit of a head-scratcher.
Former WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee chimed in on this debate on a recent appearance on Second Captains. If he was solely judging it from technique, he believes McGregor "hasn’t got a chance" of beating Floyd Mayweather.
“It’s embarrassing, the things he’s doing on the bags. It’s worse than amateur, it’s novice. You go to any amateur gym and you see boxers with more proficiency than he has – technically. It’s just all wrong. He doesn’t have a foundation, he was in the Crumlin boxing club for a long time, but he doesn’t have the right footwork, his chin is up in the air, he doesn’t punch with the right technique – like from the shoulder or from the hip.”
Many suspected as much https://t.co/D9jLJJMeAg
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) August 13, 2017
Lee reached the zenith of his discipline, so he's well-versed in the art of professional pugilism. From a strictly boxing perspective, his assessment McGregor's technique is correct. If McGregor tried to outbox Mayweather, getting totally outclassed would be a certainty. He does not have the requisite tools to pull off the upset through boxing.
Instead, McGregor must try to fight Mayweather under the Queensbury rules. As he let his hordes of followers know on Twitter when the fight was announced, just tell him the ruleset and he will figure out the rest.
The oddest aspect of the slagging McGregor's punches are getting is that everyone has already seen him use those magic fists to demolish legitimate legends like Jose Aldo and Eddie Alvarez, and more recently, make Paulie Malignaggi take a seat on the canvas.
How did more people not spot this? https://t.co/Me2kL05M0c
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) August 16, 2017
Movement coaches seemed like the biggest purveyors of snake oil since.... well, actual snake oil salesmen until we saw Portal celebrating Aldo being rendered unconscious in 13 seconds. Perhaps people will come around to McGregor's 'funny-looking' punches if he can land on arguably the greatest defensive boxer to ever grace a ring.
The reason why those hackneyed sporting analogies comparing this fight to a triathlete trying to beat Michael Phelps in a race is because non-combat sports don't have that 'instant win' button known as the knockout blow. If a legal punch shuts out the lights, it doesn't matter how 'terribly' executed it was. Style points don't come into play when the fight is finished.
McGregor's not stepping into the ring to flaunt flawless technique, he's going out there to knock Mayweather out.