Evander Holyfield Explains How Conor McGregor Can Beat Floyd Mayweather

Former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield said he expects Floyd Mayweather Jr. to win his hyped encounter with UFC superstar Conor McGregor, but he also provided his opinion about how the Irishman can pull off the upset.

On Saturday, TMZ Sports passed along comments from The Real Deal about what it's going to take for McGregor to shock the sports world.

"He would have to rough him up," Holyfield said. "He'd have to do something that get [Mayweather] frustrated and get into a battle. I think his only chance is getting into a battle."

The biggest question heading into the fight in terms of McGregor's chances is whether he can do significant damage against Mayweather, who's one of the best defensive boxers in history.

Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com passed along comments from longtime boxer Paulie Malignaggi following a training session with the UFC lightweight champion last week.

"He's got some pop in the left hand, I can't take that away from him," he said. "In boxing, especially against a guy like Floyd Mayweather, you need to devise a few more weapons, and I think that's what Conor is working on. I think … coming into this situation already knowing Conor has a big left hand … you're probably going to prepare for that left hand."

That's the bottom line. Mayweather is a lot like the New England Patriots in the way he typically neutralizes an opponent's biggest weapon and forces them to find another avenue to victory.

The undefeated five-division world champion will be prepared to handle McGregor's powerful left-handed shots. It's up to The Notorious to come up with something that can surprise Money enough to turn the fight in his favor, and Malignaggi told ESPN.com the underdog is working on it.

"He's going to have his own style and set of things he does. He's got a game plan. It's not what people think," he said. "I'll put it like this: He knows what he wants to do and he has a method of how he wants to get there. The mechanism of how he gets there may look, to the naked eye, 'hmm, I don't know about this.' But there's a method to his madness. He's a thinker."

Prevailing wisdom suggests Mayweather will be able to use his tactical skills to control the fight against the boxing newcomer, and that could well be the case. But it sounds like McGregor could have a few tricks up his sleeve in an effort to prove Holyfield and everyone else picking against him wrong.