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This won't be the first time Conor McGregor has defied the odds

John Kavanagh writes exclusively for The42 ahead of Conor McGregor’s clash with Floyd Mayweather.

ON ONE OF my first trips to Las Vegas with Conor McGregor, probably back in 2014, I recall him mentioning the possibility of a fight against Floyd Mayweather.

John Kavanagh Straight Blast Gym head coach John Kavanagh. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

I stopped doubting him a long time ago at this stage, but I remember at the time laughing it off as nothing more than a novel idea that could never possibly become a reality.

Now here we are and it’s just over nine weeks away. It’s pretty incredible what’s happened in such a short space of time. But it’s great and my excitement for this is increasing with each passing day. It’s hard not to feel that way when you’re around Conor. His enthusiasm is infectious.

Last Friday I received the keys to a new unit which we’ve transformed into a custom boxing gym, which is located near our regular Straight Blast Gym base on the Naas Road. By Monday the place had been cleaned, a competition ring was installed, as well as a bag area.

We’re in the midst of three good weeks of training here in Ireland, before departing for Las Vegas in mid-July. I believe there will be quite a large media world tour squeezed in there as well.

You may have caught a glimpse of the interior of the gym on social media over the last few days, as I arranged for a large mural to be painted just behind the ring by the people at Subset.ie. It depicts Conor landing a left hand on Mayweather.

I wanted to put something suitable on the wall because Conor is a big believer in visualisation and manifesting what you can conceive into reality. That’s the shot we believe will win the fight for Conor and it’s now there for us to see whenever we train.

I am a filthy Irish animal.

A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

A lot of very experienced and respected boxers have been in touch to offer their help for this training camp, but we’re keeping our cards close to our chest for now at least.

There will be sparring with guys we’re already familiar with but we will also be bringing in some guys who I think people will be impressed with. But I’ll leave it to Conor to reveal that, should he choose to do so.

Many of the questions I’ve been receiving over the past week have focused on when Conor will fight in the UFC again. My expectation is that it will happen this year, although it’s always difficult to predict what Conor is going to do next.

If he goes in there and knocks out Mayweather in the first round, there will probably be talk of rematches and stuff like that. But the tentative plan, as I see it, is certainly for a fight in the UFC in December. But in the meantime we’re completely focused on boxing and Floyd Mayweather.

I believe we have a number of advantages going into this fight. Often, people who are experts in a certain field will tell you that it can actually be more awkward to deal with somebody who’s not from the same field. They’d rather deal with the top contender from their own discipline because he’ll move in a way that you assume he’ll move.

Mayweather has been in the boxing world for his entire career and everyone he’s faced has moved in a certain way that he’s pre-conditioned to handle. Now he’s going up against a guy who doesn’t follow any set patterns, who can deploy a variety of different styles of fighting and is not one bit intimidated. Conor is — as we all are here — 100% confident in victory. That kind of person is very difficult to deal with.

Gervonta Davis v Liam Walsh - The Copper Box Floyd Mayweather Source: PA Wire/PA Images

When we went to Sweden for Conor’s UFC debut in 2013, if we had said then that he is going to be a champion simultaneously in two UFC divisions in three years’ time, people may have seen that as a less realistic goal than fighting Floyd Mayweather one day. Yet here we are.

The fact that he has constantly been written off is never going to change. Conor could beat Mayweather and people will say: “Yeah, but he hasn’t fought Manny Pacquaio yet.”

There’s a running theme with his career where firstly an idea will seem ridiculous, secondly it’s eventually accepted, and then finally people will come up with a new challenge which apparently he’ll never be able to overcome. We’re used to it now and that’s fine with us.

We’re not going over to Las Vegas to make up the numbers on 26 August. When this contest takes place, we’ll be 100% ready — physically and mentally — and nothing other than victory will be acceptable.

We’re looking forward to shocking the world — again.

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