Chris van Heerden may not be well liked by Conor McGregor boosters, but the former boxing champ is praising the UFC star for what he showcased against Floyd Mayweather.
Before all the drama between McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi unfolded, over how their sparring sessions were being depicted, a similar back-and-forth took place with van Heerden last year. More recently, the South African fighter predicted that Mayweather wouldn’t have too much trouble landing on McGregor.
“Honestly, I enjoyed the fight,” van Heerden said. “Like I said, I would be a man. When McGregor proves me wrong I’m going to be a man and I’m going to say it and I’m going to do that because, you know what, I never expected Conor to be there, honestly didn’t expect him to be there for 10 rounds and I didn’t expect him to do as good as he did.
“So I want to go ahead and say congratulations to Conor McGregor. You proved me wrong and I’m man enough to say, well done brother. Respect to you.”
“Conor showed some stuff in there that was pretty cool,” van Heerden added. “I think it was round one or two, the slip, uppercut. That doesn’t just happen, you know? He trained it and he landed it. It was planned out and he landed it. So well done on that.”
That’s a classy move by van Heerden, and he’s certainly not the only figure from the boxing world who has credited McGregor for how he performed. Sure, Mayweather might have been biding his time, studying McGregor’s movement, and waiting for the latter to tire. But, the UFC champ did get in some nice shots as van Heerden alluded to, and lasted nearly ten rounds with one of the greatest boxers of all time.
With the win, Mayweather moved his overall record to 50-0, while McGregor was making his pro-boxing debut.