Conor McGregor recently made headlines when he declared he would be open to facing undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez in a boxing match. The Irishman is extremely confident in his chances today, especially after seeing Alvarez’s last performance against John Ryder earlier this month.

While nobody can doubt McGregor’s confidence and self-belief, it would be a massive mistake for him to box Alvarez for a number of reasons. Even if it’s extremely unlikely to happen, here is why Conor McGregor must absolutely avoid taking on Canelo Alvarez in a boxing match.

Lessons from the Floyd Mayweather defeat

Many — mostly McGregor fans — will point to how the Irishman performed against Floyd Mayweather in their 2017 fight. The thinking is that Mayweather is arguably the greatest of all time and that McGregor still managed to stay competitive until he was finished in the 10th round.

While it’s true that McGregor performed better than expected, the reality is he was facing a defense-minded boxer in Mayweather who was well past his prime at 40 years old. Over the course of the fight, Mayweather was essentially letting McGregor find success without countering him and in the process, gassing him out.

“That’s because I wasn’t counter-punching and boxing,” Mayweather said when asked about McGregor outlanding other opponents such as Manny Pacquiao. “The reason why he probably landed a higher percentage or landed more shots than those guys was because I was coming straight ahead, I was barely moving, knocking his shots down a little bit and just breaking him down.

“… I could have just stayed on the outside, out-boxed him and counter-punched him, and probably still stop him down the stretch but that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to press and push him.”

Think about that. Mayweather literally let McGregor land shots and he still didn’t struggle one bit — he was even smiling in the corner in between rounds as he barely broke a sweat. As McGregor naturally slowed down, Mayweather gradually started to walk him down before the pressure was eventually proved too much and the referee stopped the fight.

Mayweather — especially this version — was also not known for finishing his opponents, but instead, outclassing them over 12 rounds. However, against McGregor, he was still able to earn his first finish in eight fights and nearly six years.

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If McGregor struggled against Mayweather’s crafty defensive style and still got finished, he won’t do any better against Alvarez, who has a more aggressive approach with true knockout power in his fists. But more than anything, that fight reinforced the belief many who watch combat sports already had — no MMA fighter, even McGregor, will trouble elite level champion boxers who have been boxing their entire life.

A declining Canelo Alvarez will still have no problem

Even if Alvarez might be experiencing a slight decline, he still outclassed Ryder for the most part in their title fight and even knocked the Briton down in the fifth round. Alvarez still possesses exceptional ring IQ, technique, defensive prowess, counter-punching and not to mention, some of the most vicious body shots in boxing. McGregor was never known for his gas tank, and a couple of body shots from Alvarez will certainly deplete it even further.

And as aforementioned, Alvarez is not a defensive-minded boxer. He will not allow McGregor to land strikes like Mayweather — he will look to finish the fight as quickly as possible if there’s a massive gulf in level. McGregor has a decent chin, but Alvarez has knocked people out cold with bigger gloves. He may not knock McGregor out cold, but he could certainly deal enough punishment to make him or his corner consider throwing in the towel. Just ask Avni Yildirim or Rocky Fielding.

Essentially, while Alvarez is showing signs of age — he’s 32 but has been boxing for years — he will still remain a significant favorite over just about every high-level boxer he faces today other than maybe Dmitry Bivol. He will certainly have no problem against McGregor and in this case, it would quite literally be easy money for him.

Conor McGregor has declined himself

If McGregor thinks Alvarez is declining, it’s a bit ironic considering the former two-weight UFC champion has lost a step himself compared to his arguable peak in 2016. For one, he’s been extremely inactive having only fought four times in MMA since the end of that year. Four of his last five fights including the Mayweather boxing match have all been defeats. He turns 35 later this year.

His striking didn’t look great against Dustin Poirier in the rematch or the trilogy. Once he faced some adversity from Poirier in the third fight, he immediately went for the clinch. Let’s also not forget that McGregor was knocked out cold for the first time in his career in his rematch with Poirier.

When McGregor eventually returns to action against Michael Chandler this year, it will be his first fight in over two years coming off a broken leg. It will be very interesting to see how he performs considering he’s undergone another long period of inactivity through no fault of his own.

If McGregor wins, it’s a good thing for the sport and hopefully, he remains active in pursuit of becoming a UFC champion again. But if McGregor is unable to defeat another top-five level opponent in MMA, his chances against arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world today are next to zero.