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Boxing: Conor McGregor vs Luke Keeler Odds

McGregor vs Keeler Betting Odds

It appears that UFC superstar Conor “Notorious” McGregor could be back in action again for the first time since UFC 229 last October. However, it may be a return to the boxing ring instead of the Octagon. His opponent, you ask. Manny Pacquaio? Canelo Alvarez? Paulie Malignaggi? Luke Keeler? Wait, who? Irish boxer Luke Keeler took a shot at McGregor on social media regarding a pub incident in mid-August and challenged his fellow countryman to a bout which McGregor has accepted.

Online sportsbook Bovada has put out two lines regarding this spat, one being whether the fight will even take place in 2019, with “Yes” coming in at +450 and “No” coming back at -700. Additionally, a betting line in the event that this fight does occur has Keeler as a -225 favorite with McGregor coming back at +175.

How Did This Fight Come About?

Once again, McGregor finds himself in the spotlight for the wrong reason outside of the Octagon. The Ireland native has a history of slip-ups recently as he was arrested for throwing a dolly at a UFC bus ahead of UFC 223 in early April of 2018 and was ordered to perform five days of community service and do anger management classes. Fast-forward to early March of this year and the former two-division champion was in trouble again for allegedly taking a man’s phone and smashing it on the ground. A lawsuit and criminal charges were later dismissed.

A video was released in mid-August of McGregor getting into an altercation with an older man at a pub following a dispute over some whiskey, it appears, and the UFC fighter threw a left punch that hit the man in the face. In steps boxer Luke Keeler, who claims that McGregor did the same thing to a friend of his years ago and issued a challenge for a boxing match. The two apparently exchanged words on the phone and eventually agreed to a bout.

Will This Fight Take Place?

I’m torn on this. On one hand, this is another opportunity for McGregor to get in the ring after some heat, make some money and if he won a legitimate boxing match, it could stir up rumors of fighting Manny Pacquiao or a Floyd Mayweather rematch. Additionally, with Zuffa Boxing – which will be run by UFC president Dana White – getting set to debut soon, this would be a massive event for its first show that would get plenty of sign-ups and eyes in general.

On the flip side, White may not want his prized possession to get in a ring with a relative unknown to the general population and risk losing to him, which would be the third loss in McGregor’s last four fights and his second straight in boxing. With a loss to Keeler, the Mayweather rematch or any other big-money boxing match involving McGregor would likely be dashed.

I personally think that this fight would take place behind closed doors, perhaps at Keeler’s home gym, to settle this beef, similar to the McGregor-Malignaggi feud leading up to the May-Mac fight in 2017. Now, fellow Odds Shark contributors Iain MacMillan and Joe Osborne believe that people wouldn’t pass up on cashing in on this potential bout, but I feel that the risk may outweigh the reward.

How Will This Fight Play Out?

One of the biggest factors that has cost McGregor victories in the past is his conditioning, an aspect of his game that he claims he is constantly working on. Notorious did land a clean left uppercut on Mayweather, a defensive wizard in the ring, early in their bout but it hardly affected the undefeated boxer. It begs the question of whether he has the punching power on the level of boxers who train strictly on punching rather than worrying about kicks, clinches and grappling.

Meanwhile, Keeler has steadily risen in the middleweight (160 pounds) division and is the fourth-ranked fighter in the WBO middleweight rankings and the top-ranked middleweight in Ireland. He is unbeaten in his last eight fights since his April 2016 loss to Tom Doran, the only man he has lost to as he fell to Doran in 2015 as well. Keeler is very aggressive and can keep a fairly good pace for the full duration of a bout.

Overall, McGregor is a little unconventional and he does throw punches from odd angles that can catch more conventional boxers off guard. Additionally, he does a good job in countering, which he should have plenty of opportunities to do against a forward-moving fighter like Keeler. All that being said, Keeler has good conditioning and could drag McGregor into deep waters and put him away. I think in the end Keeler would score a decision in this bout with McGregor winning the first four rounds and Keeler closing out the rest of the match.

Here's a look at the odds for this potential bout:

Will the Fight take place before the end of 2019?

Odds as of August 22 at Bovada

Conor McGregor vs Luke Keeler Betting Odds
Conor McGregor+175
Luke Keeler-225

Odds as of August 22 at Bovada