Steve Collins has backed Conor McGregor to cause an upset and beat former five-weight world champion Floyd Mayweather when the pair meet in Las Vegas on 26 August.
Speaking to talkSPORT, the former world middleweight and super-middleweight champion came out in defence of the mixed martial arts champion and his fellow Dubliner, despite McGregor having never fought professionally as a boxer.
But Collins has backed McGregor, who trains his brother Packie’s gym in Dublin, to “shock the whole world”.
“Who is to say he can’t win? Collins told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast. “The guy is an absolute natural athlete.
“He has got so much ability and with the right coaching and the right fight plan, he could surprise and shock the whole world. Never write him off.
“He is in with a guy who has got two arms, two feet and in a ring. Mayweather is great, he moves well, he has got grace, he skips and avoid punches and so on, but he is still a human being.
THE FIGHT IS ON. pic.twitter.com/KhW0u3jRft
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 14, 2017
“Are you telling me that if Mayweather gets hit on the chin at the right time that he won’t go over?
“It is not a foregone conclusion. With the right planning, the right game plan, he could surprise and shock the world.
“He definitely has the ability to pull it off.”
Collins’ view, however, is not shared by many in boxing including former middleweight world champion turned Sky pundit Carl Froch, who has branded McGregor a “novice” and the fight a “pantomime” which the Irishman has no chance of winning.
“It’s a very entertaining fight and it’s certainly one I’ll be watching – but it’s a bit of a pantomime,” Froch told talkSPORT.
“This is a boxing match and Floyd Mayweather is really hard to hit. Although McGregor likes to stand and fight compared to other UFC fighters, he’s not a very good boxer!
“Mayweather makes very good boxers look ordinary and he beats all of them, that’s what he does.
“There’s no way Conor McGregor can stand in front of Mayweather and out-box him and beat him punch-for-punch – it just can’t happen.
“Mayweather has been out of the ring for two years and he might just get caught – McGregor can punch a bit.
“But if you’re going to put money on it, you’re sticking it on Mayweather to beat him easy, either on points or by stoppage.”
Mayweather will reportedly earn in excess of $100million from the bout, having retired from boxing in 2015 after winning his 49th straight fight.
“Mayweather is more than capable of doing that to someone who is a basic novice – let’s not forget, McGregor is a novice boxer.
“Mayweather is probably thinking to himself, ‘I’ve been out for two years and I won’t get back into a ring against a top boxer, because I know I wouldn’t have much of a chance’.
“It’s too hard after just a year out. My coach Rob McCracken told me that once you’ve had a year out, forget about it.
“We all know that if it makes money, it makes sense, as far as Mayweather is concerned. This is a very low-risk fight for him.”
The fight, which has captured the public and media’s attention, will be broadcast on pay-per-view networks across the world.