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McGregor has boxing skill, but enough to beat Mayweather?

(AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) Before Conor McGregor had even heard of mixed martial arts, he wanted to be a boxer. He first stepped into Crumlin Boxing Club nearly 20 years ago in muddy football boots and started punching a heavy bag.

McGregor returned constantly for the next seven years, determined to become tough enough to dissuade bullies in his Dublin neighborhood. He competed in amateur boxing matches against opponents of all sizes and shapes over the years, developing tenacity and power.

"There were no weight rules, no limitations on who you could fight," McGregor recalled Wednesday. "We would just have an opponent assigned to us. That was always the joke: Everybody at the Crumlin Boxing Club had to fight heavyweights, no matter what size you are. But it was a good lesson. You must be prepared for any eventuality. You must be ready to fight. That's how I was brought into this game."

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