Considering how over the top and utterly ridiculous everything surrounding Mayweather-McGregor has been so far, it was only fitting that Conor McGregor arrived at Barclays Center Thursday—a hot, humid, and generally disgusting day—rocking a Gucci fur coat and no shirt.
Because nothing surrounding what’s shaping up to be the biggest and most lucrative boxing match in history has been by the book or will be the by the book, and the two biggest shit talkers in modern sports spent another night in another city mouthing off and talking tough all in the name of promoting their Aug. 26 mega-fight.
Tuesday it was Los Angeles. Wednesday it was Toronto. Thursday it was Brooklyn where McGregor and Floyd Mayweather were back on their bullshit. McGregor was the first to arrive and didn’t waste any time mocking Mayweather, flaming his pal 50 Cent, and saying more problematic (racial) things that rubbed some people the wrong way. Mayweather countered by calling McGregor a “bitch” and a “stripper” then making it rain on stage. It got heated. They got in each other’s faces. And their respective squads almost tussled on stage.
“Today I was about to smack him up there but we’ll keep it professional for now,” McGregor said after the show had ended. “But it’s a hell of a lot of fun. How could you get tired of this?”
Based on the crowds the tour has drawn and the coverage they have received it seems like the appetite for all things Mayweather-McGregor is far from being satisfied. What many dismissed as a farce when it was first rumored is turning into the most talked-about event in sports these days and the 13,165 that packed into Barclays—many in favor of McGregor—further proved that this is shaping up to be something way bigger, way hotter, way more ridiculous than any coat the Irish MMA superstar could ever rock.
But will it be a legit fight? Oddsmakers in Vegas don’t give McGregor much of a shot nor do boxing purists. And that’s just fine with McGregor, who just four years ago was on food stamps. Sitting in front of mostly boxing writers last night, he laid out how and why he would beat Mayweather in rather convincing terms. Brimming with championship charisma, McGregor said his sparring sessions—despite what you may have seen on social media—have been intense and that boxing’s three-minute rounds will be easy considering he’s used to UFC’s five-minute rounds.
“I’ll be ready for 12,” McGregor said. “But he’s going down in four.”
It’s easy to dismiss McGregor’s chances. He’s going up against a legend who’s 49-0 professionally and has made a fortune dodging punches and pummeling inferior opponents. Mayweather’s been schooled in the sweet science for decades while McGregor will have to suppress his natural instinct to attack Mayweather with an elbow or a kick that would be financially devastating. Will McGregor be able to land a crippling blow? And we all know there’s no way he can out-point Mayweather over 12 rounds.
Yet when faced with that scenario, and still wearing designer sunglasses well after 10 pm, McGregor flashed a championship smile. He may be a massive underdog but the reasons he can pull off the upset are many. For starters he’s got 12 years on Mayweather. He’s bigger. He’s stronger. He’s got the longer reach. He’s going to wear down Mayweather when they’re tied up, zapping him of energy. And he possesses the kind of power with his punches that Mayweather wishes he had. McGregor just doesn’t have anywhere near the experience Mayweather has.
“He’s not a boxer. At the end of the day, Conor McGregor is a fighter,“ UFC president Dana White said. “Somewhere in a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, the bigger, younger, stronger guy needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and needs to hurt him.”
But can he even land a clean punch on the Pretty Boy, who has been shoulder rolling his way to millions of dollars in prize money and championships since he turned pro in 1996? When Mayweather fights, he rarely gets touched. And while he’s not nearly as fast as he was during his prime, will McGregor be able to defend his quick combos and put up enough of a fight in the judge’s eyes to make it close in the championship rounds? Probably not. We’ve been on record before saying that Mayweather would demolish McGregor in a boxing match and that hasn’t changed. But listening to McGregor talk will make you, for the briefest of moments, think twice.
“His belief in himself is nothing like I’ve ever seen before,” White said.
Regardless of what happens, if enough people buy the $99.95 pay-per-view event, neither McGregor or Mayweather are going to give a shit what happens since neither appears to have any appetite for a (boxing) rematch. Both will make a stupid amount of money off of this. Estimates are McGregor could easily earn over $100 million while Mayweather will reap way, way more than the $200 million-plus he earned in his fight with Manny Pacquiao back in 2015.
“They’re going to talk about this business move at Harvard,” Mayweather said.
And based on how rabid the atmosphere has been at the press conferences and how much coverage the first three stops have received—the tour ends Friday in London—there’s no reason to believe Mayweather-McGregor won’t break the Mayweather-Pacquiao box-office record.
The only question is, unlike Mayweather-Pacquiao, will we get a good fight? And does McGregor actually have a shot at defeating Mayweather?
The answer to the latter is yes. He has a shot. Every fighter has a shot. But the chances are oh so slim. As for the answer to the former, that’s the only thing that really matters if you’re actually going to drop a Benjamin on the summer’s biggest spectacle.