No one hypes a fight quite like Floyd Mayweather. And one of the ways he typically does it is by heaping praise on his opponents. While Mayweather has obviously made a name for himself by talking insane amounts of trash to, well, everyone, he’s also historically been more than willing to give credit where it’s due and break down exactly why he thinks certain opponents are going to present certain challenges for him. That approach helps convince people that there might be a chance he will lose, and it encourages them to tune in to his bouts. It's a savvy play on his part.
If Mayweather ends up fighting Conor McGregor, he won’t really have to do much to promote the fight. It’s one fight that will sell itself. But when TMZ Sports caught up with Mayweather on Tuesday night, he started to do that thing he does by showering McGregor with praise and explaining why the UFC star might be able to keep up with him in the ring. After the TMZ Sports cameraman told Mayweather about what Sugar Ray Leonard said about the fight recently—Leonard predicted it wouldn’t last more than a round—Mayweather said he’s not so sure that would be the case. In his mind, McGregor has the tools it would take to make things interesting.
"I’m not gonna sit right here and knock Conor McGregor," Mayweather said (sidebar: Mayweather’s had no problem knocking McGregor in the past). "He went out there and done what he had to do. It’s obvious he’s done something right thus far to get to the point where he’s at, so I’m not here to badmouth him. And I’ve been off a couple years. I’m 40 years old now. I’m a lot older, and he’s still in his 20s. I’m in my 40s now. That could play a major key. And he’s a heavy hitter, so we’ll just see."
Mayweather then went on to explain that McGregor has "absolutely not" signed a contract to take part in a fight with him. But he said that, despite McGregor’s lack of experience in the boxing ring, he believes the MMA fighter will be able to hold his own if and when he does eventually agree to the fight.
"He’s a fighter," Mayweather said. "At the end of the day, I’m a fighter. A fighter is a fighter. Remember this: You guys, y’all ask questions, but you have to do your homework...Listen to this. Conor McGregor, every time he goes out there and defeats fighters, he’s standing up defeating fighters. He’s in a boxing position, and he’s beating fighters. When he did get defeated, he was on the ground. So it’s obvious Conor McGregor is a better stand-up fighter than he is at grappling. So does he have a good chance of upsetting Floyd Mayweather? I can’t say, but anything can happen in the sport of boxing."
Young boxers, take notes. This is how you promote a fight. You can hear Mayweather talk about his potential bout with McGregor in the clip above.