The Staples Center in Los Angeles was packed to see the first interaction between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, who will meet in a megafight on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas. The expectation has always been that the interactions between boxing’s undefeated king and the UFC’s Irish superstar would likely be more entertaining than the fight itself. However, it did seem that they were simply warming up as the world tour heads to Toronto, New York and London over the next few days.
But even if this can be best described as a feeling-out round, the first meeting between Mayweather and McGregor still produced some memorable moments.
1. The first staredown
The initial staredown between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather was an intense affair but also spelled out the differences in experience between the two fighters. The 28-year-old was clearly basking in the moment as McGregor was suited and booted when he hit the stage. Meanwhile, Mayweather was business as usual as he took to the stage second wearing a TMT hoodie and a baseball cap.
McGregor played to the crowd and posed for the cameras. When his eyes met Mayweather’s, he swiftly engaged in the first bout of mind games. The Irishman menacingly chewed his gum in an effort to intimidate his opponent but Mayweather remained stone faced and never once took his gaze off of McGregor.
— UFC (@ufc) July 11, 2017
2. Crowd jeers boxing news conference
MMA fans (and probably sports fans in general) were clearly confused by the proceedings of the news conference. In the UFC, news conferences are led by Dana White and usually get right down to business. However, boxing is a talking extravaganza where everyone involved with the promotion gets in a few words. During president & COO at MGM Resorts Entertainment & Sports Richard Sturm’s opening statements, the crowd vehemently booed. Boxing fans know these proceedings all too well. But MMA fans certainly didn’t like the lip service.
3. Conor McGregor’s opening remarks, prediction
After UFC president Dana White delivered a pumped-up introduction, McGregor got right down to business.
“He’s in a [expletive] track suit,” McGregor said. “He can’t even afford a suit anymore. He is [expletive]. There’s no other way about it. I’m going to knock him out inside of four rounds, mark my words.”
McGregor is known as one of the best talkers in any sport and took the verbal jabs right to his opponent.
“He won’t be conscious inside of four rounds,” he continued. “He’s fought people who have shied away from him. I don’t fear him or his limited set of rules that makes this a quarter of a right. This isn’t a true fight. If it was, it wouldn’t take one round for me to knock him out.”
The UFC lightweight champion spoke about being a new father is all the motivation he needs while also pointing out that he has become a partner in the promotion for this fight. As McGregor continued to talk, Mayweather remained still. But it was evident that he was growing weary of his opponent’s antics.
He better get used to it.
4. Floyd Mayweather’s verbal jabs
Most thought that Mayweather was over the trash talking. In his recent fights, the 49-0 boxer left the trash talk to his opponents and focused on the fight itself. But he’s aware that there is another fight to be won and wouldn’t allow McGregor to leave this first meeting unscathed.
“You line them up and I knock them down like bowling pins,” Mayweather said. “On August 26, I knock this [expletive] out too.”
Mayweather seemingly enjoyed the moment and treated it like stand-up comedy as he paced back and forth between statements. And, of course, Mayweather had to talk about money.
“He looks good for a seven- or eight-figure fighter but I’m a nine-figure fighter,” he boasted. “God don’t make mistakes and he only made one thing perfect and that’s my boxing record.”
5. The first war of words
While Mayweather spoke, McGregor couldn’t help but interject. After Mayweather suggested that he would knock McGregor out, the Irishman returned fire.
“Floyd hasn’t knocked anybody out in 20 years!”
And McGregor couldn’t wait for the inevitable conversation about money. As Mayweather pulled a $100 million check out of his backpack, McGregor quickly brought up his opponent’s current issues with the Internal Revenue Service, which led to this exchange.
“That’s for the tax man!” McGregor said.
“I’m the IRS and I’m going to tax your ass,” Mayweather fired back.
“You aren’t going to do [expletive]!” McGregor concluded.
This is going to be fun.
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