SmackTalk: Mayweather, McGregor Talk A Big Game At LA Press Conference
By: Sean Crose
“This is all about the Benjamins.”
So said Mauro Ranallo as part of Showtime’s live stream of the first press conference for the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor August 26th 12 round bout. Ranallo was flanked by Paulie Malignaggi, who might become a McGregor sparring partner, and Brendan Schaub, an MMA announcer whose job was clearly to hype up McGregor’s chances in the fight. To listen at times to Schaub, whose a likable guy, you would get the impression that only an idiot would pick the 49-0 Mayweather to beat McGregor, whose never had a professional boxing match in his life. Never mind the fact that Schaub is also an expert on the sport of boxing, as well as MMA. This was all about the Benjamins indeed.
When it was time for the event to begin, McGregor stepped on the stage wearing a crisp suit and a serious expression. He then strutted around for a bit in a frat boy strut. A few moments later, Mayweather arrived…after making McGregor wait a bit. Wearing casual TMT attire, he looked considerably smaller than McGregor once he took to the stage. McGregor started moving about and talking smack. Floyd just looked at him, unphased. Ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. then started announcing the speakers. The MMA fans, who probably made up most of the crowd – indeed, who probably make up the core fan base for the fight – booed. UFC President Dana White then announced McGregor and the crowd went insane.
One thing that became clear, however, was that McGregor was not being allowed to dominate a press conference the way he generally likes to in the UFC. There would be little, very little, back and forth between he and Mayweather. “He’s in a fucking track suit,” McGreogr quipped about the boxer. “He can’t even afford a suit any more.” Then, McGregor got to the heart of the matter. “He is fucked there’s no other way about it,” he said. “I’m going to knock him out inside four rounds, mark my words.”
McGregor proceeded to focus on the sport of boxing, which is about to make him a very rich man. “I don’t fear him,” he said of his opponent. “I don’t fear this limited set of fighting…this is a limited set of rules that makes this half a fight, a quarter of a fight….if this was a true fight, it wouldn’t take one round.” Before stepping down from the mic, however, the bold Irishman verbally swaggered a bit more. “All these rules, all these restrictions, it doesn’t phase me, it amuses me,” he said. “All I need is a gum shield, line me up to the ring and I’m good to go.”
Mayweather responded in kind when it was his turn to speak, making it clear whose show it was. “We knew I was the A-side,” he said. “That’s why this bitch had to come to the boxing ring.” Mayweather also took to mocking McGregor’s earnings, turning the UFC star’s usual verbal attack against him. “This bitch made three million dollars his last fight,” he said of MCGregor. “But we know that’s training camp money for me.” The longstanding undefeated fighter then took it to McGregor directly. “I’m not the same fighter I was,” he admitted, “but I got enough to beat you.”
Not yet done, Mayweather, then got on McGregor for “tapping out” in some MMA battles. “And we know Mr. Tapout like to quit,” he said, referring to McGregor. “You goin’ out on your face or you goin’ out on your back.” Afterwards, both men engaged in procrastinated verbal jawing during the staredown. They’re good salemen, these two. Here’s the truth, though:
Floyd Mayweather doesn’t fight unless he has all the advantages, both in and out of the ring. That means McGregor couldn’t interrupt incessantly during today’s press conference. Such a thing might have given the witty Irishman a mental edge. Perhaps, then, there was more than one way to take one of Mayweather’s digs at his opponent:
“Sit quiet, you little bitch.