PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was as expected. When the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor four-city press tour kicked off on Tuesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to promote their Aug. 26 fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, both fighters got their verbal jabs in.
McGregor, at his strutting, smack-talking, cauliflower-eared, gum-chomping best, seemed to curry the favor of the LA crowd. “The Notorious” got some good zingers in, busting on Mayweather’s attire, calling it an “[expletive] track suit. He can’t even afford a suit anymore. He is [expletive]. There’s no other way about it. His little legs, his little core, his little head. I’m gonna knock him out inside four rounds, mark my words.”
Mayweather, who turned 40 in February, sat there calmly, sipping a bottle of water and taking it all in. In the comments of many, Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) also won the verbal sparring. He wore a hat bearing “48” to signify his 48th victory, the record-setting 4.6 million pay-per-view buys when he beat Manny Pacquiao on May 2, 2015 (the highest UFC PPV was McGregor-Nate Diaz2 on Aug. 20, 2016, which drew 1.6 million buys).
On his tax issues with the IRS (stemming from the Pacquiao fight), Mayweather held up an uncashed hand-written check, and said, “Still got $100 million and they can’t even touch this [expletive].”
“Give that to the tax man,” McGregor responded.
“You’re right, I’m the IRS and I’m going to tax your [expletive],” Mayweather countered back.
“Yeah, yeah we knew I was the A side,” Mayweather said. “That’s why we said ‘Mayweather’ first. He knew I was the A side, that’s why this bitch had to come to the boxing ring. They say he look good for a seven-figure fighter, he look good for an eight-figure fighter. But [expletive], I’m a nine-figure fighter. You all know what? This [expletive] made $3 million his last fight. We all know that’s training camp money for me.
“We know Mr. Tap Out like to quit (referring to McGregor’s submission loss to Diaz in 2016). And you will wave that white flag because you could choose which way you want to go. And I’m guaranteeing this: You can go out on your face or go out on your back. Which way do you want to go? That’s right. Sit quiet you little [expletive]. God don’t make mistakes and God only made one thing perfect and that’s my boxing record.”
“I’m going to knock him out inside of four rounds. Mark my words,” said the 28-year-old McGregor, who is 21-3, 18 KOs as an MMA fighter. “He will be unconscious inside of four rounds. The movement, the power, the ferociousness—he has not experienced this.”
There was one cringe-worthy sequence. When Mayweather was shadow boxing onstage, McGregor yelled at him, “Dance for me, boy!” Sensing he uttered something he couldn’t reverse, McGregor changed that to “Dance for me, sir. Dance for me!”
There was also one glaring tell that McGregor was nervous. His rapid gum chewing told how rattled he was.
Stay tuned for more.
And for those who doubted this fight would garner the public’s attention, the press conference garnered 2,261,472 views on YouTube—and it was growing.