The time will come soon enough for Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor to start launching verbal daggers at each other, but in what are believed to be his first public comments about the fight since it was made, Mayweather was complimentary toward his Aug. 26 opponent.
Asked in an impromptu meeting with the Los Angeles Times late Friday night if he was in agreement with those who speculate that he'll defeat McGregor in a one-sided laugher, Mayweather responded, "No, he's tough."
Mayweather repeated, "He's tough," when asked how much he respects the UFC lightweight champion from Ireland, who is 21-3 after posting impressive stand-up striking victories over featherweight champion Jose Aldo, former lightweight title challenger Nate Diaz and lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in a 12-month stretch.
The Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas has listed McGregor as a 7-1 underdog, respectable odds considering McGregor, 28, will be making his pro boxing debut in the Showtime pay-per-view fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas against the 49-0 Mayweather.
The bout, which could challenge the $600 million in gate and pay-per-view sales that Mayweather's 2015 victory over Manny Pacquiao generated, will be hyped by a news conference that could occur by the end of June.
McGregor has verbally undressed several opponents during promotional appearances, most notably Brazil's Aldo, whose 10-year unbeaten run ended in a 13-second knockout.
Mayweather, 40, stands as one of boxing's all-time great talkers and he expressed no concern about going back and forth with McGregor.
"No one's going to be able to talk more [trash] than me," Mayweather said.