Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather Jr. spar — but only verbally — in London
Floyd Mayweather Jr. circled behind a highly aware Conor McGregor on Friday as the fighters’ four-city international press tour closed in London.
“I ain’t going to touch you,” Mayweather comforted. “Until Aug. 26, [then] I’ll knock you … out.”
“Not with those brittle hands,” McGregor answered.
The expectation that Mayweather and McGregor would engage in some kind of physical confrontation to close the tour went unfulfilled, aside from McGregor placing his right palm on Mayweather’s shaved head and dismissing the boxing champion as a “peanut head.”
Overall, thanks to Friday’s creativity, McGregor won on the scorecard of one-liners during the tour that stretched from Los Angeles to Toronto and Brooklyn, N.Y., before reaching England.
Mayweather, after an especially profane turn Thursday in Brooklyn, also crossed the line when he called McGregor a derogatory term for a gay man.
“The … is now over,” McGregor said. “Six weeks, I’m going to sleep this guy and bounce his head off the canvas.”
Fulfilling his claims is now the real challenge for the Irishman as he attempts to step out of the UFC octagon — where he dominated with a 20-3 overall MMA record and stands as the first to ever wear two division belts simultaneously — and tries to defeat the 49-0 Mayweather in a boxing ring.
“You all can’t fight for this guy,” Mayweather told the crowd after they serenaded McGregor with creative songs. “Give me some more of your nursery rhymes.”
McGregor basked on his 29th birthday, surrounded by “so many people who support me” and remembering how he fought in front of 500 people in England four years ago.
“My home country is very dear to my heart,” McGregor said. “The Irish are not to be messed with. Floyd’s never fought an Irish fighter. Floyd will feel this.
“I get to quadruple my net worth for half of a fight. No one gets to kick. No one gets to knee. No one gets to elbow. … He could’ve rode off into the sunset at 49-0. This is my first time in a boxing ring, and in six weeks, I run this game.”
He blasted Mayweather for ordering his massive bodyguards to surround McGregor during the Brooklyn appearance, calling them “juiceheads” and threatening them as they sat outside the ring.
“Imagine paying those dudes a wage. No wonder you’re broke,” McGregor said to Mayweather before palming his head.
Held at SSE Arena outside Wembley Stadium in London, McGregor entered the ring set up for a super-middleweight bout Saturday night and showed off some boxing moves while wearing a gray suit.
Mayweather wore sunglasses, a long-sleeve shirt and sparkling chains with a diamond-laced wristwatch on his left arm and a diamond bracelet on his right wrist.
McGregor greeted him inside the ring, strutting and mocking Mayweather with fake smacks on the boxer’s rear end before another faceoff with words that seemed less sincere than when all this started Tuesday at Staples Center in L.A.
Mayweather roamed the ring before it was his time to talk, dancing lightly and stripping off the corner pad covers that read “McGregor.”
Afterward, the pair took reporters’ questions for the crowd to hear for the first time, with Mayweather saying he’s fulfilled his legacy as he nears 50-0 by “taking on the top guys.”
When someone asked McGregor how he can quiet the critics who dismiss this event as a circus with a predictable outcome, he said, “I sleep this man.
“The goal for the tour was to have fun with it. The trip has been amazing. I’m looking forward to the real work.”
Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire
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