Less-than-capacity crowd still paid dividends for Mayweather-McGregor gate
The T-Mobile Arena attendance Saturday for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight was 14,623, about 6,000 shy of the capacity crowd for the Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. bout in May.
“You’re not going to always get it right,” Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe told the Los Angeles Times Saturday night after the bout.
“It’s all about delivery. The fans who were here enjoyed themselves.”
Mayweather’s powerful manager, Al Haymon, set prices for UFC champion McGregor’s pro-boxing debut that matched Mayweather’s 2015 victory over seven-division champion Manny Pacquiao — $10,000 for floor seats, and nothing in the lower bowl for less than $3,500.
One section appeared mostly empty in the building, and the massive number of Irish seen on the Strip were noticeably not represented the arena.
Yet, the prices did accomplish the intended goal.
Mayweather said after the bout that the money generated from the bout set a new live-gate record fro combat sports of nearly $80 million.
Mayweather reaches 50-0 with 10th round TKO over McGregor
Floyd Mayweather Jr. closed out his distinguished career at 50-0. UFC champion Conor McGregor lasted into the 10th round in his pro boxing debut against the best boxer of his generation.
So, both men could declare victory Saturday night in their novelty boxing match at T-Mobile Arena.
Mayweather, 40, set aside the ills of age after a slow start, finding his groove to hammer McGregor with a series of punches that led to a 10th-round technical-knockout victory in front of 14,623 spectators, well shy of T-Mobile’s capacity of more than 20,000.
“He’s a lot better than I thought he was, but I was the better man,” Mayweather said.
Mayweather did little offensively in the first four rounds, as McGregor landed clean jabs, punches and even some dubious mixed martial arts-inspired hammer fists to the back of the head.
But Mayweather soon reverted to the master tactician who knows how to win rounds, peppering McGregor with an impressive three-punch series of right hands in the sixth round.
His accuracy and tempo increased into the ninth, when McGregor resorted to desperate holds after being hurt by blows. Mayweather perfectly timed what he said was a strategy to test McGregor’s cardio endurance beyond the longest possible UFC fight.
“We know in MMA he fights for 25 minutes,” Mayweather said. “After 25 minutes, he started to slow down.”
Said McGregor: “I thought I took the early rounds pretty handily. He had to change his style, and he adjusted.”
In the 10th, Mayweather crushed McGregor with three hard rights as part of an onslaught that convinced referee Robert Byrd to stop the fight 1 minute 5 seconds into the round.
“I was just a little fatigued,” McGregor said. “He was just a lot more composed with his shots. I have to give it to him. That’s what 50 pro fights will do for you.”
All three judges had Mayweather leading at the stoppage. Dave Moretti had it 87-83, Burt Clements 89-82 and Guido Cavalleri had it 89-81.
I guaranteed everybody this fight wouldn’t go the distance
— Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“I guaranteed everybody this fight wouldn’t go the distance,” Mayweather said. “Boxing’s reputation was on the line. Boxing’s a hell of a sport.”
Mayweather’s previous fight, against Manny Pacquiao in May 2015, was not a great night for the sport. It was dull and plodding.
“I owed [fans] for the Pacquiao fight,” Mayweather said. “I said I wouldn’t back down.”
McGregor proudly hung in as total punches landed were 88-82 in Mayweather’s favor after seven rounds. He also showed an impressive jab, landing 27 to Mayweather’s 18.
In the end, Mayweather out-landed McGregor 170-111 in total punches, and 152-84 in power punches.
But McGregor can boast that nine of Mayweather’s opponents in 12-round fights landed fewer than 100 punches in the entire bout. McGregor posted his 111 in less than 10 full rounds.
“When you’re here in the squared circle, everything is different,” McGregor said. “He’s composed. Not that fast or powerful, but, boy, is he composed.”
McGregor embraced Mayweather afterward, the pair sharing complimentary words.
“Conor’s a hell of a champion,” Mayweather said.
After the fight, McGregor said he thought Byrd should have let the bout go on, even though he didn’t immediately dispute the stoppage in the ring after ducking and showing no willingness to throw a punch to answer Mayweather’s attack.
“Let me try to recompose myself,” the 29-year-old McGregor said. “I’m brand new to the sport. Let me walk back to my corner.”
He was left to accept a moral triumph of sorts, knowing more millions of dollars await as he promised to return to UFC fighting, far prouder than he was when he lost to Nate Diaz in a UFC fight last year.
“I’ve been strangled on live TV and came back,” McGregor cracked.
Before the fight, UFC executives described McGregor’s involvement in the longshot attempt to defeat Mayweather as a “win-win,” thanks to the massive mainstream attention Saturday’s unique event brought him and the organization.
It could be the richest pay-per-view fight of all time.
There was no shame in losing to Mayweather, the UFC executives reasoned, noting that seven-division champion Pacquiao, along with four-division champions Miguel Cotto and Juan Manuel Marquez, had been convincingly defeated by the tactician.
“What can I say? I had a bit of fun and hopefully entertained the fans,” McGregor said.
When the fight was over, Mayweather committed to a life in retirement — although he has come back three times after calling it quits previously — and said he’ll earn more than $300 million for this fight.
“This was my last fight tonight. For sure,” Mayweather said. “I look forward to going into the Hall of Fame someday.”
Commendable showing for McGregor in defeat
Going into his fight with Floyd Mayweather Saturday night, there was widespread dismissiveness of Conor McGregor’s chances. He didn’t belong in the ring with Mayweather. He wouldn’t land a punch. Given that backdrop, McGregor and his supporters have to take some solace and even pride in his knockout defeat. McGregor looked like he belonged with a boxing icon, and it made for an entertaining fight.
Early on, Mayweather appeared to have difficulty figuring McGregor out. As the fight progressed, Mayweather found more openings and began to land with regularity. More important, McGregor tired, as he often has in longer MMA fights. McGregor’s downfall was that cardio and not an inability to compete with Mayweather. McGregor also forced Mayweather to step up his aggression and score the sort of impressive finish that Mayweather hasn’t always delivered.
After the fight, Mayweather acknowledged that McGregor was better than he expected. McGregor was positively glowing with enthusiasm, clearly pleased with the performance he delivered. He secured a massive payday and may have raised his status in the process. If McGregor returns to MMA (and he said he would after the fight), his fights will be even bigger events than they were prior to his boxing foray.
Round 10: Mayweather scores TKO win over McGregor
Mayweather is landing several strong punches and it looks like this is going to end. Ref Robert Byrd stops the fight with McGregor almost out on his feet.
Mayweather gets the win, but McGregor showed amazing heart.
Round 9: Mayweather puts McGregor in trouble
Great start of the round by McGregor with a nice body shot that hurt Mayweather.
McGregor is being the aggressor again in this round. Mayweather seems to be content to defend this round. Good right by Mayweather. Good combo by Mayweather and McGregor looks hurt.
This could be it. Solid combination by Mayweather has McGregor struggling to make it out of the round. Mayweather keeps coming forward and McGregor is in trouble.
Will he make it out of the round? Mayweather is opening on McGregor, who is basically out on his feet.
Great round by Mayweather and this may do it. I don’t see McGregor getting through this.
LA Times Card: 10-9 Mayweather (86-85 Mayweather)
Round 8: McGregor wins close round; fight even
Mayweather looking loose this round, although McGregor is landing some nice shots. Nice exchange for both fighters.
Not a lot of action in the round but this is the best round for McGregor since the third. Nice combination by McGregor.
A very close round. McGregor might have gotten it. But this will be the round that could be key in how the judges call it.
LA Times Card: 10-9 McGregor (76-76 even)
Round 7: Power punches finally landing for Mayweather; McGregor tiring
Lots of clutching in this round, and it looks like McGregor is tiring a bit and is looking to recharge a bit.
A good combo by Mayweather, and it forces McGregor to clinch. McGregor looks fatigued a bit. Mayweather is landing some hard rights. McGregor doesn’t look like he has many answers at this point.
Mayweather seems to be landing his shots easily. Another solid round for Mayweather. He is now in front.
LA Times Card: 10-9 Mayweather (67-66 Mayweather)
Round 6: Best round of the night for Mayweather; fight is even
Mayweather turns his back on McGregor and the ref has to separate the two after some punches to the back of the head.
Nice rights by Mayweather, and he is finally looking like the best of his generation. McGregor is looking tired and not solid on his feet.
Good response by McGregor as he looks recuperated. The two are smiling in the middle of the ring. This seems like the round that it turns around for Mayweather.
Some nice chants for McGregor, and he showboats a bit by putting his hands behind his back again. The best round of the night for Mayweather. It’s even.
LA Times Card: 10-9 Mayweather (57-57 even)
Round 5: Close round to Mayweather; McGregor tiring
Slower start to the fifth round. McGregor is landing his jab effectively. Mayweather is looking slow, lack of his footwork is evident.
Mayweather is finally trying to take the action to McGregor but suprisingly McGregor has been able to evade them. McGregor is looking a little tired now.
Not a ton of action, but Mayweather looks like he may be imposing his will. He even got a little push in after the bell.
LA Times Card: 10-9 Mayweather (48-47 McGregor)
Round 4: Close round that goes to Mayweather
McGregor throwing some combinations early in the round. They didn’t hurt Mayweather but this is pretty shocking so far. There is nothing of the action from Mayweather that he promised.
Mayweather is waking up a bit with a couple of quick jabs. Best round so far by Mayweather as McGregor is looking a little tired.
Mayweather missing with some strong jabs. A close round but it’s the first one for Mayweather.
LA Times Card: 10-9 Mayweather (39-37 McGregor)
Round 3: McGregor gets another one but is fighting a bit dirty
McGregor is getting away with a couple of rabbit punches and he continues to look the aggressor. The McGregor crowd is getting into it. More rabbit punches to the back of the head by McGregor.
McGregor with a couple of nice jabs in the middle of the ring. Mayweather must be trying to tire out McGregor because he doesn’t seem to be very interested in throwing many punches.
Not much action again and is this really happening? A better round by Mayweather but McGregor might be on a 3-0 run.
LA Times Card: 10-9 McGregor (30-27 McGregor)
Round 2: Another good round for McGregor
Mayweather content with sitting in the corner and waiting on McGregor to come to him. Mayweather is just measuring up McGregor right now and not a lot of action in the second.
McGregor is switching up and has landed a couple of nice rights to Mayweather’s face. McGregor looks like he belongs and Mayweather isn’t doing anything at all, barely throwing punches.
McGregor is missing more than landing, but Mayweather isn’t throwing any punches. Close round but it goes to McGregor beacuse of more punches landed.
LA Times Card: 10-9 McGregor (20-18 McGregor)
Round 1: McGregor wins first round with more activity
McGregor starts fast and Mayweather is content to rest on the ropes and wait this out. Very awkward stance by McGregor although his reach seems to be an advantage.
McGregor begins showing off a bit by putting his hands behind his back. Mayweather still trying to figure things out. Nice left by McGregor in the best punch of the night with 30 seconds left.
Nice early for McGregor. He’s got one at least.
L.A. Times Card: 10-9 McGregor
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Both boxers are in the ring
National anthems being sung now
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Start of main event delayed because of outages and orders
The start of Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor boxing match will be delayed briefly, according to Showtime, due to a rash of last-minute fight orders and system outages.
“We have reports of scattered outages from various cable and satellite providers and the online offering,” Showtime reported in a statement. “We will delay the start of the main event slightly to allow for systems to get on track.”
Mayweather vs. McGregor: It’s showtime, sort of
Tell me it’s not true. You can’t handle the truth. Damn right I can’t.
OK, I’m exaggerating, something that never happens in boxing.
Times boxing writer extraordinaire Lance Pugmire is reporting there may be a delay on the main event because of problems with people being able to buy the pay per view. You’ve known the fight was for months. If you are caught up in the volume, tough luck. But maybe the volume will catch up.
I’ve been in this business long enough to know that boxing promoters care only about the numbers — be it attendance or pay-per-view numbers. Can’t tell you the number of times we’ve been brow beaten, cajoled, beer and dined to help promote their fight. But once the fight is there, you’re on your own. They don’t care. Their job is promotion.
In this case, little promotion was needed. It was like shooting fish in a small pond.
Now, the final warm-up fight is over in eight rounds. Replays showed Gervonta Davis won by hitting his opponent in the back of the head, called a rabbit punch, although it’s unclear that any bunnies use them in everyday life.
In the end, we don’t care. The long, national suffering has gone on long enough. Time to start the main event.
Clearly the main event won’t start at five minutes before the hour (notice the agnostic use of time zones).
But, now it is time. How much time we don’t know although the fact Showtime is showing a long canned feature on Mayweather is not a good sign.
Enjoy the fight. For the behind-the-scene stories, come back here or catch The Times print edition.
Gervonta Davis wins in lackluster performance against Francisco Fonseca
Gervonta Davis lost his belt by missing weight even before fighting Saturday and his inattention in the ring also led to a more difficult bout than he believed.
Referee Russell Mora controversially awarded Davis an eighth-round knockout victory on a left-handed punch that struck opponent Francisco Fonseca in the back of the head.
Davis (19-0, 18 knockouts) said he hurt Fonseca with a body blow before the punch, and explained that the disputed shot “capped” the damage, although fans who watched replays in the arena booed that thought.
“Everyone saw I was going down from a blow that was not legal,” Fonseca said. “I want a rematch. … Even though he came in at 160 pounds, he didn’t hit as hard as he says he does.”
Davis lost the belt by weighing 132 pounds, two over the junior-lightweight limit Friday, losing his belt and putting the International Boxing Federation title on the line only for the 40/1 underdog Fonseca.
Fonseca (19-1-1) rocked Davis so hard with a punch in the seventh, the former champion was forced to grab the ropes to remain standing.
Davis immediately swinging aggressive uppercuts to open the bout, trying to end the fight impressively, but he was locked in a tougher test than he thought.
Costa Rica’s Fonseca landed a head-jarring punch that forced some flush blows in the third.
Davis responded with a power punch in the fourth and began some showmanship before Fonseca smacked him with a few clean shots.
In the fifth, Davis began showing more seriousness, backing Fonseca with a left, and he landed a hurtful left to the gut in the sixth.
The bout served as the co-main event to the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor boxing event matching the 49-0, five-division boxing champion against the charismatic UFC champion McGregor, which was not complete at press time.
Davis, after working out under Mayweather’s guidance and training feverishly in a rubber suit Thursday night, revealed again the difficulty some boxers have in making weight.
He apologized on Twitter afterward, posting: “I’m young. I’m growing. I had a chance to make the weight. I knew I couldn’t make it and that’s that. I will have a belt again.
“I lost the belt, not a fight. … I will make it up.”
That left Davis’ stablemate at Mayweather Boxing Club, former super-middleweight champion Badou Jack, to fight for a belt. He succeeded, stopping Nathan Cleverly by fifth-round technical knockout.
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Gervonta Davis wins controversial co-feature
Floyd Mayweather protege Gervonta Davis was given a tremendous opportunity to advance his career when he was placed in the co-main event position for the Mayweather-McGregor card. It isn’t clear whether the 22-year-old fully appreciated or capitalized on that opportunity, but he picked up a victory either way over Francisco Fonseca.
The troubles started on Friday when Davis missed weight for fight and lost his IBF junior lightweight title on the scale. During the fight, Davis didn’t appear at his best. Fonseca was the more active fighter, landing 86 of 309 punches while Davis landed 104 of 260. Davis landed the harder shots but didn’t dominate as the massive favorite.
The finish to the fight created further problems for Davis. Fonseca went down from an illegal punch to the back of the head. Davis then shoved Fonseca for good measure on the ground, and Fonseca was counted out. Davis was loudly booed by the crowd after being declared the winner and then in the post-fight interview. Davis improves to 19-0 while Fonseca falls to 19-1-1.
With the undercard complete, Mayweather vs. McGregor is next.
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Ultimate test of Irish MMA superstar’s will on horizon
UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor was interviewed backstage minutes before his legacy defining showdown with boxing great Floyd Mayweather. The outspoken McGregor was as cool and confident as ever.
“I’m going to go out and be myself: free, spontaneous, creative,” McGregor declared to Jim Gray. “Paint a beautiful picture. I see myself truly outclassing this man and putting him to sleep.”
It was a bold proclamation, a man with no professional boxing experience calmly predicting he would outclass arguably the greatest boxer of his generation. However, it’s nothing new for those who have followed McGregor’s rise. Since the beginning of his MMA career, McGregor has seemingly willed improbable facts into existence. He burst onto the UFC scene with some of the most over-the-top trash talking in the history of MMA and then he managed to back it up in the octagon.
After five straight wins to start his UFC career (four via KO/TKO), McGregor was placed in an interim featherweight title bout against Chad Mendes. Many felt Mendes was a terrible stylistic matchup for McGregor: a high-end wrestler who could negate McGregor’s striking. Instead, McGregor knocked him out in two.
McGregor’s rise only accelerated from there. Next up was a showdown with MMA legend Jose Aldo, 25-1 and undefeated for over a decade. McGregor repeatedly badmouthed Aldo and predicted he would be the first to knock the Brazilian superstar out. McGregor then did just that, knocking Aldo out with one punch in just 13 seconds.
McGregor suffered his first UFC setback in his next fight, taking on Nate Diaz at 170 pounds and losing via submission. McGregor lobbied for an immediate rematch. Critics said it was a bad idea to take the fight again. Diaz beat him once and that was with Diaz taking the fight on short notice. Now Diaz would have a full training camp and McGregor didn’t even ask for the fight at 155 pounds, which many felt would be the better weight for the Irishman. McGregor took the challenge and avenged his loss via majority decision. He then took on lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and knocked him out in two rounds to become the first fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold titles in two weight classes.
Throughout his rise in MMA, McGregor has faced doubters. They questioned repeatedly whether he was taking on bigger challenges than he could handle. The way he talked so big and then backed it up seemed too good to be true. Now, McGregor is being doubted like never before. Few experts give him much of a shot against a boxer the caliber of Mayweather in Mayweather’s game. Meanwhile, McGregor’s supporters continue to back him. He has given them little reason to doubt him so far. However, this could be the night where his ambition finally proves to be his undoing.
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Possible delay of main event because of issues with pay-per-view
McGregor staying calm before the biggest fight of his life
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Time for the penultimate fight
One fight closer to the main event.
Boy, am I ever a fan of Sweden’s Jack the Ripper? Which in Swedish is Jack Uppskäraren. Thank you Google translate.
He beat the other guy in five rounds. Second of three undercard fights. Gives us a chance to get the main event on earlier.
Sometime during the fight, we saw Conor McGregor enter the arena. He didn’t have earbuds in and was dressed rather well. Don’t know what that means.
Can’t say I actually saw the stoppage. You know, trip to the fridge, man about a horse, all those sorts of things. The second fight is kind of like the third song in a concert, time to visit the concession stand and take care of business.
But anyway you look at it, we’re happy.
Now we have to wait to see how long until the penultimate fight. Penultimate is actually one of my favorite words. It means next to last but a lot of people fixate on the “ultimate” part of that word. There is nothing ultimate in penultimate.
What am I doing? Stretching, just like the Showtime announcers.
Jim Gray is interviewing Conor McGregor in the dressing room. McGregor has his forearm and wrists taped but is still wearing a shirt, tie and vest. An interesting look. He’s speaking calmly while he chews gum. (Umm … Juicy Fruit. Get the movie reference?)
Let’s get rolling and get that penultimate fight in the ring.
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Badou Jack captures light heavyweight title
In one of the featured bouts of the Mayweather-McGregor undercard, Swedish star Badou Jack (22-1-2) captured the WBA light heavyweight title via fifth-round TKO over Welshman Nathan Cleverly (30-4). Jack dominated the action throughout the contest, leading referee Tony Weeks to stop the bout. Cleverly wasn’t in great trouble at the moment of the stoppage but was taking a sustained beating over time. Jack landed 172 of 442 punches (39%) while Cleverly landed only 82 of 409 (20%).
Jack had fought most of his career at super middleweight and was champion at that weight class, but he elected to move up to light heavyweight for the fight with Cleverly. Despite the fact Jack was moving up in weight, he was the bigger man on the night than the defending light heavyweight champion Cleverly. Jack looked sharp at his new weight class while it was another disappointing setback for Cleverly, who has lost three of his last five.
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Issues with pay-per-view have viewers on edge
You plan your weekend around it. You call your friends to confirm attendance and make sure they will help cover the $100 price tag and you stock up on food and drink.
Then you flip on the television and press the Order button ready to settle in for what is expected to be the most talked about sporting event of the year.
But then you cringe. You see a notification that there are issues with the pay-per-view telecast. It’s the worst of nightmares.
And it’s happening to a lot of Mayweather vs. McGregor fans. No word yet from UFC Fight Pass on if it can get the issue resolved before the main event.
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Please, can we speed up this night?
Yeah, one fight is over. Bad news, it went the distance. The young guy won.
OK, listen up all, we want fast fights just in the hope that the main event will start as early as possible. Again, if you’re in L.A., it gets you more party time. If you’re on the East Coast, gets you to bed earlier.
The announcers on Showtime are doing their absolute best to generate excitement and anticipation. Isn’t working. Pretty much everyone knows this fight is, well, shall we kindly say one-sided.
The Showtime faces are doing a segment on what the strategy is for an MMA fighter to beat a boxer. Guess what, strategy is simple: Don’t get hit. And the way to win: Hit your opponent first. All the footwork and angle of punches to an MMA fighter might as well be spoken in Latin.
Only Latin I know is caveat emptor, which is what was flashing before my eyes as I pushed that button on my (no-Dodgers) DirecTV remote control.
TV just flashed to Mayweather walking into the arena with his earbuds on listening to … we don’t know what he’s listening to. Could it be a podcast from NPR or maybe the classic album of Gregorian chants? We’ll never know, but guessing our guesses are wrong.
Next fight is some guy named Jack the Ripper, who ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. says is fighting out of Las Vegas by way of Stockholm. We hear that’s a popular route on Southwest. Lot of peanuts on that long a flight. Bottom line is he’s not from White Chapel.
Whatever the geography, please don’t go the distance.
Mayweather has arrived to T-Mobile Arena
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Really, we’ve got almost three hours to go
Over the next few hours, we’ll be providing commentary on the view that most of you have: off a TV in the living room, on your couch.
We all plunked down our $100, with absolutely no interest in the three undercard fights. Wait? Almost three hours to the main event. Don’t know about you but I’m good with just one undercard fight and then on to the main event. But, I guess if you pay $100 you expect more than an hour of entertainment.
Now, think about it if you are on the East Coast, you have to sit through all this starting at 9 p.m. Sure, you could switch over to the Chargers-Rams exhibition game on national TV (who made that decision?). That’s a choice that redefines Einstein’s definition of insanity if you watch that one. Especially in the second half when the starters are gone.
Couple of guys named Tabiti and Cunningham are fighting right now. Cunningham is 41 years old, but he’s fighting a real boxer. There will probably be only one 40-year-old winning tonight. Whoever wins I won’t know if it is an upset or not.
Wait, they just cut away to a sasquatch holding a mythical title belt.
This is going to be a long night.
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Lou DiBello, Lance Pugmire, Bill Plaschke discuss the fight
Mayweather vs. McGregor: 4 $1-million bets have been placed on Mayweather
One of the most interesting things to follow during the run-up to the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight is the betting action.
While the majority of the bets have been placed for McGregor, the money that has been bet most heavily is on Mayweather.
Several brave souls have put $1 million on Mayweather with a payout of about $200,000.
If McGregor somehow pulls off the impossible and beats Mayweather there will be a lot of unhappy bettors, and bookmakers, in Vegas.
Mayweather vs. McGregor: A look inside T-Mobile Arena
We are still about five hours away from the opening bell of the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight, but the expectation and excitement that has been slowly building all week is about to hit a fever pitch.
The doors of T-Mobile Arena don’t open for another hour but the crowds have started gathering outside the venue.
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Tickets still unsold; cheapest seat is about $1,350
Mayweather vs. McGregor: Floyd is a genius
I received a text message yesterday from a friend, who might or might not happen to also be a co-worker.
“Just bought the fight, like a total mark,” he wrote.
The same friend also wagered $200 on Floyd Mayweather Jr. to knock out Conor McGregor, which could earn him a $100 profit.
Actually, “profit” might be the wrong word, since that $100 will cover the cost of the pay-per-view broadcast.
“So I basically risked $200 to win the $100 that I just lit on fire,” my friend said. “Floyd Mayweather is a [expletive] genius.”
Mayweather vs. McGregor predictions: Will a kick to Mayweather’s head end it?
Conor McGregor is going to get kicked out of this fight. Seriously. Literally. This is how it will end.
It will be the eighth round. Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be completely in control, frustrating the wild-swinging McGregor with his elusiveness and balance, landing enough punches to occasionally stagger McGregor but not quick enough to knock him down.
McGregor will slowly become bloody, his face slowly swelling from the beating, his eyes growing wide from the stark realization that boxing is not his sport and this is not a fight he can win.
So, what the hell, in the middle of the eighth round, he’ll kick him. McGregor will drop his hands, lift his left leg, and kick Mayweather smack in the side of the face.
He’ll kick him like he’s kicked his 24 UCF opponents. This is what McGregor does. This is who he is. It will be the first moment in the entire fight that he will seem comfortable. The kick will come as natural to him as his next breath.
Mayweather will stagger back in shock, the crowd will scream, referee Robert Byrd will stop the fight by disqualification, McGregor will shrug and smile, and everyone will immediately start scrambling around to make the rematch.
Yes, McGregor could contractually lose as much as 90 percent of his potential $100 million purse if he reverts to any MMA moves. But the future publicity it would bring him and the UFC would be priceless.
Admit it. You know this could happen. You’re probably cheering for this to happen. Why else would you be watching this fight?
-- BILL PLASCHKE, Times columnist
Conor McGregor has said much about defeating Floyd Mayweayther Jr. on Saturday night.
But let’s be serious.
Now that the fight is at hand and McGregor has ensured prize money that should exceed $100 million, everything that follows the opening bell will be about how to spin this forward.
Mayweather will pick McGregor apart in a true boxing match, so McGregor has to bring the fight to Mayweather in the early rounds. He has to hope that being close and landing one of his heavy left hands will affect the40-year-old, five-division world champion who hasn’t fought in almost two years.
I would argue McGregor doesn’t even have a puncher’s chance given Mayweather’s first interest in defense.
Mayweather “can go 12 rounds in his sleep,” as gifted Southland trainer Manny Robles told me, so he can be intent to let McGregor start to tire after three rounds of intense pursuit. Then he will begin to dismantle the Irishman with jabs, body shots and clean punches.
This form of execution is Mayweather’s choice, captured in Mayweather’s faked hand pistol shots at McGregor during Friday’s animated weigh-in at T-Mobile Arena.
The fact that this fight is entertainment first does give me pause to strongly consider if McGregor, at some point in frustration, attempts some rough play allowed only in MMA fights as part of an exit strategy back to UFC.
And I’ve also wondered how “Money” Mayweather can’t consider the idea of walking into a heavy punch, taking a loss and setting up two more fights for even more cash.
But I’ll give Mayweather’s interest and dedication in boxing the benefit of the doubt here, and say he’s going to underline his belief that his sport is the king of combat sports.
Through repeated blows in a technical masterpiece, Mayweather wins by eighth-round technical knockout and heads back to retirement with a 50-0 record.
-- LANCE PUGMIRE, Times boxing writer
Admittedly, I haven’t been around Conor McGregor much. But I can tell you the McGregor who was in Los Angeles for the first stop of his four-city press tour with Floyd Mayweather Jr. last month isn’t the same person I’ve seen this week.
McGregor has looked scared in Las Vegas, and understandably so. This isn’t a fight. This is the best boxer of his generation attacking a practically defenseless man.
Mayweather’s 40, but that shouldn’t make a different. Mayweather could be 50 and he would still be favored here.
Mayweather has said he would take the fight to McGregor and while that seems out of character for him, I’m inclined to believe him.
Mayweather walked down Zab Judah, whom he correctly determined was incapable of throwing punches while in retreat.
He also walked down Shane Mosley. Judah was once an undisputed welterweight champion. Mosley is a future Hall of Famer. If Mayweather can stalk and dismantle fighters of their quality, he can certainly do the same to a novice such as McGregor.
How long the fight lasts is entirely up to Mayweather. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to blast out McGregor early, which could prevent the audience from seeing the extent of McGregor’s incompetence.
Doing so might even earn him some undue credit for the farcical win. The more likely scenario is that Mayweather takes his time, advances behind a high guard, methodically breaks down McGregor and stops him between the fourth and seventh rounds.
Something to keep in mind: the longer the fight lasts, the more head shots McGregor will take and the more likely he gets seriously injured in this fight. Referee Robert Byrd better be alert.
Prediction: Mayweather wins by fourth-round knockout.
-- DYLAN HERNANDEZ, Times columnist
The specter of race hangs over Mayweather-McGregor fight
Gerry Cooney said he was caught off guard by the idea that race was part of the equation in his 1982 heavyweight title fight against Larry Holmes. And now he finds it’s unfortunate that there’s still a “Great White Hope” element to UFC champion Conor McGregor’s fight Saturday night against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“To the small little percentage of people who talk about [the fight] for a day, yes,” race is part of the fight, Conney told The Times.
“After that, it’s gone. I hated all that stuff with Holmes, but when we got in the center of the ring and [referee] Mills Lane gave me instructions, we said, ‘Let’s have a good fight.’ That’s what it’s about. That’s sportsmanship.”
One-hundred and seven years ago, Jack Johnson defeated James J. Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match that spawned the term “Great White Hope” in reference to Jeffries, who lost.
Race surfaced between the fighters during the Mayweather-McGregor press tour, when McGregor told Mayweather, “Dance for me, boy,” on one stop, then called him a monkey , according to Mayweather.
The fighters mostly avoided that kind of talk this week, but in a Fox News interview on his media day, Mayweather spoke as if he’ll remember the slur during the bout.
“Ten seconds before the fight, I want him to call me ‘monkey,’” Mayweather said. “When I drop him, I’m going to say, ‘Get up, monkey.’”
Cooney felt some backlash from fans after he lost to Holmes by 13th-round technical knockout. He said McGregor could face the same if he doesn’t fare well – as expected – against the 49-0 Mayweather, whose villainous persona has helped make him the top pay-per-view fighter in history.
“That could be,” Cooney said. “[McGregor’s] such a promoter, such a vibrant guy, such a great athlete, but there can be that [backlash] because he can be embarrassed in there fighting a guy like Floyd Mayweather. [Support from McGregor’s newer fans] could be very short-lived and it could very embarrassing. And Maywerather’s used to doing that.
“Floyd Mayweather’s going to do what he does: cover up on the ropes, shoulder roll, counter-punch, counter-punch … you remember seeing Marcos Maidana-Floyd Mayweather? Great fight for Maidana, for six, seven rounds … once he got tired, it was all over for him. That’s what I see for McGregor in some aspects, unless all of a sudden, at 40, Mayweather got old. I don’t think he did, because he’s in shape all the time.
“It’s a great promotion. A lot of people are talking bad about it. It did have nastiness and ugliness, but everyone always wants to know who’s tougher. What I want to see is how the corners break it down, how does Mayweather adjust, does Mayweather do the same old stuff, or is he going to be more aggressive?”
A look back at Floyd Mayweather’s last fake fight
Saturday night’s mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor for the world’s P.T. Barnum title belt has fascinated America like few mismatches in recent sports history. What would the brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning L.A. Times sports columnist Jim Murray have said about this? Why, it’s the Titanic and the iceberg.
And the iceberg always wins.
But it also harkens back to another circus that Mayweather was involved in: Wrestlemania 24 at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl on March 30, 2008.
The diminutive, by comparison, Mayweather was going up against The Big Show (real name Paul Donald Wright II), whose stats were said to be 7 feet and almost 400 pounds of both muscle and the opposite of muscle. Any way you look at it, he was a big guy. It was a no-disqualification match, of course.
I was there to cover and coordinate coverage of that event for our sister newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel, which did near record digital numbers that night — but nothing like The Times should do Saturday, with its world-best digital coverage of the Mayweather-McGregor fight.) I was a legitimate journalist at an illegitimate event, but I was more than OK with it.
I grew up watching championship wrestling from Florida every Saturday afternoon. There was the golden voice of Gordon Solie, the Vin Scully, Chick Hearn and Bob Miller of pro wrestling all rolled into one. He may have invented the phrases “squared circle” and “crimson mask,” but even if he didn’t, I give him credit for them.
My colleague Houston Mitchell and I were among the first mainstream journalists to blow the lid off steroid and drug abuse in pro wrestling on the front page of The Times in 1992. Looking back, it might have been one of the biggest no-brainer, obvious stories ever.
So I knew that there was absolutely no question the Mayweather-Show match, along with every other one on the card, was an absolute “work” (code for fake).
The promoters had to come up with an ending that allowed both commodities — wrestling and boxing — to appear to be winners.
Here’s how they did it.
Mayweather started with the style we’ve grown accustomed to, running around the ring, eluding contact like a live chicken that knows it’s on the menu for that night. Mayweather connected with some body shots, a big target, and even caught Show on the jaw. At one point, he stopped for a drink of water as Show lumbered about the ring.
Show then headed for a corner and took out one of Mayweather’s entourage and dragged another into the ring. Mayweather just watched until he finally started hitting Show. The big guy lifted Mayweather, who was able to get on Show’s back and apply a sleeper hold, which is really just a chokehold from behind.
Show eventually dumped Mayweather to the ground and started beating on him. Mayweather’s entourage, fearing the mythical worst, dragged the champ from the ring. But Show went after him, swatting away the entourage and dragging Mayweather back to the ring.
Show was about to conduct a choke-slam, which is just what it sounds like, when Mayweather got hit with a chair by one of the entourage. Show choke-slams the helper, and then Mayweather hits Show with a chair. Show blocks a second chair shot, but Mayweather retaliates with a low blow. Mayweather then hits Show with a few more chair shots.
Finally, Mayweather goes to what’s left of his entourage, pulls out a pair of brass knuckles and floors Show with a right. (Note to self: If in a fight, brass knuckles work better than a chair or multiple chairs.)
Show is counted out, and Mayweather wins. The crowd, said to be 74,635 (but wrestling crowds are sometimes counted the same as inauguration crowds) didn’t like the result.
The match lasted 11 minutes and 40 seconds.
That was Mayweather’s last fake fight.
With millions of state-regulated dollars having been bet on Saturday night’s fight, surely the organizers can’t be pulling a “work.”
But if in the fifth or so round, heretofore dominated by Mayweather, McGregor pulls some illegal MMA move and knocks Mayweather down and a disqualification ensues, you wonder how many people are going to think that it turned out well for both sports.
Boxing gets the win and dominates the fight. Mixed martial arts gets to keep the tough guy’s street-fighting reputation. And both sports get to keep our money.
Nah, could never happen.
Heavily pro-McGregor crowd starts fight weekend festivities at weigh-in
Conor McGregor met the super-welterweight boxing weight limit for his Saturday match against Floyd Mayweather Jr., weighing in at 153 pounds Friday at T-Mobile Arena.
Within view of the boxing ring where McGregor will take the unprecedented steps to become the first reigning UFC champion to engage in a pro boxing match, the 49-0 former five-division boxing champion Mayweather weighed 149 1/2.
“That’s the worst shape he’s ever looked,” McGregor said. “I’ll stomp my foot on his head. I see a man afraid.”
A festive pro-McGregor crowd waving orange, white and green Irish flags and belting out songs rooted in their native land roared for McGregor, who confronts steep odds likely beyond the current 4/1 line supported by his die-hard fans.
Scalpers were hawking free tickets to the sold-out weigh-in for $65 outside the arena.
The heavy betting money, such as the single $1-million bet Friday at MGM Grand, supports Mayweather, but bookmakers say 95% of the action they take is on McGregor, a devastating UFC striker who captured featherweight and lightweight belts simultaneously within a year’s time.
“Weight doesn’t win fights,” Mayweather said. “Fighting wins fights. It won’t go the distance, mark my word. This will become McGregor’s last fight also.”
He added: “I’m used to fights of this magnitude.”
The weigh-in was preceded by a highlight package shown in the arena of the four-stop international press tour in which the fighters exchanged flurries of verbal digs.
Watch Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor weigh in
The Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor weigh-in will be streamed live starting at 3 p.m. The window will automatically refresh when the transmission begins.
Scalpers asking $65 for Mayweather vs. McGregor weigh-in tickets
A first look at the ring for Mayweather vs. McGregor
Irish have arrived in Las Vegas for Mayweather vs. McGregor
One of the more interesting things to watch in the run-up to the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight has been the huge support the MMA star receives from Irish fans.
A large base of Irish fans was expected to descend on Las Vegas this week to support McGregor, their native son.
Based on the video, it appears support is strong, especially for Friday’s weigh-in.
Crowd forming outside T-Mobile Arena before the Mayweather-McGregor weigh-in
Mayweather reflects on his career following final training session
Floyd Mayweather Jr. had hit the bags, then strenuously exercised late Thursday night before shadow-boxing against a mirror, throwing punches and inspecting himself one more time.
The 40-year-old boxer had completed his final training session for what he says will be his final fight, Saturday’s boxing match against UFC champion Conor McGregor.
“It’s just my job. From day one, this is what I signed up for,” Mayweather told The Times following the session. “I’m here to fight, and that’s what it is. Twenty-one years as a professional. … I’ve been on top for a long, long time — basically my whole career.”
A win on Saturday would allow Mayweather to retire at 50-0, one better than the famed record at retirement by late former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano.
“There’s a lot of legendary champions,” Mayweather said. “You keep hearing a lot of different names. You keep hearing Rocky Marciano. I take my hat off to Rocky Marciano. He’s one of the legends who paved the way for me to be where I’m at, and I’m thankful.”
At that point, Mayweather’s eyes began to dampen.
“I can say I gave the sport my whole life,” he said. “This is the only thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t give the sport my whole life to say there’s another fighter better than me. If I felt like there’s another fighter better than Floyd Mayweather, then I probably would’ve taken an ‘L’ a long time ago.”
Mayweather trained at his Mayweather Boxing Club here, where his final workout attracted an estimated 200 people. Among those were current unbeaten welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., former four-division champion Adrien Broner and current unbeaten junior lightweight champion Gervonta Davis.
Before leaving the building, Mayweather spent about 15 minutes advising Davis in the ring as the youngest current world champion prepares for his title defense Saturday.
“I’m going to continue to train and help fighters grow, work with fighters,” Mayweather said. “It’s all about giving back. ... I am the face of combat sports. I don’t think there’s a fighter in MMA or boxing that didn’t say, ‘I want to do something like Floyd Mayweather … maybe not everything, but something like Floyd Mayweather.’ ”
Mayweather admitted the grind of training takes a toll, especially at 40.
“I’ve done this my whole life, so even when I was away from the sport [following his September 2015 retirement], I didn’t miss boxing,” he said.
“I’m not worried about [sentimental feelings]. That’s what I signed up for from day one, to be a fighter. And it’s still about the best fighting the best in combat sports.”
McGregor reiterates that he’ll make weight this afternoon
As Friday’s weigh-in nears at 3 p.m., Conor McGregor maintained that he will not have a problem meeting the 154-pound limit for his Saturday night boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather and some in his camp have speculated that McGregor (22-3 in mixed martial arts) looks big, hinting that he wouldn’t make weight. However, at a Wednesday news conference, McGregor said it was a non-issue.
“That’s wishful thinking on his part,” McGregor said. “I’ve never missed weight in my life.”
McGregor last fought in November for the UFC’s lightweight belt, where he met a 155-pound limit before stopping then-champion Eddie Alvarez by a second-round technical knockout.
McGregor has twice fought against Nate Diaz at the 170-pound welterweight limit. And he made the 145-pound featherweight limit in December 2015, when he knocked out then-champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds.
If McGregor were to be overweight, Saturday’s fight would go on but he would have to pay an undisclosed penalty.
Mayweather vs. McGregor isn’t just a mismatch; it might be dangerous
If I ever have to borrow money from a bank again, I hope Bob Bennett is my loan officer.
Bennett is the executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission that regulates combat sports here. Part of the NAC’s stated mission is to “ensure the health and safety of the contestants,” which makes you think the five-person commission would be cautious in its oversight of the novelty boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor.
Mayweather is the greatest boxer of his generation. McGregor has never boxed as a professional. The public’s overwhelming support of McGregor has inspired silly debates about whether the Irishman can shock the world, obscuring the very real possibility he could be seriously injured Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
It’s the NAC’s responsibility to prevent dangerous mismatches like this from taking place, but Bennett’s commission practically rubber-stamped the event from the get-go. If only it could be that easy to obtain a loan.
Reached by phone at his home in Oklahoma, Larry Lovelace sighed. Lovelace is the president of the Assn. of Ringside Physicians, a group of more than 100 fight doctors. He fears for McGregor’s safety and he doesn’t think the NAC should have sanctioned this fight.
“It’s unheard of to have a guy make his pro debut against a world champion,” Lovelace said.
The ‘Money Belt’ steals the show from Mayweather, McGregor
After obtaining rare crocodile skin, covertly hauling more than three pounds of gold through the most dangerous streets of Mexico City and setting more than 4,000 diamonds, sapphires and emeralds on a belt that took three weeks to produce, the World Boxing Council “Money Belt” was shown to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor.
The winner of their Saturday boxing match at T-Mobile Arena gets to keep what’s believed to be the most expensive sports trophy created.
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman declined to reveal the belt’s value or who paid for it, but he acknowledged it does exceed the value of the $1-million diamond belt Mayweather won by defeating Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
“Alligator green strap, diamonds, rubies, the whole lot,” McGregor said. “I saw it, and I wanted to scoop that baby up. The guy [Sulaiman] introduced himself. I’d never met him before. It’s an amazing belt. I look forward to strapping it around my waist and adding it to my collection.”
As the UFC lightweight champion who became the first fighter in organization history to simultaneously wear two belts after ending Jose Aldo’s 10-year unbeaten run by a knockout in 13 seconds in 2015, McGregor could bring his new boxing belt into a UFC octagon one day.
“If he beats Mayweather, he deserves to get the belt, and he can do as he pleases with it,” Sulaiman said. “He earned it.”
The winner will take possession of the belt, dreamed up by Sulaiman as he considered the unique match between a fighter he described as the WBC’s “most loyal” boxer, “Money” Mayweather, and Ireland’s McGregor.
“This fight was made by money. … This fight is truly two, completely different sports, and Floyd Mayweather was ridiculed by [former UFC champion Ronda] Rousey and then McGregor, and then he said, ‘OK, you wanna fight? I can make a bunch of millions. You can make some millions,’ ” Sulaiman said. “Now they’re going to do this boxing match, unprecedented, that everybody criticizes and everybody wants to see happen.”
The belt’s presence generated awe by those who first saw it at Wednesday’s news conference and on social media.
Sulaiman said the designer needed to purchase the gold in layers in downtown Mexico City, then transport it secretly in a plastic grocery bag to his shop.
“So, he’s carrying a plastic bag as if he was carrying bread, but it’s full of gold,” Sulaiman said. “It was a process that was very exciting.”
For the strap, the maker wanted the crocodile skin, which is not easy to obtain. The skin was moved internationally.
The value? “I really don’t know,” Sulaiman claimed. “There’s the cost of the materials, then the production, the labor. If it was to be a commercial piece at a store, how much would you pay for it?”
The belt has 3,360 diamonds, 600 sapphires and 300 emeralds.
Sulaiman’s soft spot for Mayweather is obvious since the 49-0 fighter has won belts in five weight classes.
“It’s going to be clear how boxing and its elegance and technique will [shine],” Sulaiman said. “If it was in the octagon, it’s a different thing.”
With the possibility of 5 million pay-per-view buys, Sulaiman said the masses watching “is the best thing that’s going to happen. Millions of UFC, MMA and non-boxing fans are going to see an unbelievable performance, whatever happens.”
He said Mayweather’s style “is the most technical. If you like boxing, it’s like enjoying the most delicious dessert. You can see how he slips a punch in mini-seconds.”
Mayweather and Dana White go back more than two decades
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC President Dana White have different rooting interests come Saturday night when Mayweather boxes Conor McGregor.
But it wasn’t always that way.
Twenty-one years ago, when Mayweather first met White, he did him a favor that enhanced White’s financial position – although on a far lesser scale than Satutrday.
As they crossed paths Wednesday during interview sessions, Mayweather talked about his history with White.
“I’ve been knowing Dana White for 21 years now,” Mayweather said. “If you go back and look at my first fight, the patch on my trunks – Bullenbeisser -- I wore that for Dana White. He’s done a remarkable job and I’m proud of Dana.”
White, who ultimately managed mixed martial arts fighters Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, then owned the small company named after a German bulldog.
“Dana made power moves in combat sports, period,” Mayweather told Yahoo! Sports’ Alan Springer. “But he came up to me back then and said, ‘Floyd, I need you to wear this patch.’”
“It’s true, absolutely true,” White said.
White, who received a reported $400 million from the WME/IMG purchase of the UFC last year from former Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta, said it was nice to pause and reflect on the strides both he and Mayweather have made.
“It’s full circle, kind of weird being here, promoting this fight,” White said. “We’ve had our moments publicly and personally [bickering about boxing and UFC], but I don’t dislike Floyd Mayweather.
“He’s done a great job. You know, [HBO’s] ‘24/7?’ I stopped calling it ‘24/7.’ I called it the Floyd Mayweather show. If Floyd wasn’t on it, it wasn’t good. He’s done a great job of promoting himself and being exciting.”
Mayweather takes a 49-0 record with belts in five weight classes into his Saturday bout against McGregor at T-Mobile Arena, an event that has broken the combat sports’ live-gate record and could generate 5 million pay-per-view buys.
“Every day has been Floyd Mayweather’s day for the last 21 years,” White said. “That’s pretty impressive.”
Mayweather says he’ll bet the most he ever has on himself
Boxing doesn’t operate with the sanctity of other sports, so not only is Floyd Mayweather Jr. allowed to bet on himself, he’s permitted to say he’s prepared to place the largest wager he’s ever made on himself.
“You guys will see the betting ticket, don’t worry,” Mayweather told The Times in anticipation of his Saturday night bout at T-Mobile Arena.
If he were to place the bet Thursday morning, Mayweather, as a minus-600 favorite to defeat UFC champion Conor McGregor, could wager $600 to win $100.
The most he’s ever bet on himself is $750,000 years ago.
He’s been less public about such wagers since, but he’s a well-known sports gambler, often posting winning tickets on social media.
McGregor, who has sought to flash his own wealth in a Mayweather style, told The Times he wasn’t sure if he would bet on himself.
“Maybe, I don’t know,” McGregor said. “I think he has a big-time gambling problem from seeing the forms. He shows what the winnings are, not what the losses are. That’s why he’s in this position he’s in and he had to take this fight.”
McGregor was referring to Mayweather’s recent request to postpone paying an IRS bill in excess of $20 million, citing insufficient liquidity until he earns possibly in excess of $300 million for fighting McGregor.
“Look, I’m focused on the fight,” McGregor said. “Not gambling.”
And when someone asked him what Mayweather will learn from this fight, McGregor answered, “Be smarter with your money.”
Fans will be the losers, again, of Mayweather’s latest extravaganza
If Saturday night unfolds as expected, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will have his arm raised in a boxing ring for the 50th time.
In the stands at T-Mobile Arena and in front of television sets around the world, fans will experience a familiar range of emotions as they realize how they were deceived — or, more precisely, how they deceived themselves.
In terms of the public response, Mayweather’s anticipated victory over mixed-martial artist Conor McGregor will be the Manny Pacquiao fight all over again.
Mayweather will earn an estimated $350 million for what he promised will be his last fight, but the damage to his reputation could be incalculable.
Longtime boxing fans will continue to view Mayweather as the best fighter of his generation, the 130-pound wizard who destroyed an undefeated Diego Corrales and moved up in weight to defeat an assembly line of heavier champions. Casual observers who watched only his two most-anticipated fights will have a less charitable assessment. They will think of him as the fighter who swindled them not once, but twice, as he collected a combined $600 million.
Video | Pound for pound: Canelo vs. GGG: Episode 1
Lance Pugmire takes us behind the scenes to see how the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin fight on Sept. 16 finally came to fruition.
Mayweather-McGregor is a battle for supremacy between boxing and MMA
Floyd Mayweather Jr. sought to educate Conor McGregor about the difference between a lifetime commitment to boxing and McGregor’s recent dalliance.
“One thing you should know about boxing: If you give it, you must be able to take it,” Mayweather told the UFC champion Wednesday at a news conference.
“I’ve been here many times. Guys say they’re going to hit me in the body, with the right hand, with the left hook … after 21 years, I’ve been hit with everything, and I’m still here.
“It’s called smarts. It’s called having an IQ. And from Day 1, everything that my dad taught me, I still remember. And everything that can be done in boxing, I’ve done it.”
A major selling point to Mayweather-McGregor is to label it boxing versus mixed martial arts, enlivening a fierce debate that crosses generations with ramifications balancing on the outcome.
Mayweather, who is 49-0 and a five-time world champion, seized the opportunity to distinguish himself and his sport as the unique, record-selling boxing match Saturday at T-Mobile Arena approaches.
Watch Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor in their final news conference before Saturday’s fight
(Warning: This is a live event. Language might not be suitable for some audience members.)
Watch Floyd Mayweather describe what he expects from Conor McGregor fight
Dana White trashes Bob Arum; calls him ‘senile’
UFC President Dana White further escalated his long-standing rivalry with veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum on Tuesday, calling him “senile,” and tossing in a few expletives.
White was upset by comments from Arum published Sunday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In the story, Arum criticized the quality of Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor boxing match and compared it to the idea of NBA great LeBron James stepping into the boxing ring against heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua.
“You’re going to interview Bob Arum?” White responded, throwing in a few expletives. “This is our hometown paper, and then all the interviews are with Bob Arum. And this guy, this senile ... quote comparing LeBron James to Conor? Conor McGregor is a fighter. He can fight. Stuff like that bums me out when I’m reading that.”
Arum, 85, has previously criticized UFC fights, questioning the sexuality of men wrestling on the canvas versus the more sophisticated form of fighting that boxing offers.
“That’s really class,” Arum told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday upon hearing White calling him senile. “Dana can say whatever he wants, but he hurts his argument by resorting to these comments … it has nothing to do with senility. And it hurts the position he’s trying to take.
“But what do you expect? You didn’t see me at the Republican National Convention endorsing [President] Trump. That speaks volumes of somebody. I completely stick by my guns.
“It’s nothing personal or argumentative, but to have somebody fight the top fighter of our era with someone who hasn’t had one professional boxing match -- they’re out of their mind. If [McGregor] hasn’t trained for years, he’s not going to perform … he’s not a fighter. He’s a combat fighter, not a boxer. It’s a different sport. The MMA guys have to have different movements and stances to guard against a kick or a takedown, It’s not the same stance as a boxer. Boxers stand a different way, and Mayweather is the greatest practitioner of that.”
White’s comments were made at his news conference to address the positive steroid test of UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones. White also chafed at another person’s comment that Mayweather-McGregor is like, “watching Evel Knievel jump the Grand Canyon,” although Knievel’s attempt was over the Snake River.
“Crazy, man,” White said. “The people who don’t believe it don’t know anything about fighting. You know nothing about fighting. This isn’t going to be a boxing match, this is going to be a fight. Conor McGregor has knockout power in both hands. It’s going to be in eight-ounce gloves. And he’s going in there to knock out Floyd Mayweather.”
The divide between boxing andthe UFC is clearly part of what’s driving massive interest in this bout.
“It’s usually our guy versus our guy and whoever wins, wins. This is obviously huge, there’s a lot at stake here,” White said. “So, yeah, I’ve been pretty nervous.”
White said that before his favorite NFL team, the New England Patriots, won the Super Bowl last year, he wore a team shirt every day in the week leading up to the game. He’s done the same this week, wearing a McGregor shirt to Tuesday’s news conference.
“When I really saw him sparring. He hits so hard. He’s so confident in himself,” White said of McGregor. “You sit in a room with Conor for two minutes and he’ll make you believe, too.”
Despite lack of recent knockouts, Mayweather says McGregor is heading for the canvas
Other than Floyd Mayweather’s punch in 2011, when he knocked out Victor Ortiz off a break, the 49-0 boxer hasn’t knocked anyone out since his impressive 2007 finish of Ricky Hatton.
Now, on the eve of Saturday’s unique boxing match, Mayweather is saying he’ll produce his 27th career knockout against UFC champion Conor McGregor.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll see about that,” McGregor said. “Statistics show he’s full of crap.”
Mayweather said he’s motivated to show, in what he says will be his final bout, the “fast hands, fast feet and tremendous mind” that made him the best pound-for-pound fighter of his generation.
“This fight is not going the distance, I’m telling y’all,” Mayweather said. “No matter what he says.”
At Las Vegas sports books, the over/under for rounds fought is 9.5 and Mayweather is a 10/13 favorite to win by knockout.
“Floyd’s going to knock Conor out,” said Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “I’m convinced of that. He’s not going to play around. If the opportunity is there, he’s going to seize the moment.”
McGregor dismisses speculation he’ll have trouble making weight
Conor McGregor has shot down speculation from Floyd Mayweather Jr. that the Irishman is struggling to make weight as Friday’s 3 p.m. weigh-in approaches.
“Let him keep praying — praying for weight, praying for fatigue, praying for me to take a back step,” McGregor responded. “All he’s doing is praying. But he’s praying to the new god of boxing.”
Mayweather, a master of psychological tactics, said that by watching McGregor bicycle through the desert and other inside information, he thinks his opponent is scrambling to meet the 154-pound limit.
McGregor has never missed weight, although he looked drained in December 2015, when he met the UFC featherweight limit of 145 pounds before knocking out champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds the next night. It ended Aldo’s 10-year unbeaten streak.
“I know every detail of a fighter, every detail that goes on in their camp,” Mayweather said. “If he [makes weight], he does. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.”
Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said the contract stipulates an undisclosed financial penalty if either fighter misses weight. However, the fight would proceed even if McGregor is over.
“Conor McGregor’s going to make the weight, trust me,” Ellerbe said. “I’m not remotely concerned about that. He’s a professional, and he’s always shown he’s going to make weight.”
Experts predict Mayweather-McGregor fight to attract record amount bet on boxing
The men who run Nevada’s largest sports books predict the betting on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight will exceed the money wagered on Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao two years ago.
Jay Kornegay, director of the Westgate Superbook, said he and his gaming colleagues have concluded Mayweather-McGregor betting in the state could reach $70 million; Mayweather-Pacquiao did $50 million.
The Super Bowl, by comparison, has generated about $120 million in wagers in recent years.
Mayweather (49-0), attempting to close his storied career in his richest bout to date, stands as a minus-550 favorite, while bettors have swarmed toward UFC champion McGregor to make him just a 4/1 underdog.
“Most of the tickets — 95% — are on McGregor, but 80% of the money is on Mayweather,” Kornegay said. “There’s a few things that are driving that: The UFC fan base are being UFC fans. They want the UFC fighter to win and they get a price for it. There’s also dislike for Mayweather. Third, the price of the fight always attracts attention on the underdog.”
Kornegay said he’s participated in repeated conversations like this at the betting window:
“Mayweather’s going to kill him. It’s such a joke, ridiculous. What do I have to bet on Mayweather?”
Kornegay responds: “Based on $100, sir, you have to bet $550 to win $100 — you’d get $650 back.”
Bettor: “What if I bet McGregor?”
Kornegay: “For every $100 you bet, you win $400 and collect $500.”
Bettor: “Give me McGregor.”
The McGregor support is startling considering Mayweather made former four-division champion Miguel Cotto a 7/1 underdog in 2012. Marcos Maidana, who gave Mayweather a difficult time in their first 2014 meeting, was a 9/1 underdog in that bout.
Kornegay said the volume of bets “is different, because you’re attracting two fan bases. Pacquiao and Mayweather was only boxing. This is a clash of titans. The new kid on the block, UFC, versus the traditionalists of boxing.
“That’s why we’re seeing record numbers.”
Although there are more dollars on Mayweather, the sports books need him to win due to the liability of potentially paying off all the bets made on McGregor, who depending when someone placed a bet, is anywhere between a 4/1 to 7/1 underdog.
“I’m very comfortable going into the fight needing Mayweather,” Kornegay said.
The over/under for rounds fought in the bout is 9.5, with the under listed as a slight minus-170 favorite and the over paying $145 on a $100 bet.
Westgate and other Nevada books are also offering proposition bets that include:
--McGregor winning by decision: 25/1
--Mayweather winning by knockout: 10/13
--McGregor by knockout: 4/1
--Mayweather by decision: 19/10
Bettors can select the round they believe either fighter will win by knockout. For Mayweather, a bet pays 12/1 odds on rounds one, three, four, five, seven, eight and nine. McGregor’s odds for a knockout victory increase steadily as the fight goes on, from 20/1 in the first round to 25/1 through the fourth round, 50/1 in rounds seven and eight, and 100/1 in the final three rounds.
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Before betting on Conor McGregor, remember Vasyl Lomachenko
The betting lines for Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor have narrowed to where a $100 wager on the Irish mixed-martial artist would produce a relatively modest profit of $325 if he wins.
That might still be enough to entice potential gamblers to roll the dice on McGregor. But before doing so, they should consider the case of Vasyl Lomachenko.
Remember, McGregor has never boxed professionally in his life.
McGregor has one fewer professional fight than Lomachenko did when he entered the ring against Orlando Salido on March 14, 2014.
A hard-nosed, workman-like fighter, Salido was a world champion, but he was no Mayweather. Lomachenko, meanwhile, had a significantly more extensive boxing background than McGregor has now. Still, Salido’s experience was enough to earn him a split decision victory over Lomachenko.
Lomachenko was one of the greatest amateur fighters of all-time, a two-time Olympic gold medalist with a record of 396-1. He thought his amateur experience would allow him to skip the early stages of professional development and, to some degree, he has been right. Today, with only 10 professional fights to his name, Lomachenko is already considered one of the five best fighters at any weight class.
Ticket sales to Mayweather-McGregor pick up, setting record
Call it a circus, a farce or a sham, but ticket sales for Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight may have surpassed the $72-million live-gate record set by Mayweather’s 2015 victory over Manny Pacquiao.
“I’m very confident we’re going to break that. We’re still four days out and people aren’t even in town,” Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather Promotions CEO, told The Times on Tuesday morning.
Ellerbe said he was still awaiting an official report on box-office sales.
Ken Solky of lasvegastickets.com, considered an expert on the ticket market, estimated Tuesday that only about 1,000 tickets remain on the open market, meaning the Mayweather-Pacquiao record has likely been beaten.
“Those other tickets — like the block the MGM will release to its players — is money that’s already in the bank, so I think they do have that live-gate record right now,” Solky said. “I would believe there’s more than $70 million in the box office as we speak.”
UFC President Dana White said two weeks ago that more than $60 million in ticket sales had been processed.
“That record’s not an issue. We’ve broken every record with the exception of Floyd’s own records,” said Ellerbe, who’s also hoping to surpass the 4.6 million pay-per-view buys of Mayweather-Pacquiao. “We’re ecstatic.”
Solky, who presides over sales on the secondary market, said the cheapest tickets available for the fight are going for around $1,600, after dropping to $1,350 recently.
“Anything that got down that low was quickly purchased,” he said, adding that the face value of the lower-end tickets in the upper bowl of T-Mobile Arena range from $500 to $2,500.
Solky said Mayweather-McGregor has fostered a culture of novice ticket brokers.
“Some sought an opportunity with the sole purpose of making a buck. It didn’t turn out their way,” he said, relaying a story of a buyer who purchased six tickets for $3,500 each, but can’t take possession of his tickets from Ticketmaster until Thursday.
“He doesn’t have a home for them yet and he’s seeing how others with the $3,500 seats are willing to take less for them. These guys aren’t in the business like we are. He bought the seats to speculate, but it’s not that easy.”
Solky said he’s moving tickets and expects to sell many more as visitors from Britain and Ireland arrive to support Ireland’s UFC champion, McGregor.
“As for the tickets that are left, I’d describe this as the calm before the storm,” Solky said.
What time is the Mayweather-McGregor fight?
The Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday should start around 8:55 p.m.
Showtime’s pay-per-view broadcast begins at 6 p.m., with a 10-round cruiserweight bout between Chicago’s Andrew Tabiti (14-0, 12 knockouts) and former champion Steve Cunningham (29-8-1, 13 KOs).
The start time of the Mayweather-McGregor fight will depend on how long the next two world-title bouts last.
Former super-middleweight champion Badou Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs) meets Nathan Cleverly (30-3, 16 KOs) for the vacant World Boxing Assn. secondary light-heavyweight belt. Jack is moving up in weight after a majority draw in his 168-pound unification bout against James DeGale.
The start time of the fight between unbeaten Mayweather (49-0) and UFC champion McGregor is more likely to be decided by Gervonta Davis’ lightweight title defense against Francisco Fonseca.
Davis (18-0, 17 KOs), nicknamed “Tank,” is the prized possession in Mayweather’s promotional stable. At 22, Davis is the youngest world champion, possessing the International Boxing Federation belt. He has won nine consecutive bouts by knockout. Costa Rica’s Fonseca (19-0-1, 13 KOs) is making his U.S. debut.
The national anthem will be sung by Demi Lovato, and each of the main-event fighters will have separate ring walks. Mayweather, who’s been accompanied by Justin Bieber in the past, told Jimmy Kimmel he’s unsure whether the singer, who recently ended his tour prematurely, will make the trip this time.
Conspiracy theories surround Mayweather vs. McGregor
Floyd Mayweather Jr. talks about off-camera run-in with Conor McGregor
With the cameras and microphones off, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor ran into each other in Brooklyn and the veteran boxer decided it was time to employ another of his effective mind tricks on an opponent.
“I was like, ‘I am going to let him know straight up. … I am going to let everybody know where I stand,’” Mayweather said. “He was with all his guys and at the time I was with all my female friends. I say having one [woman] is too close to having none so I had about four of my girls with me and then my daughter was with me.
“I let him know, even without my security or my team, I’m still tough. ... I ain’t no punk. I’m just letting [McGregor] know that. So I’m saying, ‘What’s up little dude?’ Just to see if he wants to pop off, because he was popping off on stage.
“He didn’t say nothing.”
Floyd Mayweather invites fans to party with him at gentlemen’s club
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is inviting fans all week to the gentleman’s club he owns in Las Vegas, Girl Collection.
“Come hang out with me tonight and ask me anything you want, live and in person!” Mayweather wrote last week. “All the way through Aug. 28.
“That’s right. I’m partying the entire week before my fight. … Bring your friends and meet me there.”
Mayweather takes great pride in his new business, and he brushed off some comments by upcoming opponent Conor McGregor during the press tour about keeping “50 strippers on the payroll.”
Surprisingly, though, Mayweather told Jimmy Kimmel last week that he hasn’t received a lap dance in about 20 years. Kimmel cracked that he feels Mayweather should be obligated to since he’s asking that of his patrons.
“I don’t have to,” Mayweather responded. “I own the club.”
Excitement ratchets up as Mayweather-McGregor fight week begins
Welcome to the start of Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight week, which begins with the disappointment of thunderstorms and clouds threatening the visual of the solar eclipse to be seen here at 10:27 a.m.
The fighters will appear at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday for their grand arrivals, ratcheting up the hype for the unique boxing match Saturday between the 49-0, five-division champion Mayweather and McGregor, the UFC’s only simultaneous two-division champion.
“This is history, never-before-done stuff,” McGregor said. “Two men at the pinnacle of the game in both sports. All the way through, from the world tour to the [ongoing] interest.
“I’m just grateful to be part of it and there’s not a second that goes by that I don’t embrace it all. I saw the imagery, the video footage [from the four-city press tour], and thought, ‘This is stuff that lives on … ,’ when I’m gone.”
While Mayweather has said the Nevada Athletic Commission’s permission for the 154-pound bout to be fought in lighter eight-ounce gloves will improve his ability to pursue his first knockout victory since 2011, McGregor said he’s the one who will continually initiate the action.
“I’m going to come forward, go at him,” McGregor said. “I tell you what, he said he’s going to come at me? I’m telling you I’m going to him. Let’s see who takes the first step backward. That’ll be the first win or loss in the fight. Who takes the first step back. Watch it. Say, ‘OK, Floyd took the first step back. That’s the first defeat of the night.’”
WHAT IT IS: It’s difficult for former HBO sports executive and veteran promoter Lou DiBella to withhold an opinion, and as someone who’s invested three decades of his life in boxing, he feels comfortable attending Mayweather-McGregor.
“I’ll put the poetry and drama of a great fight against any other sporting event, but way too often, we put on [bad fights]... I’m not saying that’s what this is. But for [promoter] Oscar [De La Hoya] to be there telling everyone what a great fight Canelo [Alvarez]-[Julio Cesar] Chavez Jr. would be and to now take shots at Mayweather-McGregor …” DiBella said.
“We’re getting a great spectacle of this great UFC striker against an iconic boxing figure of all time coming off a two-year layoff and I don’t see anyone selling it otherwise.”
Mayweather-McGregor weigh-in ticket information
Mayweather: Change in gloves means no excuses for McGregor
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has joked that after 10-ounce gloves were used years ago in welterweight (147-pound) fights, promoters and state commissioners “decided there wasn’t enough blood, sweat and tears” in the sport, so they reverted to eight-ounce gloves.
The Nevada Athletic Commission on Wednesday retreated from a 10-year stance that fights at 154 pounds and above (such as the 154-pound Mayweather-Conor McGregor meeting) also required 10-ounce gloves by approving eight-ounce gloves for the spectacle event.
Mayweather concedes that the move is being made to improve the chances for a more exciting fight.
“I know he’s used to fighting in four-ounce gloves [in the UFC]. I want to make him feel as comfortable as possible,” Mayweather said. “I’m not going to have any excuses, and I don’t want him having any excuses.”
Watch: Mayweather and his ‘emotional guru’ James Corden
In the fourth installment of Showtime’s All Access, Floyd Mayweather Jr. meets up with late night personality James Corden before his big fight against Conor McGregor.
Mayweather says he’ll be ready for McGregor’s ‘illegal shots’
If Floyd Mayweather Jr. took anything from the footage that emerged of Conor McGregor knocking down retired welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi, it was McGregor’s tendency to bend the rules of boxing.
“It was interesting -- a lot of illegal rabbit punching behind the head, grappling and a lot of illegal shots,” Mayweather said in a Thursday conference call with reporters.
Although UFC champion McGregor has used retired referee Joe Cortez to supervise his sparring sessions as he prepares for his Aug. 26 pro boxing debut, it will be on newly assigned referee Robert Byrd to keep McGregor away from the rougher tactics allowed in MMA bouts that are prohibited in boxing.
“I’m pretty sure the referee’s going to be fair on both sides and treat both competitors fair … my job is to not worry about the referee. My job is to let the referee do his job,” Mayweather said. “I just want a good, solid fight.”
Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, said he and Mayweather were pleased with the Wednesday selection of former California Highway Patrol employee Byrd and of judges Dave Moretti, Burt Clements and Guido Cavalerri.
As for the overblown attention on whether McGregor knocked down Malignaggi, a Showtime boxing commentator, Mayweather gave that moment the attention it doesn’t deserve.
Why do so many people hate McGregor fighting Mayweather?
McGregor’s former opponent Jose Aldo says the fight’s “a joke.” And some boxing reporters are so bothered by the Aug. 26 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, they’re refusing to write about it.
Driven by doubters, McGregor convinced he’ll beat Mayweather
“This is legacy. This is people doubting me, questioning my skill set — talking as if I’m a novice, talking as if I haven’t been doing this my entire life,” McGregor told the Los Angeles Times as his media day opened Friday at the UFC Performance Institute. “I’ve been fighting since day one and I’m the best there is. I can fight in many forms. This here is Bruce Lee [stuff], that’s where my mind is at.”