On the opening date of the four-day tour to promote his fight against former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. on August 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor did what he always does: pander to the crowd and display unbridled confidence.
To the cheers of thousands at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, McGregor felt the support of his passionate legion of fans. But those cheers meant little to Mayweather, who has made more than 38 times the money that the UFC champion has in his career.
“Popularity has nothing to do with what we have in our bank accounts, so if we’re going by popularity, he can be more famous,” Mayweather said. “I always chose fortune over fame. You have a lot of guys, you have a lot of people on social media that may have 20 million followers, but may not have $20,000 in the bank, so I choose fortune over fame.”
Last November, McGregor came to Madison Square Garden in New York City looking to make history and become the first simultaneous two-division champion in the history of the UFC, and that is exactly what he did.
Courtesy of a knockout of Eddie Alvarez in the main event of UFC 205 at "The World's Most Famous Arena," the 5-foot-9, 155-pound McGregor added the UFC lightweight championship to his resume, going along with the featherweight title he won in December of 2015.
While taking a right-handed punch from Alvarez, McGregor fired off a powerful left hand that landed on the side of the defending champion’s face. McGregor followed it up with a right hand to Alvarez’s jaw, a left to the ear and another right that eventually floored his opponent.
“You know the trash-talking that fighters say to one another,” Mayweather said. “Of course, he’s going to say how good he is.
“I told him, ‘I ain’t got to tell you how good I am. You already know.’ We were talking about the gloves. He was talking about how he is going to knock me out, you know. I was like, ‘Okay, that’s what they all have said.’”
No stranger to the spotlight, the 5-foot-8, 151-pound Mayweather won the WBC super featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and light middleweight crowns, along with the IBF welterweight title, WBA (Super) light middleweight and (Super) welterweight titles and WBO welterweight championship.
On his way to the 49-0 record, Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marcos Maidana (twice), Arturo Gatti, Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya, all of whom are current or were former champions across several weight classes.
“He has to realize, I’ve been here before,” Mayweather said. “He just started this. I’ve been doing this for years, years, years after years, and I think I’ve got it.
“He’s upset. He’s ready to kill me now. He mad. Me? I’m just cooling out. Just another day. This is just another day for me, but I gave him a little bit of his own medicine. I played it calm, cool, didn’t say nothing, let him do his talking. Then, ahhh. I gave him some of his own medicine. He didn’t like it.”
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