The showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is just days away. The fight that many (though not all) fans wanted to see will finally take place later this month in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas. In preparation for his upcoming fight, Floyd Mayweather held an open workout at his gym in Las Vegas which saw dozens of different media outlets in attendance.
The complete undercard was announced by Showtime, which features many of Mayweather’s fighters including Badou Jack and Gervonta Davis. In a WBA light heavyweight title match, champion Nathan Cleverly (30-1-3, 16 KOs) will defend his belt against Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs). Jack, a native of Sweden who competed for Gambia in the 2008 Olympics, is a former WBC super middleweight champion who is stepping up in weight. This will be his first career fight at light heavyweight.
“This is a fight I have wanted ever since Badou Jack moved to light heavyweight and I’m delighted to fight in Vegas on an event like this,” said Cleverly.
“To be a part of this event and fighting on this card is historic,” Jack said. “Nothing beats it. I’m excited to get back in the ring. I’m getting ready to take that belt, and win a title in my second weight class.”
The co-main event of the evening features another Mayweather Promotions fighter, Gervonta Davis. The undefeated Davis (18-0) will put his IBF junior lightweight title on the line against Costa Rica’s Francisco Fonseca (19-0-1, 13 KOs).
The kick off the pay-per-view, a 10-round cruiserweight bout between Chicago’s Andrew Tabiti (14-0, 12 KOs) and Philadelphia’s Steve Cunningham (29-8-1, 13 KOs) was announced.
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions was interviewed during the open workout. Throughout the May-Mac world tour, he was calm, cool, and collected and always seemed to be in good spirits. During the open media workout on Thursday, he was much more aggressive and honest with reporters.
A question regarding the ticket sales for the event really seemed to tick Ellerbe off, who responded by saying, “The fact of the matter is we have over $60 million in the box office right now, which is more than double any other live gate that’s ever been done,” Ellerbe said. “The fight that they have on the 16th of September [Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin at T-Mobile Arena], next month, our fight right now we’ve got more in the box office right now — double — than they will have.”
Ellerbe said Mayweather vs. McGregor is on pace to “blow past” the boxing gate record of $72 million from Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. He pointed out that internationally, this fight has already surpassed Mayweather’s last mega fight.
“The general interest from just the casual fans, who are very excited about this event coming together, that’s what makes this massive. “Just not only in the U.S., just the international exposure alone, this thing has taken off.”
“We appreciate all the fans,” he said when asked about critics questioning the legitimacy of this fight. “We don’t ever want to turn our back or say anything. But again, the hardcore fans, that’s the reason why our sport isn’t where football and basketball is. It’s because we stay in our own little box. It’s like, you tell me what’s wrong with these two guys fighting. If you don’t want to watch it, don’t buy it. It’s as simple as that.”
Ellerbe also took at shot at Oscar De La Hoya, the main promoter for the upcoming Canelo-GGG fight in September, saying that he is a liar when they announced that their fight was already sold out. De La Hoya has been very critical of Mayweather and his fight with Conor McGregor.
Then the attention turned to the man of the hour, Floyd Mayweather. He was asked about whether or not Conor going all 12 rounds would be a victory for the UFC champion.
“It is a victory for him,” Mayweather said. “If he goes the distance, it’s a victory for him. In my eyes, also.”
Mayweather does not believe however that the fight will go the distance.
“He believes it’s not gonna go past four, and I believe that it’s not gonna go the distance at all,” Mayweather said. “He feels one way, I feel another way. we’re both confident in our skills. We’ll just have to see.”
Mayweather turned some heads earlier in the week when he said that the 29-year old McGregor has the advantage going into the fight. He took today’s media scrum as an opportunity to clarify what he meant.
“Of course, the so-called boxing experts, they say things like, ‘Oh when a guy is bigger and stronger, that means he’s better.’ What I’m saying is this: On paper, we know he’s taller, we know he has a longer reach, we know youth is on his side. OK? And I guess everybody is saying power is on his side. But I’m saying IQ is on my side, experience is on my side and I think just fighting knowledge is on my side. So I never said that I feel that I’m gonna lose. I never get involved in anything if I think I’m gonna take a loss. That’s like me saying, ‘Yes I’m gonna invest my money, but I know I’m gonna take a loss, but I’m still gonna invest it.’”
Mayweather also revealed that he is monitoring his opponent and studying how his camp is going. Mayweather said he believes Conor is around 160 pounds right now.
“It’s about doing your homework,” Mayweather said. “It’s not really watching fight tapes. It’s really just knowing the person you’re facing, that’s across the ring from you. You want to know what that person likes to eat, you want to know what that person is doing when they’re not in training camp. If they’re drinking, how much they’re drinking, who they’re hanging out with. Those are the things that you want to know. That’s called really doing your due diligence and your homework on your opponent. Not just watching fight tapes.”
When asked about his potential game plan for the fight, Floyd said that he has reason to put on a big show for the fans. Traditionally, Floyd is a very defense-first fighter which does not appeal to many casual fans, which has been Floyd’s biggest criticism throughout his career.
“When it’s something of this magnitude, this is not just a fight,” Mayweather said. “This is an event. This is billion-dollar fight, it’s an event. I think we both owe the fans as well as the public, everyone that’s tuning in, I think that we both should give them excitement.”
An event it will be indeed as for the first time in sports history, the king of boxing will square off against the king of mixed martial arts. The outcome seems to be obvious, however, that has not hindered any of the hype and anticipation this fight has generated ever since the once ludicrous idea became a reality.
Featured Image via Esther Lin/Showtime