The Mayweather / McGregor World Press Tour kicked off in Los Angeles yesterday with it’s second stop taking place in my own backyard, of Toronto, Ontario. I will be in attendance to cover the festivities but head there with a sense of uncertainty.
Let’s be honest - my trepidation has more to do with covering a “boxing” event than the actual press conference itself. I’ve covered hundreds of MMA events before, but this will be my first for the sweet science and it just so happens to be what arguably may be the biggest fight of all time.
The unpredictability that is Conor McGregor has me intrigued, for the last time he was here, the fan base completely and utterly drowned Jose Aldo Jr., and his fans from making any attempts to swing the verbal warfare into his favour.
Part of McGregor’s game is a mental one; he is near perfect and impeccable with his relentless pursuit into getting into his opponent’s head. If he senses he can get this upper hand on Floyd Mayweather Jr., he will intensify his assault.
But Mayweather is a veteran, the greatest boxer of his generation, and one who has fought the who’s who in his sport … and defeated them all. He’s been there, done that, many, many times. But the normal man in me wonders if he truly is ready for what the next stop in this press tour will bring. Let alone when the tour heads overseas into Conor’s backyard.
We can all make the same argument that none of this matters. All the hoopla and hyperbole is irrelevant. What really matters is when these two finally square off. But hold that thought.
Speaking solely from an MMA perspective, this was what the vast majority of people said about Conor and his antics in every single one of his fights: from Marcus Brimmage to Chad Mendes and Aldo to Nate Diaz. With the exception of one fight, McGregor had his hand raised in victory.
Yet it’s that one fight that Mayweather reminded the world about. McGregor, who generally laughs off his opponents remarks, did not seem to happy when Floyd called him “Mr. Tapout” and a “quitter”. That got under Conor’s skin and while a victory for Mayweather, it may have added more fuel to The Notorious’ fire.
I believe this journey to August 26th will be rift with personal attacks, family jabs ( i.e. Floyd Sr.) and quotes for the ages. For this, I cannot be more than satisfied to sit back and cover it, while realizing I am lucky to be alive to witness it in person.
When it’s all said and done, it will be these stories that I tell my son about, and his kids, and so on. I, and better yet, we, can all say we were alive and privy to a once in a lifetime marquee prizefight.
To wit, and mark my words, none of us really know how big this is yet. We’ve heard it far too many times before from the UFC side of things: “the biggest fight of all time”. But this isn’t a UFC fight. It may be a boxing bout, but this is way bigger than both sports. This will be huge and has already captivated a small section of the main stream public.
And I’ve seen it before … it is a seed that grows steadily until fight night. And believe me: come August 26th, records will be broken and you will always remember where you were when Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor finally had their showdown.