Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza was one of the figures that helped put together the boxing super fight between Floyd Mayweather and UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor.
Espinoza would be the first to admit that at the first stop of the world tour with McGregor and Mayweather, it was Mayweather who seemed to be off.
“Floyd, as he’s gotten older, he’s definitely mellowed,” Espinoza said to MMA Fighting. “If you look back at De La Hoya-Mayweather, Floyd did a lot of talking, a lot of needling Oscar throughout that press tour. Floyd is in a different place now. I don’t know exactly what to make of it. It is a little bit out of character. I think if I had to guess, it’s little bit of competitiveness and pride. Conor came out and had a standup comedy routine. The crowd ate it up. I think the entertainer in Floyd said I can’t come up here and give a bunch of cliches. He dished it out just like he took it.”
The first stop of the world tour was in Los Angeles, the second stop was in Toronto, the third was in New York and the final stop on the tour was in London.
Even the Showtime Sports executive admits that this press tour is much different when compared to other boxing press tours.
“This press tour is an entirely different level,” Espinoza said. “The Canelo press tour was much longer, but we weren't looking at stops with 10 or 13,000 people in advance. We could have done probably a half dozen more cities without a problem. It was a matter of hours before all the venues said they were out of tickets and then expanded their plans. It speaks really well for the interest in the fight. I’m aware there is some backlash among the boxing purists. But this is — as Floyd has said — it’s a fight that happened because of the demand. If they had sort of thrown the idea out there and it got no traction, we wouldn't be sitting here today.”
Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather takes place on Saturday, August 26 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.
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