Monday, March 20, 2023  |



Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor world tour mercifully ends

Photo by Esther Lin / Vox Media

Thank the combat sports gods that this is finally over.

A four-day world tour to promote Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor’s August 26 showdown in Las Vegas sounded like a good idea. And for two cities it appeared to go just as everyone wanted it to. The quick-witted McGregor had the fans in the palm of his hand as he verbally jousted with boxing’s cash cow in a fight that nobody with a boxing brain believes he can win. Nevertheless, it excited the masses to see two of the biggest figures in combat sports slander one another in a rated PG-13 WWE-style sequence of verbal darts.

And then things took a turn for the worse.

It started with McGregor’s racially insensitive remarks where he called the black boxers in Rocky III “dancing monkeys” during an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live. This, coupled with telling Mayweather to dance for him while tossing out a “boy” for good measure, painted Mystic Mac in a bad light. Rather than simply apologize if he offended anybody with his racially insensitive statements, McGregor decided to double down on the offensive nature of his words by delivering the gem in New York.

Photo by Rosie Cohe / Showtime

“A lot of media seem to be saying I’m against black people,” McGregor said while wearing what he claimed was a polar bear fur coat with no shirt underneath and floral pants. “That’s absolutely f***ing ridiculous. Do they not know I’m half black? I’m half black from the belly button down. Here’s a present for my beautiful black female fans.”

And then McGregor gyrated his hips.

Instead of remedying the situation, McGregor poured gasoline on the fire. The hero of the promotional tour who had crowds in every city in the palm of his hand had sunk to a low that most didn’t anticipate. It was in terrible taste and left even his most hardcore fans speechless.

But that wasn’t the only disaster in New York as the tour found two fighters who had exhausted their best material in Los Angeles and Toronto. Both struggled to find new ways to insult their opponent and resorted to foul-mouthed responses that were neither funny nor clever. McGregor, in particular, struggled during this stop as he lost his connection with the crowd and never regained any momentum. But Mayweather wasn’t much better as he ran through the shtick like a washed-up comedian wrapping up the last leg of his bar tour. Already cast as the villain in this promotion, Mayweather was unable to turn the tide in the war of words.

But at least he had a leg up heading into Friday’s finale in London.

Photo by Esther Lin / Vox Media

However, as quickly as he drew sympathy for McGregor’s off-color remarks, he just as swiftly threw it in the trash when he decided to use an anti-gay slur on McGregor.

“You’re a f***ot!” Mayweather shot out.

And the Internet collectively groaned. Just when it appeared that Mayweather had an opening to take control of the verbal jousting, he tossed this ill-conceived barb. It came out of left field and did little to resonate with anybody watching.

We all knew that this world tour was going to be a car crash, but most assumed it would be of the entertaining variety. But it was clear that exhaustion had set in as the duo rinsed and repeated the same patterns over and over. There were other little touches that made it cringe-inducing. Seeing Showtime Sports vice president Stephen Espinoza being called a “b*tch” and a “weasel” by McGregor felt totally unnecessary as Espinoza was being clipped by the shrapnel of the Irishman’s lyrical grenades. It added zero value to the promotion. At the very least, Mayweather refused to disrespect UFC president Dana White and credited him for “pimping out” McGregor.

Look, there was undoubtedly no way that these two were going to keep it civil. That part is what the general public wanted to see. However, once it devolved into amateur comedy hour, where each fighter was handed the mic so they could bark until they were exhausted, probably wasn’t the best way to go about it. Furthermore, as exhausting as it was for us to watch this madness for four consecutive days, Mayweather and McGregor must have been even more fatigued after globetrotting from Los Angeles to Toronto to New York to London. It should be a credit to them that they were able to maintain the intensity throughout. But they are probably just as glad to see this thing end as we are.

Photo by Esther Lin / Vox Media

Was it a bad idea? Not necessarily. Although it may have been better to spread it out over a few more days rather than back to back. The scheduling was likely due to the fact that both fighters wanted to get back to their respective camps to prepare for what will likely become the biggest money combat sports event in history. They crammed in a media tour in four days to give fans what they want because, unlike Mayweather-Pacquiao, people were just as (if not more) excited to see them exchange words as they were to see the fight. To be clear, it’s far more spectacle than fight. If you want a great fight, watch Canelo-GGG in September. But if you’re reading this, you already knew that.

It’s a circus and everyone is here for the show. But did the show already wear on people with its crude tone? Will there be a sector of people who were on the fence about buying the PPV now giving the entire thing the cold shoulder based on what they saw during this world tour? Are you excited for this fight if you weren’t before?

Whether or not this will be effective is yet to be seen. But, thankfully, we won’t have to endure another one of these again.

PHOTO GALLERY: Mayweather-McGregor in Toronto

PHOTO GALLERY: Mayweather-McGregor in London