Boxing: Fighting words ahead of McGregor v Mayweather money-spinner

The Money Belt, filled with gold, diamonds and sapphires and emeralds, will be given to the winner of the McGregor v Mayweather super-fight.
The Money Belt, filled with gold, diamonds and sapphires and emeralds, will be given to the winner of the McGregor v Mayweather super-fight.PHOTO: REUTERS

LAS VEGAS • Conor McGregor has vowed to destroy Floyd Mayweather Jr, as the two fighters faced off on Wednesday in Las Vegas ahead of their money-spinning boxing duel that could become the richest fight in history.

In stark contrast to their lurid, trash-talking global press tour last month, McGregor and Mayweather spoke respectfully as they looked ahead to tomorrow's 12-round boxing contest at the T-Mobile Arena.

Mayweather did not swear once during the news conference, while McGregor - the massive underdog - restricted himself to abusing a heckler in the audience who predicted he would be knocked out.

McGregor faces his first professional boxing contest against Mayweather, the undefeated former welterweight king who has come out of a two-year retirement to take on the mixed martial arts star.

"We are prepared for 12 three-minute rounds of non-stop pace," said the Irishman, a two-time UFC world champion. "I will put pressure on him and break this old man. Trust me on that. I don't see him lasting two rounds."

Mayweather, 40, looked relaxed throughout, even taking time to quietly admonish members of his entourage shouting at McGregor.

He praised McGregor as a "helluva fighter, a stand-up guy and a tough competitor".

"It's not going to be an easy fight," he said. "He's the best at what he do, I'm the best at what I do. It comes down to the two competitors... displaying our skills."

But Mayweather's words came with a warning for McGregor: "After 21 years, I've been hit with everything and I'm still right here. I was born a fighter, I will die a fighter."

Tomorrow's bout could become the most lucrative in history, with Mayweather likely to add another US$200 million (S$272 million) to his career earnings depending on pay-per-view sales. McGregor, on the other hand, could collect US$100 million.

The winner will also get The Money Belt - made of 1.5kg of 24 karat gold, 3,360 diamonds, 600 sapphires, 160 emeralds and crocodile leather.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MAYWEATHER V MCGREGOR
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2017, with the headline 'Fighting words ahead of money-spinning fight'. Print Edition | Subscribe