LAS VEGAS • Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor traded verbal jabs on Tuesday as the circus-like countdown to their money-spinning boxing fight cranked into overdrive on the Las Vegas Strip.
Thousands of fans including a sizeable contingent of Irish supporters thronged the heart of the Nevada boxing capital to greet Mayweather and McGregor at their separate grand arrival ceremonies.
Mayweather, the 40-year-old undefeated former welterweight boxing champion at 49-0, has been lured out of retirement to face McGregor, a star of mixed martial arts' (MMA) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
The two men meet in a 12-round contest under boxing rules on Saturday night (Sunday morning, Singapore time) that is tipped to become the richest fight in history.
Mayweather and McGregor - who clashed repeatedly during an expletive-laden world press tour to drum up interest for the fight last month - insist that they are ready to deliver a battle for the ages.
McGregor, a massive underdog in what will be his first professional boxing fight, said he was ready to stun the bookmakers.
"This is not even close to my toughest challenge ever. I will crumble him," the 29-year-old Irishman roared.
"I have adapted perfectly to boxing. I will prove on Aug 26 that this will go one or two rounds, maybe I will bang him out and hurt him.
"I'm calm and cool, same as I am in every fight. I'm fit, sharp and I'm gonna be ruthless. I believe he'll be unconscious inside one round."
A relaxed-looking Mayweather did his best to play down his status as a heavy favourite, insisting that his two-year layoff from the ring had blunted his prowess.
"That's what makes this fight so intriguing, I've been out a few years, feel like I've lost a few steps," the 40-year-old American said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mayweather had taunted McGregor over his fitness, telling the US website FightHype that he believed his opponent would struggle to make the 154lb (69kg) weight limit.
"Conor McGregor is extremely heavy right now," Mayweather said. "I think he's 164 (pounds) so he's still got 10 pounds to go."
McGregor could face a painful financial penalty if he is unable to tip the scales inside the 154lb limit. Boxers often have the option of cancelling a fight or collecting a larger share of the purse if an opponent fails to make weight.
Mayweather indicated he would take the money.
"I get that extra money if you can't make the weight," Mayweather said. "Get those extra millions ready. UFC get those extra millions ready."
McGregor hit back at Mayweather's comments.
"He needs to shut his mouth," the UFC star said. "It is a fool of a thing. Let him keep praying, praying for weight, for fatigue, praying for me to take a backward step. All he is doing is praying, but he is praying to the new god of boxing."
Estimates vary but some projections indicate Mayweather could make as much as US$200 million (S$272 million) from Saturday's contest, with McGregor collecting around US$100 million.
The fight is also tipped to test the pay-per-view and revenue records set by the Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout in May 2015, which generated over US$400 million from 4.6 million pay-per-views.
For boxing fans in Singapore, the clash will also be available on pay-per-view - $49.95 on StarHub TV and StarHub Go Android app or web browser, and $49.98 on StarHub Go iOS app.
For more information, please visit www.starhub.com/boxing
MAYWEATHER v MCGREGOR
Hub Sports PPV HD, StarHub Ch218, & StarHub Go, Sunday, 9am