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Mayweather-McGregor got down in the gutter last week

ESPN
Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Conor McGregor during their pre-fight trash-talking tour last week.
Fertile Ground Compost Service

OKLAHOMA CITY – Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor just completed a four-city tour last week promoting their upcoming boxing match August 26 in Las Vegas. Mayweather is a seasoned boxer and undisputed welterweight champion with a perfect 49-0 record. McGregor is the reigning UFC lightweight champion, who will be fighting his first boxing match.

McGregor indicated on the “Conan O’Brien Show” two years ago that he would be interested in fighting Mayweather.

“I mean, who would not like to dance around the ring for $180 million?” McGregor asked.

On June 15 this year, the fight became official with the contract signing and the Nevada Athletic commission approving the bout, which will be aired on pay-per-view via Showtime.

McGregor isn’t going to be paid near $180 million, more like $75 million, while Mayweather will haul in about $100 million. Still, at $75 million, that’s five times more than McGregor ever pocketed for a UFC fight.

Both fighters set out on the four-city tour (Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, and London) sharing the stage to promote their fight. Much of it seemed comical similar to the way the World Wrestling Entertainment promotes its matches. Some of the comments made were not comical.

McGregor made some racial comments at one stop saying “dance for me, boy” when Mayweather was dancing on stage. Later that evening in an interview with Guillermo Rodriguez on the “Jimmy Kimmel Show,” Rodriguez asked McGregor if he could beat Rocky Balboa in Rocky III. McGregor recalled a scene in the movie.

“That was the one with the dancing monkeys in the gym,” McGregor recalled.

There were obviously no monkeys in the film, but there was a scene where Rocky and Apollo Creed visited Creed’s old training gym in Los Angeles. In that scene, there were black fighters training.

Mayweather wasn’t amused.

“Disrespecting my daughter, disrespecting the mother of my daughter, disrespecting black women, calling black people monkeys is totally disrespectful. I have a diverse team. A diverse staff. And when I was young, I may have said some things I shouldn’t have said because I was young. But you live, you learn, and you don’t say those things when you get to a certain age because it’s all about growth and maturity,” Mayweather said at the post-tour press conference.

“Let me address the race,” McGregor said. “A lot of people have me saying I’m against black people. That’s absolutely fucking ridiculous.

“Do they not know I’m half-black? I’m half-black from the belly button down.”

McGregor then declared he had “a little present for my beautiful black, female fans” and started dancing.

McGregor denied being a racist.

 “That doesn’t sit well with me,” McGregor said. “I’m very multicultural, a multicultural individual, and I don’t have any ill feelings toward anyone. I don’t even see color, you know what I mean?”

Mayweather wasn’t without controversy, either. He had called McGregor a “bitch” a “faggot” and a “ho” during the trash talking tour.

“Simply being a talented fighter isn't enough. You've gotta sell the show, and for a while, it seemed as though these two guys were uniquely suited to do just that,” wrote Sarah Spain at ESPNW.com. “But as their exchanges get uglier and more offensive, it's time to check back in with ourselves. Do we want to validate barbarism? Are these the kind of people deserving of our attention, admiration and time? If we give celebs like them a pass on homophobia, misogyny, and bigotry, how many others will feel entitled to express their own hate?

“In today's climate, this kind of unhinged circus is certain to sell, but we don't have to buy it.”

Muhammad Ali was the best at promoting fights by taking verbal jabs at his opponents without foul language. He often insulted his opponents with humor and poetry. If there was a racial overtone to his insults, it was directed toward his own race. He called Sonny Liston a “bear.”

“Now Clay swings with a right, what a beautiful swing,” he said before the first bout with Liston. “And the punch raises the Bear clear out of the ring. Liston is still rising, and the ref wears a frown, for he can't start counting ‘til Sonny comes down. Now Liston disappears from view.”

Ali called Joe Frazier an “Uncle Tom” and “ugly” and a “gorilla.”

“Joe Frazier should give his face to The Wildlife Fund! He’s so ugly, blind men go the other way. He not only looks bad, you can smell him in another country. What will the people in Manila think? That black brothers are animals. Ignorant. Stupid. Ugly and smelly,” Ali told reporters before the third bout between the two fighters.

“It will be a killa and a thrilla and a chilla when I get the gorilla in Manila,” Ali said before that third fight while holding a gorilla doll.

“Joe’s gonna come out smokin’, but I ain’t gonna be jokin’. This might shock and amaze ya, but I’m going to destroy Joe Frazier.”

Before his fight with George Foreman, Ali told a crowd of boxing fans in Zaire, Africa that he would kill Foreman. Not that he would actually murder his opponent, but that he would win the fight.

“Ako bo mai ye,” Ali shouted. Those words translate from Zaire’s Lingala dialect as “I will kill him.”

Ali also took a jab at President Richard Nixon’s resignation, which came two months before Ali’s fight with Foreman.

“You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned? Wait ‘til I whup George Foreman’s behind,” he said. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hand can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”

Ali’s longstanding pre-fight strategy was that he liked to get his opponent “mad.”

“I like to get a man mad because when a man’s mad, he wants ya so bad, he can’t think, so I like to get a man mad.”

Those who liked Ali’s brashness cheered for him. Those who hated his arrogance rooted for his opponents. He didn’t have to dwell in the sewer to sell his fights.

That’s why he’s the greatest.

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Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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