McGregor and Mayweather bring trash talk, theatrics to Toronto
Pair make latest tour stop ahead of Aug. 26 superfight
Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor made the latest stop of their world tour in Toronto ahead of their much-anticipated superfight on Aug. 26 and they certainly put on show.
Of course, Toronto rapper Drake even made a surprise appearance, while label mate Baka Not Nice performed to get the restless crowd fired up before the fighters graced the Budweiser Stage.
Drake is in the building for the mayweather/mcgregor press conference <a href="https://t.co/VjSHNNfx5m">pic.twitter.com/VjSHNNfx5m</a>—@mylesdichter
As was the case at yesterday's stop in Los Angeles, the crowd was very much in favour of McGregor.
Fans dressed from head-to-toe in green waved their Irish flags with pride and greeted the UFC fighter with chants of "olé, olé, olé," as McGregor arrived and made his way to the stage.
McGregor could do no wrong in the role of hero as he drew cheers of support every time he spoke or was shown on the big screen.
Showtime will be airing the fight on pay-per-view and its vice-president and general manager, Stephen Espinoza, described the Irishman as a promoter's dream.
"He [McGregor] speaks with 100 per cent confidence and authenticity. He's got the ability – only the best WWE wrestlers even have this – the ability to say something outrageous with absolute confidence," Espinoza said.
"The Rock had it and some of the biggest stars in the WWE had it. Not many people have it. Conor and Floyd both have it."
Mayweather did his best to win over the Canadian crowd, dressed up in a Canadian-themed t-shirt and snapback cap from his "The Money Team" clothing line.
But the crowd was having none of it, booing the 12-time world champion every chance they could get.
They square off in Toronto! <a href="https://twitter.com/FloydMayweather">@FloydMayweather</a> vs. <a href="https://twitter.com/TheNotoriousMMA">@TheNotoriousMMA</a> at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MayMacWorldTour?src=hash">#MayMacWorldTour</a>! <a href="https://t.co/RLVk7VWbSV">pic.twitter.com/RLVk7VWbSV</a>—@UFC_CA
"Floyd revels in being the villain. He always has. So the more boos the better. What he really reacts to negatively is no reaction," Espinoza said.
"If you want to get under his skin, it would [have] to be dead silent when [he] took the stage – that would bother him. But booing, that's the response he'd love to get."
'I love Canada'
With both fighters in the house, UFC president, Dana White, was first up to introduce his contender.
The American businessman has never been shy about his love for "the Great White North" and didn't wait long to express that once the stage was his.
"You don't do a world tour without stopping in Canada!" yelled White, as he addressed the crowd for the first time.
The UFC has made several stops north of the border over the years from Vancouver to Halifax and White made sure that Canada didn't miss out on the experience this time around.
"I love Canada. Toronto is the New York of Canada. I pushed hard for these guys to come to Canada. They don't understand the fan base up here," White said.
Plenty of trash talk
White shortly made way for McGregor, who promptly began trash talking once the spotlight was all his.
The reigning UFC lightweight champion got into the face of Mayweather, taunting him about his tax problems as the boxer laughed off his comments.
McGregor drew attention to a schoolbag Mayweather brought on stage, claiming that he shouldn't be carrying one with him as he couldn't even read.
ICYMI: <a href="https://twitter.com/FloydMayweather">@FloydMayweather</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/TheNotoriousMMA">@TheNotoriousMMA</a> upped the 🔥🔥🔥 at the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MayMacWorldTour?src=hash">#MayMacWorldTour</a> stop in Toronto<br><br>🎥 <a href="https://t.co/hJba8UnrZo">https://t.co/hJba8UnrZo</a> <a href="https://t.co/cMLAnPsHQO">pic.twitter.com/cMLAnPsHQO</a>—@UFC_CA
When the Irishman opened up the bag, its only contents were a stack of bills totalling $5,000 US, which McGregor laughed at as it wasn't enough to pay the $25 million Mayweather reportedly owes in taxes from 2015.
The Toronto crowd is savagely chanting "Pay your taxes!" to Floyd Mayweather. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MayMacWorldTour?src=hash">#MayMacWorldTour</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MayweatherMcGregor?src=hash">#MayweatherMcGregor</a> <a href="https://t.co/iEXGny2zj3">pic.twitter.com/iEXGny2zj3</a>—@jnsanchez
Mayweather responded to the antics – as he did in the previous tour stop – calling McGregor a quitter and mocking the mixed martial artist as if he was tapping out to surrender defeat.
Espinoza was a bit surprised with the 40-year-old's decision to take part in McGregor's mind games.
"I haven't seen Floyd act like that since the [Oscar] De La Hoya media tour [when] he brought out the live chicken with the gold medal on its neck and said the chicken was De La Hoya. It was some of the best stuff in recent boxing history in terms of trash talking," recalls Espinoza.
"Since then, he's toned it down. What we saw in Los Angeles yesterday, it's still there – the attitude, the charisma. It may be a little bit more buried, but he can still bring it out when necessary."
The showdown in the ring may be a month away, but the mind games outside of it are well underway.