Conor McGregor is a polarizing fighter.
Because of his braggadocious ways and abilities to sell a fight with the picking up of a microphone, McGregor has garnered legions of fans and just as many detractors who consider him disrespectful to his opponents.
But in the lead up to his August 26 boxing match against former 12-time world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., McGregor has soaked up plenty of respect, admiration and support from fans in Los Angeles, Toronto and Brooklyn, New York, the first three stops on the four-city, three-country, two-continent tour.
“I’m 28 years old. I’m getting fight checks and promoter checks,” McGregor said. “When Floyd was 28, he was on Oscar De La Hoya’s undercard, and that’s just facts.”
Last November, McGregor came to Madison Square Garden in New York City looking to make history and become the first simultaneous two-division champion in the history of the UFC, and that is exactly what he did.
Courtesy of a knockout of Eddie Alvarez in the main event of UFC 205 at "The World's Most Famous Arena," the 5-foot-9, 155-pound McGregor added the UFC lightweight championship to his resume, going along with the featherweight title he won in December of 2015.
While taking a right-handed punch from Alvarez, McGregor fired off a powerful left hand that landed on the side of the defending champion’s face. McGregor followed it up with a right hand to Alvarez’s jaw, a left to the ear and another right that eventually floored his opponent.
During the Toronto press conference, which had to be moved to the Budweiser Stage to accommodate the 20,000 fans who showed up to watch the fighters talk and face off, European soccer chants broke out and McGregor, a native of Dublin, Ireland, personally thanked the Canadian and Irish fans for their support in the lead-up to the bout.
“Toronto, what a (freaking) city. What a city. What a city,” McGregor said. “I was here one time two years ago, three years ago. I was also on a world tour. I was also facing an unconquerable quest. I was facing the then pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet, Jose Aldo.
“They said the same things then as they’re saying now. They said I had no chance. They said I’m in over my head. They said he kicks too hard. Too many weapons. The Irish man’s going to fall short. He doesn’t stand a hope. It took me 13 seconds.”
Prior to his retirement in 2015, the 5-foot-8, 151-pound Mayweather won the WBC super featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and light middleweight crowns, along with the IBF welterweight title, WBA (Super) light middleweight and (Super) welterweight titles and WBO welterweight championship.
On his way to the 49-0 record, Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marcos Maidana (twice), Arturo Gatti, Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya, all of whom are current or were former champions across several weight classes.
And while McGregor is appreciative of the support from the fans, to traditional boxing “experts,” he did not mince words.
“You’re (freaking) crazy if you think this man stands a chance,” McGregor said of Mayweather. “His head is too small. One shot is all it takes me. Check the facts. I bounce heads off the canvas and dribble that (stuff). He tip-tap-toes to a decision. He’s never even fought a day in his life. He’s a runner.”
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