Tuesday began with Floyd Mayweather reacting disdainfully to any suggestion that Conor McGregor could be compared to him. It ended with the MMA superstar setting his terms for a boxing-only showdown with his year-long antagonist.
They were terms that “Money” Mayweather could appreciate: “$100 million cash.”
McGregor, still in New York following his lightweight-title triumph at Saturday’s UFC 205, made his comments to a crowd at popular nightclub 1 Oak (via TMZ Sports). “He wants it under boxing rules. He wants a boxing match. He doesn’t want a fight,” McGregor said of Mayweather.
“Tell Floyd and Showtime, I’m coming. … I want $100 million cash to fight him under boxing rules because he’s afraid of a real fight.”
McGregor likely didn’t come up with the “$100 million” demand because it’s a nice, round (not to mention enormous) number. Earlier in the year, word leaked out that Mayweather’s camp was thinking of an arrangement in which the boxer, who claimed to have retired after reaching 49-0 last September, would be paid just that much to fight McGregor — while the Irishman would receive just $7 million.
McGregor responded by claiming that Mayweather needed him to ensure a huge payday much more than the other way around. “He’s talking $100 million — I’m also talking $100 million,” McGregor said in May. “He fights someone else in the boxing realm, and it’s like all of a sudden the pay rate goes from $100 million to $15 million. So he needs me.”
It is likely that the only other fighters who could bring the kind of interest that would lead to a massive payout for Mayweather, which is what it would take to lure him from retirement, are Manny Pacquiao and, perhaps, Gennady Golovkin. Sure enough, the Filipino boxer has made it clear that he’s eager for a rematch with Mayweather, but the latter, ever cautious about putting his undefeated 49-0 record on the line, may prefer to take on a man who has never had a sanctioned bout under boxing-only rules.
That would seem to favor Mayweather quite a bit, a fact of which McGregor made plenty of hay. “Floyd’s not ready for this,” he said at the nightclub. “Much respect to Floyd; he’s a solid businessman. What he has been able to do, he’s a [expletive] animal at what he’s been able to do, but as far as real fighting, as far as true, pure, unarmed combat — Floyd don’t want none of this.”
What Mayweather does want, in all probability, is one last huge payday from boxing while improving his record to an iconic 50-0. So, while the likelihood of a fight with McGregor still seems remote — the UFC would have to sign off on it, for one thing — it can’t be dismissed.
Something that can be dismissed, at least according to Mayweather, is any notion that McGregor is in the same league as him. “Have he ever made $300 million in one night? Have he ever made $100 million in one night? Have he ever made $70 million in one night? So, as far as saying he’s the Floyd Mayweather of MMA, I mean, it’s okay to say it, but it’s not true,” Mayweather told TMZ Sports on Tuesday.
“Never compare Conor McGregor to me,” he added. “That’s a total disrespect. Once again, I’m an elephant. An elephant don’t beef with ants. Elephant is so large, he don’t even see ants.”
None other than UFC president Dana White was happy to compare McGregor to Mayweather, and not favorably for the ex-boxer. “Conor McGregor … if he touches you, you go to sleep. Floyd puts people to sleep too, with his fighting style, not with his hands,” White told TMZ Sports Wednesday, referring to Mayweather’s defensive style.
For his part, McGregor has been quite vocal about his intention to produce gates that rival the record-shattering numbers Mayweather and Pacquiao produced last year, and a fight with Mayweather himself would get him much of the way there. McGregor knows that he would most likely lose a boxing-only match, but he doesn’t have an undefeated record to protect (the fact that losses are much less of a stigma in MMA than are perceptions that a fighter is ducking top competition has much to do with that sport eclipsing boxing in popularity) while he does have a bank account he would very much like to fatten.