Even though his odds have plummeted since the fight was announced back in June, Floyd Mayweather still is a heavy, heavy favorite to beat MMA fighter Conor McGregor in their boxing match on Aug. 26, with the oddsmakers giving him somewhere around an 85 percent implied probability of victory. And why not? Mayweather is a five-division world boxing champion, while McGregor began strictly training as a boxer only recently.

But to hear Mayweather talk to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, one would think this fight is going to be much closer than everyone thinks, to the point where it seems as if Mayweather thinks he’s the underdog.

“He’s a lot younger. When you look at myself and Conor McGregor on paper, he’s taller, has a longer reach, he’s a bigger man from top to bottom. He’s a lot younger, so youth is on his side,” the 40-year-old Mayweather said of McGregor, 29. “And I’ve been off a couple of years. And I’m in my 40s. So, if you look at everything on paper, it leans toward Conor McGregor.”

None of that is untrue. Besides the 11-year age difference, McGregor is an inch taller and has a two-inch reach advantage. Mayweather last fought in September 2015, easily beating Andre Berto by unanimous decision; McGregor beat Eddie Alvarez via TKO at UFC 205 in November.

But come on, Floyd, enough with the sad-sack routine.

“I’m not the same fighter I was two years ago. I’m not the same fighter I was five years ago. I lost a step,” he said. “A fighter like Andre Berto isn’t even supposed to go the distance with Floyd Mayweather, but remember, I was 38. It’s obvious I’m slipping a little bit to even let a fighter like that go the distance with me.

“I’m not what I used to be.”

This is all very peculiar behavior from a man who has never been known for his modesty. But Mayweather also knows that he has to sell a novelty bout that most observers think won’t be particularly close, and when you consider some of the news coming out about possibly lackluster ticket sales …

… it’s no wonder Mayweather is perhaps trying to gin up interest in the fight by saying that McGregor has more of a chance that people think.

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