by Declan Taylor, Las Vegas
Floyd Mayweather is just days away from what has been described as the biggest event in the history of combat sports, but he was in a peculiar mood at last night’s final press conference.
In what is traditionally the final set-piece occasion for the protagonists to sell their contest, the mask began to slip slightly from the face of master salesman Mayweather.
“I’d rather be at home than here right now,” he said. “But I’ll be here so I can get that paper. But if I don’t want to get out of bed I won’t get out of bed.
“It’s just work. It’s the same thing every time. I’ve been here many times before and I’ve done this over and over again.
“Is this still fun? No, no. Absolutely not. I don’t want to do this, I want to go home. All I do is fight, I want to get in there and fight. All of this is cool but it’s part of my job.
“I’ve been watching this series on TV called Snowfall. I’d rather be at home right now watching Snowfall.”
Never mind snowfall, boxing press conferences are usually like watching paint dry and the 40-year-old has clearly grown tired of going through the motions here in Las Vegas.
His comments were in keeping with the strange and slightly subdued fight week which was in stark contrast to the madness of the four-city press tour which was arranged to promote the fight.
But, in the past few months, he has done a superb job of selling this fight against a man who has never once competed as a professional boxer.
Outsider Conor McGregor’s price has been steadily shortening as people begin to believe that the superstar of the UFC can somehow render Mayweather unconscious at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night.
This school of thought has been helped no end by Mayweather suggesting that, at 40 and having been out of the ring for over two years, he is nowhere near the fighter he used to be.
But, again, he was in no mood to maintain that narrative as this colossal promotion shudders towards its violent end at the weekend.
“Listen,” he said. “This is going to be a cakewalk. I’m the best. I’m the best fighter on this planet and always have been. I’ve always been the best. I’m the best fighter that ever lived.
“Prediction? I’m going to win. I don’t know it’s going to be done but I’m going to do it. This will not go the distance.” Mayweather seemed to be happy in his retirement but the man who calls himself Money was not about to turn down the opportunity to pocket another seven-figure payday, especially by fighting a novice.
“It was a little bit of everything that made me come back for this fight,” he added. “The fans demanded this fight, they wanted this fight, I wanted this fight and Conor McGregor wanted this fight. Now we’re here.
“But this is for me first, it’s about self preservation, I’m doing this for me.
“I don’t think about Conor McGregor. I don’t care about that. I’m a fighter. When it’s all said and done, no matter how many cameras flash and how many stories are written, when it comes down to August 26 it comes down to the two competitors.” Back in salesman mode, he added: “This is a great fight, it’s something that’s world wide. It’s not just a great fight but a great event.”
McGregor has garnered an incredible following during his glittering years competing in the UFC, where he has won world titles at two different weight classes.
His commercial pull has been strengthened further by his role in this promotion but even he was in no mood for putting on a show at the final press conference, which was not accessible to the public like it usually is for UFC.
Dressed in yet another immaculate suit, the man from Crumlin, who was joined in the MGM Grand’s KA Theatre by his wife and young son Conor Jr, kept his address short and sweet.
But he did have time to issue one final warning to the undefeated American “You should have left me where I was,” McGregor said. “In the game where we bounce people’s heads off the canvas.
“I’ve come through shin bone. You ever have a shin bone bounce off your cheek bone? That’s the game I come from. They can say what they want, I’ve come through a lot tougher than any of these have come through.
“You’re going to see, you’re all going to eat your words on Saturday night.
“I might even have a bet on myself. I certainly know I’m going to win.”