Conor McGregor faced accusations of racism as he confronted Floyd Mayweather to promote interest in their light middleweight boxing bout.
Ahead of their August 26 boxing match, the Irishman provoked anger by telling Mayweather: “Dance for me, boy.”
He rejected the calls, saying: “All of the media seem to be saying I’m against black people... Do they not know I’m half black? I’m half black from the belly button down.”
Mayweather said his opponent had crossed a line.
“He came out today and did it again,” Mayweather said. “I don’t care if it’s white women, black women, white men, black men, Asian, Latina or Latino, you don’t disrespect people. To get respect, you must give respect.”
On the third stop of a four-day, four-city barnstorming blitz to promote their clash, the barbs that characterised their exchanges in Los Angeles and Toronto were replaced by what appeared to be real venom.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) champion McGregor traded in the stylish suits he wore on the previous two legs of the tour for psychedelic pants and a furry white coat worn over a bare, tattooed chest.
He strutted imperiously onto the Barclays Centre stage in Brooklyn to an Irish ballad and thunderous applause before flexing his muscles, striking poses and rattling off a dance step or two as he waited for the undefeated boxer.
It looked for a moment as if the circus was going to take a turn for the worse when McGregor, who addressed the 40-year-old Mayweather as a “boy” in Toronto, let a howling crowd know he did not take the charges of racism seriously.
The American ignored the jibes and took selfies while McGregor barked in his ear.
McGregor is expected to be the aggressor in the ring against the former five-division world champion to make up for his lack of boxing experience and has played that role throughout the tour, which wrapped up with a stop in London.
Famous for his knockout power in the MMA cage, McGregor managed only glancing blows on Thursday as Mayweather, widely regarded as one of the best defensive fighters of all-time, side-stepped and returned fire by dubbing McGregor a quitter.
Mayweather showered McGregor with dollar bills in the bizarre press conference.
Both fighters and their promoters were booed by the crowd at the Barclays Centre as the pair appeared to run out of fresh insults.
McGregor had bragged about the quality of his suits at the first two stops in LA and Toronto, but emerged sporting floral trousers and a robe he repeatedly claimed was polar bear fur.
Mayweather, who brandished a cheque for $100 million in LA and in Canada, carried out a backpack with a wad of cash in it, took to draping himself in an Irish flag for the second evening running.
The American was received with more chants of “pay your taxes” - in reference to reports he has asked the Internal Revenue Service for more time to settle his 2015 tax bill.
But the crowd also turned on McGregor, who in a bizarre rant took aim not only at Mayweather but also rapper 50 Cent.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved