By Scoop Malinowski
Observing the McGregor vs Mayweather pre-fight hype build up, one observation stands out. It seems the Mayweather side is trying too hard to sell the upset. So that it’s believable when it happens.
All the talk about Floyd being “the best ever” and striving to reach the perfect 50-0 pro record have been muted.
Floyd’s trademark cockiness is gone too. Not a peep about “49 have tried” or “God won’t let me lose”, “With God on my side I can’t possibly lose.”
If anything, Floyd sounds more humble now than ever before. It’s as if something has happened to him to provoke this newfound humility and sense of mortality.
Could it be the desperation debt to the IRS which has been reported to be around $25,000,000?
We probably will never know for sure. But one thing is certain, the Mayweather side does not have to push so hard to pump up McGregor’s chances to be competitive with Floyd as they have been.
Remember how Oscar De La Hoya insulted Mayweather during their press conferences? He called Mayweather a “spoiled brat.” And of course, Mayweather was super nasty to Oscar in retaliation and has been very unkind to Oscar whenever he talks about him to this present day.
And McGregor was far, far more insulting of Mayweather than De La Hoya was. Yet, Money Mayweather has not unleashed much verbal wrath at McGregor.
I find this puzzling and curious. Mayweather supposedly has his hundred million dollar check and endless cash reserves, so he should not be so preoccupied with trying to sell the fight and sell the public on McGregor’s chances, like he has.
McGregor has made it personal and perhaps even racial with some of his extreme verbal attacks on the 40-year-old American.
It’s strange that Mayweather has endured the verbal assaults with nothing but singing praises for his rival’s chances and opportunities. Unusual behavior often can be a portent of things to come.
Marvin Hagler mysteriously felt the need to change his stance (from lefty to righty) for the first few rounds vs Sugar Ray Leonard. Why did Hagler make such an extreme alteration to his successful boxing style and stance? Did Leonard make him feel insecure in some way we can’t understand?
Michael Spinks walked to the ring to face Mike Tyson in 1988 and could be heard saying repeatedly to the crowd, “I’m gonna give it my best shot.”Spinks probably never said those words enroute to the ring for any other of his professional fights.
Evander Holyfield told reporters before his first Mike Tyson fight to bet the mortgage on himself. I’ve covered dozens of Holyfield fights and never heard him guarantee a victory before with such boldness.
See? Suddenly changed behavior, either positive or negative, can often result in a big surprise outcome.
Of course, there’s always the chance that maybe Mayweather has finally matured. Or he wants to change his image. Or there is also the potential truth that maybe he’s agreed to throw the fight to set up an even more lucrative rematch – in order to solve his IRS issues. For the first time in his career, losing to McGregor could be more lucrative than winning. Beating McGregor means zero interest in a rematch. Losing to McGregor means the rematch will be even bigger than August 26.
This week will be the McGregor and Mayweather conference calls. Stay tuned as I will examine these discussions most meticulously.
Scoop’s book Muhammad Ali: Portrait of a Champion is available at amazon for $9.99.