UFC star Conor McGregor’s first boxing fight week began Tuesday with a grand arrival ceremony outside T-Mobile Arena, where he will meet Floyd Mayweather on Saturday in what figures to be the biggest bout in combat sports history.
McGregor was mobbed by fans and surrounded by cameras before being whisked away to a tent to do interviews as he strutted through the sweltering heat in a purple three-piece suit and encountered brief skirmishes with Mayweather’s camp and angry former sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi.
If the moment was starting to get to him, it wasn’t evident from his words.
“I’m the most comfortable in this,” said McGregor, who is days away from earning a potential nine-figure paycheck. “I’m more comfortable in this than if I’m just chilling on my own. I’ve been under these lights for a long, long time.”
The 29-year-old Irish superstar has never lacked for confidence. He has drawn even more comfort from the belief that his coaches and training partners have prepared him for what undoubtedly will be the most viewed professional boxing debut in history.
“We’ve put in the work,” McGregor said. “There’s been no corners cut. I’ve fought many 12-rounders (in the gym). We are more than prepared.
“I’m ready to fight now. Make no mistake.”
He will have to wait through a lot more pomp and circumstance before any punches are thrown, though tensions appeared to almost bubble over Tuesday as the entourages for the fighters briefly crossed paths.
McGregor said he didn’t know any details of how Tuesday’s event would transpire, a common complaint at several media appearances throughout the buildup to the fight as Mayweather’s team has run the proceedings.
Shortly after he was told there would be no photo-ops of the fighters together, McGregor’s team encountered Mayweather’s larger group.
Mayweather declined comment on the incident. McGregor laughed it off.
“I saw him and said, ‘What are you afraid of a faceoff today?’ ” McGregor said. “Then he kind of disappeared among those big goons. I couldn’t hear what he said, there was just a bit of a pushing and shoving match. Nothing really happened. He can’t walk around anywhere when he’s not surrounded by those donkeys. But when he’s in the ring, he’s on his own.”
That’s where McGregor will see if he’s ready to fight one of the greatest defensive boxers in history.
“I know exactly how I’m going to crack that code,” McGregor said. “I will show it and then I will say it. People always ask me about his defense, and I say I don’t give a (expletive) about his defense the same way I don’t give a (expletive) about his offense. The same way I don’t give a (expletive) about his record or his accomplishments. I don’t care about any of that. A fight’s a fight, and on fight night, it’s me and him in there. I don’t care about his defensive capabilities like everyone’s asking me.
“I believe I know exactly how I’m going to break him down. I will show that and then I will talk about it at the press conference.”
Contact Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.