Trash talk lines the path to a showdown between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor.
What, expect something else?
Money and Notorious, respectively, couldn't resist the urge to step into the ring, not only because fans kept asking for it and the untold dollar signs attached to such a bout, but because of the verbal shade thrown at one another until things went final.
What comes out of both men's mouths is about as predictable as what will happen after the two touch gloves on Saturday night on Showtime. The full main card, outlined below, starts at 9 p.m. ET:
- Floyd Mayweather Jr. (USA, 49-0) vs. Conor McGregor (IRE, debut), light middleweight
- Gervonta Davis (USA, 18-0) vs. Francisco Fonseca (CRC, 19-0-1), IBF super featherweight title
- Nathan Cleverly (GBR, 30-3) vs. Badou Jack (SWE, 21-1-2), WBA (regular) light heavyweight title
- Andrew Tabiti (USA, 14-0) vs. Steve Cunningham (USA, 29-8-1), USBA cruiserweight title
On an initial pass, all the pressure seems to sit on Mayweather's shoulders. He's the guy with all the experience in this arena, after all, the guy hoping to likely fade into retirement at 50-0 and the one Las Vegas oddsmakers like at a -400 clip, according to Joe Osborne of OddsShark.
This doesn't make the comments coming from Money any less aggressive than usual, but it hasn't seemed to make McGregor a little less vocal than usual.
Take, for instance, this gem, via UFC:
"I'm going to knock him out inside four rounds. Mark my words." #ConorMcGregor @TheNotoriousMMA #MayweatherMcGregor https://t.co/1I9cyJjzvQ2017-8-22 00:00:08
Notorious has never lacked for confidence, obviously. When talking with the media about glove rulings by the Nevada State Athletic Commission because both men use different-sized gloves in their respective sports, McGregor couldn't help but throw some cocky shade in there as well.
"We are prepared for every possible outcome," McGregor said, according to ESPN.com's Dan Rafael. "Part of me wants to show some skill and dismantle him that way, [but] I'm ready to put him away in the first 10 seconds."
So goes the beauty of this bout, right? Not only is McGregor coming over from a different sport, variables such as the ounce sizes of the gloves explain why the odds don't swing crazily heavy in Mayweather's favor.
As for Money himself, he's well aware one of the hottest topics surrounding the bout is whether his opponent will stick to the rules of boxing or get loose with his approach. After watching McGregor's sparring sessions, Mayweather noted his observations with Adam Silverstein of CBSSports.com:
"I see a lot of rabbit punches behind the head, grappling, wrestling, illegal shots. But the ref will be fair on both sides; I want him to be even. I want us to have a good solid fight."
It's a more grounded Mayweather than fans are perhaps used to seeing. The fact he's willing to put one of boxing's most prestigious records on the line for a fight like this is either brazenly silly in search of a big payday or the confidence of a legend wanting to add to his legacy, depending on who answers the question.
Mayweather seems to fall heavily in the latter camp, as captured by CBS News:
CBS News @CBSNews
"This fight is happening because I believe in myself...” Floyd Mayweather meets with #CBSNOA ahead of his fight with Conor McGregor https://t.co/Qd2lYmhBcE2017-8-22 03:58:44
The somewhat reserved Mayweather is a good example of the unknown element surrounding this entire blockbuster ordeal, where only heavy financial numbers and countless sets of eyeballs on the bout register as sure things.
In the ring, it's unknown how McGregor will look from a boxing-only standpoint, let alone against an all-time legend. And with Mayweather, it's a big unknown where his game is at. He's been on point every time he's come back to the ring so far, but he is 40 years old while seeking out win No. 50.
The same unknowns apply outside of the ring. As we have seen on the wild buildup to the spectacle, what either man will say at random is one of the biggest draws to the bout itself.
On the continued march to one of the year's biggest events, keep a close eye on what both men have to say—if the fight itself isn't one of the most memorable details, the banter certainly will be.