By Keith Idec
Floyd Mayweather Jr. continued promoting the possibility of a boxing match against UFC star Conor McGregor during a Showtime telecast Friday night.
The retired superstar told Showtime’s Steve Farhood that he thinks the much-discussed showdown with McGregor “absolutely” will happen. UFC president Dana White told numerous media outlets this week while promoting UFC 198 that a Mayweather-McGregor match won’t happen, but that didn’t stop the attention-seeking Mayweather from further fueling speculation about his return to the ring.
“Well, it’s really not a rumor,” Mayweather said between bouts during a four-fight “ShoBox: The New Generation” broadcast. “The fight may happen. We really don’t know as of right now. But do I think the fight will happen? Absolutely.”
Mayweather, whose company promoted Friday’s card at Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas, is 49-0 and many boxing observers are convinced the 39-year-old former five-division champion will return to the ring to surpass Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record. The 27-year-old McGregor usually fights at the mixed martial arts featherweight limit of 145 pounds, almost the same weight at which Mayweather competes in boxing (147 pounds).
“We’re the A side,” Mayweather said. “Of course it has to be a boxing match, because most fights that Conor McGregor won inside the octagon, he was a stand-up guy. So I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a tough fight for me. So we don’t really know as of right now. But it’s been a lot of talk, and hopefully we can make the fight happen.”
Ireland’s McGregor was forced to submit by underdog Nate Diaz in the second round of his last MMA match, the main event at UFC 196 on March 5 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
McGregor accepted that fight, a welterweight bout with an MMA limit of 170 pounds, on short notice once his original opponent, UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, withdrew from their 155-pound championship match due to a foot injury. McGregor (19-3, 17 KOs) weighed in at 168 pounds for his first UFC defeat, one less than Diaz.
“He’s no pushover,” Mayweather said. “One thing about Conor McGregor, he’s no pushover. He fell short in his last bout. But a true champion can always bounce back. So that’s a guy that I can’t overlook.”
The optimistic Mayweather admitted, though, that he hasn’t had any discussions with McGregor or his representatives about the most important details of a potential bout between them.
“We haven’t picked a venue,” Mayweather said. “We haven’t talked about money yet. And, you know, that’s me. I’m gonna get a hundred million, of course. Every time I go out, you know, that’s my number. Every time I go out and get inside that squared circle, it’s a hundred million or better.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.