McGregor and Mayweather Fling Taunts, Insults and a Little Honesty

But amid the avalanche of insults between the undefeated Mayweather Jr. and McGregor, the mixed martial arts fighter who is a U.F.C. champion and its biggest star, there are more sincere assessments among the bluster of how the fighters are preparing. Those who listened carefully heard a bit about what might transpire when the fighters touch gloves in the ring on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.


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Mayweather, who retired in 2015 with a 49-0 professional record, has not snapped into fighting shape as quickly as he used to, said Leonard Ellerbe, who runs Mayweather Promotions. He told reporters Mayweather was initially plagued by soreness and uncertainty and timing loss, in the early weeks of training.

“He’s 40 years old. It’s no secret,” said Ellerbe, who ambled into an interview room Thursday evening while picking from a plate of fruit.

He assured reporters this would be a good matchup, that Mayweather would not necessarily cruise to victory just because the fight was being conducted under boxing rules, and with 10-ounce boxing gloves instead of the smaller U.F.C. glove.

He did acknowledge that the key for Mayweather, one of the great defensive fighters, would be to avoid McGregor’s devastating knockout punches.

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