McGre­gor favourite in Toronto as tour with May­weather stops in Canada

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JOHN CHIDLEY-HILL

Ul­ti­mate Fight­ing Cham­pi­onship star Conor McGre­gor strut­ted up to the podium, checked the mi­cro­phone in his hand, and then punched the mike at­tached to the podium out of its stand. The thou­sands of com­bat sport fans in at­ten­dance at Toronto’s Bud­weiser Stage ex­ploded into cheers as his fist con­nected with the mike.

McGre­gor then en­cour­aged the crowd to shout ex­ple­tives at Floyd May­weather Jr. and his fam­ily be­fore launch­ing into a nearly 10minute long pro­fan­ity-laced tirade.

“They’re try­ing to set me up at ev­ery turn out here, they’re try­ing to catch me off guard, try­ing to see me in an un­com­fort­able po­si­tion,” said McGre­gor on Wed­nes­day af­ter chal­leng­ing May­weather to come and get the re­main­ing mi­cro­phone from his hand. “But I thrive in un­com­fort­able po­si­tions. There’s noth­ing they can do to faze me.”

McGre­gor’s the­atrics with the mi­cro­phones were, in part, a ref­er­ence to his au­dio cut­ting out the pre­vi­ous day in Los An­ge­les, the first stop of their four-city tour pro­mot­ing a box­ing match be­tween the pair billed as “the big­gest fight in com­bat sport his­tory.”

The 28-year-old McGre­gor, who has a 21-3 pro­fes­sional MMA record and is the reign­ing lightweight cham­pion, will fight a proper box­ing match against May­weather, 41, who has come out of re­tire­ment to put his per­fect 49-0 record on the line.

Af­ter L.A. and Toronto the show rolls on to New York City and Lon­don with the ac­tual bout in Las Ve­gas on Aug. 26.

“Twenty-eight years of age and I’m get­ting fight cheques and pro­moter cheques,” said McGre­gor. “When Floyd was 28, he was on Os­car De La Hoya’s un­der­card and that’s just facts.”

Af­ter McGre­gor re­lin­quished the mi­cro­phone May­weather got his own ver­bal jabs in, point­ing out that his un­de­feated record spanned 21 years com­pared to McGre­gor’s nine years as a pro fighter, only making his UFC de­but in 2013.

“One thing we do know, the (ex­ple­tive) fans can’t fight for you,” said May­weather to a rain of boos. “We’re not talk­ing about be­ing at the top one year, two years, three years, four years. Twenty-one years!”

A no­tice of a fed­eral tax lien filed against May­weather, nick­named “Money,” on Tues­day still owes $22.2 mil­lion in taxes from 2015, the year he earned his big­gest pay­day with a block­buster fight against Manny Pac­quiao.

The lien for 2015 is just the lat­est in a se­ries of tax liens filed by the IRS against May­weather over the past decade and it’s an is­sue that McGre­gor, and the fans who chanted “Pay your taxes,” didn’t hes­i­tate to bring up at the rau­cous news con­fer­ence.

RICK MADONIK, TORONTO STAR

Floyd May­weather, left, and Conor McGre­gor egg each other on Wed­nes­day in front of a packed house at the Bud­weiser Stage of Mol­son Am­phithe­atre.

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