Mayweather v McGregor: The kings of trash talk

The best boxer in a generation against one of the biggest names in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Floyd Mayweather Jr, regarded – before his retirement – as the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer, will fight UFC star Conor McGregor in a light-middleweight boxing contest in Las Vegas on 26 August.

But how and why did the fight come about? Does McGregor have a chance? What impact will it have on the sports? And is it all just a money-making circus?

BBC Sport takes a look at the history and the reaction to the contest.

Mayweather out of retirement to fight ‘little punk’

Floyd Mayweather has not fought since beating Andre Berto on points in September 2015

Why is it happening? Quite simply… money, with both fighters expected to earn up to $100m (£78.5m).

After Mayweather gained a convincing points win over Andre Berto in September 2015, the American, who has won world titles at five weights, said: “My career is over, that’s official.

“You’ve got to know when to hang them up. There’s nothing left to prove in the sport of boxing, I just want to spend time with my family.”

However, there was growing interest in a fight between Mayweather and McGregor, after the Irish UFC star went on American chat show Conan and said he would “most certainly dismantle” Mayweather.

Talks between the two camps began in May 2016 and McGregor, who has never boxed professionally or as an amateur, was granted a boxing licence in California last November.

After social media insults flew from both sides, including Mayweather calling McGregor a “little punk”, the Irishman claimed he had signed a contract for the fight and applied for a Nevada boxing licence, so it could be held in Las Vegas.

However, it was still a shock to both the boxing and UFC worlds when Mayweather, whose nickname is Money, posted a video on social media confirming the fight will happen at the T-Mobile Arena on 26 August.

Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, said: “There is not one place I go to with Floyd where he doesn’t get asked the question: ‘Floyd, are you going to fight Conor McGregor?’ All Floyd thinks about is fighting Conor McGregor.”

‘A real man fights standing up’ – boxing’s view

Mayweather, 40, never entertained the idea of the pair meeting in a UFC event, saying “a real man fights standing up”. Therefore, a boxing bout was the only outcome.

Bookmakers expect a one-sided contest, with the American as short as 1-12 to win his 50th professional fight, a landmark that would see him overtake legendary boxer Rocky Marciano, who retired after 49 victories.

However, the fight has not been well received by a large number of boxers.

McGregor will do well to lay glove on Mayweather – Frampton

Mexican Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, a two-weight world champion whose only loss in 51 fights came against Mayweather in 2013, called it a “circus and a joke”, echoing comments from former five-weight world champion Oscar de la Hoya.

“It’s hurting the sport of boxing,” added Alvarez. “It’s a big circus and a joke because when a fighter from boxing gets into MMA (mixed martial arts) or a fighter from MMA gets into boxing it’s just a big joke. People don’t take it seriously.”

Ricky Hatton, the only British boxer to fight Mayweather – losing in the 10th round of their Las Vegas bout in December 2007 – feels the fight should not count on the American’s boxing record.

“Conor’s the biggest star in UFC and, if he gets whitewashed by Mayweather, which he would, it wouldn’t look good on the UFC,” Hatton told Boxing News.