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Mayweather Promotions CEO: ‘We’d be a bunch of damn fools’ if we slept on Conor McGregor

Leonard Ellerbe says Floyd Mayweather will be taking Conor McGregor very seriously.
Esther Lin, Showtime Sports

Few outside of Conor McGregor’s camp and the UFC are giving the UFC lightweight champion much chance in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Don’t expect Mayweather to take him lightly, though, according to Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe.

“This is a fight that Floyd is taking very, very seriously, because we all do know all it takes in boxing is one shot and he don’t have to be a clean shot,” Ellerbe said during a media conference call Wednesday night. “A guy with that kind of power, he can nick you and you can be buzzed. There’s been a few times in fights in Floyd’s career that he might have been buzzed in the fight and nobody never knew.”

Mayweather is 49-0 and one of the greatest boxers of all time. McGregor has no pro boxing experience. But the fight, which will be one of the biggest money-makers in combat sports history, has come together. The boxing match will take place Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas almost solely due to the outsized stardom of both men.

The conference call Wednesday was a glimpse into how the fight will be promoted. Sure, Mayweather is decorated boxing legend, the promoters will say, but McGregor has big power, Mayweather has trouble with southpaws and don’t forget — Mayweather is 40 years old now and hasn’t fought since 2015.

“Floyd is 40 years old,” Ellerbe said. “He’s been off for a minute. He’s gotta get his ass up and be prepared for Conor McGregor. Conor McGregor has been active, you know what I’m saying? He’s been knocking guys out. And we’d be a bunch of damn fools to sit around and sleep on this and listen to all the bullsh*t that everybody sits around and talks. No, nuh uh. Floyd’s ass is getting out there and getting up running. And he’s coming. He knows Conor McGregor is coming after him and Floyd is looking to get his ass up out of there, too.”

Ellerbe said he saw McGregor fight in the last couple of years and noted to Mayweather how good McGregor’s “hand game” is. The Mayweather Promotions CEO said he and Mayweather are impressed with McGregor’s striking.

“This is a total different feel from the Pacquiao fight, because this is the unknown factor,” Ellerbe said. “The unknown factor. Conor McGregor, when he steps in there, his stand up game, I’m very damn impressed with it. It’s like, he don’t even look like he throw his shots hard, but he’s so slick with it, when he touches guys, even if he grazes them, it’s like, excuse my French, it’s like, ‘Damn, he f*cked him up.’ It’s like next thing you know they’re stretched out and wobbling around the ring. I’m like, Man, he better not graze Floyd with one of them shots.”

Striking is certainly McGregor’s strength, but his actual boxing remains in question. And we won’t know about that until he actually steps into the ring with Mayweather. UFC president Dana White has been saying the same things about “The Notorious” for weeks — talking about his power, Mayweather’s trouble with southpaws, etc. — but how much of it is promotion and how much do they really believe?

McGregor surely feels like he can beat Mayweather, though he’s a massive underdog courtesy of that gigantic experience disparity. And, if you believe Ellerbe, Mayweather will treat it like McGregor is a huge threat as well.

“One thing about Conor McGregor we do know is you gotta pay him very, very close attention, because when he touches people,” Ellerbe said, “they fall out.”

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