If you’ve been following all of the hype surrounding the upcoming match between legendary undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC star Connor McGregor, there’s no doubt you’ve heard a ton of trash-talk from both sides. Mayweather and McGregor are two of the most braggart personalities in all of professional sports, so fans were expecting the two to talk smack to each other leading up to the fight.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., center left, and Conor McGregor pose for photographers during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, in Las Vegas. The two are scheduled to fight in a boxing match Saturday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Yet what we got from them during their four-day press conference tour back in July, and the days that followed, didn’t feel like typical trash talk between two premiere competitors that simply wanted to one-up each other.  It didn’t even feel like two arch rivals who hate one another and just wants to get under each other’s skin.

What it felt like was two savvy businessmen desperately doing and saying anything they could to sell a fight that fans just haven’t quite bought into yet.

Even if that meant playing on the racial tension of our country.

It’s no secret that Floyd and Connor have had a hard time selling tickets to their so-called “mega-fight.”  According to reports, the fight, which will be held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, still hasn’t sold out, even with ticket prices being marked down as much as 35 percent from the original price.

Avid boxing fans simply aren’t excited to see the fight because they believe a mixed martial artist with an amateur background in boxing is no match for arguably the most skillful pro boxer ever in Mayweather. And although Mayweather is superior to Connor in the ring, his defensive style of boxing has never been exciting to watch.

But Mayweather and McGregor seem like two very intelligent men. I believe they could tell people weren’t feeling this fight from the beginning. That’s why they’ve been putting on cartwheels over the last two months to get people to buy in. The only problem is they’re both terrible actors.

Everything came off as phony and just a ploy to sell tickets. Even the racial tension between them feels manufactured.

Mayweather supposedly called McGregor out for making racial comments during one of the press conferences. McGregor had shouted “dance, boy” at Mayweather during a moment in the presser where Mayweather was dancing. Later, McGregor addressed criticism for the comment by jokingly claiming he can’t be racist because he’s half-Black. He also claimed he had “a little present for beautiful Black female fans.”

“This is an event where two fighters are competing against one another, but saying a lot of racist things like today toward Black women. I have two Black daughters, a Black mother, of course I’m a Black man,” Mayweather said. “He’s crossing the line, but I can’t really focus on that right now. I’m here to do a job, and my job is to go out there and entertain. But he’s losing a lot of fans by doing that.”

Nice try, Floyd. But I’m not sold. And honestly, I’m a little offended.

These are troubling times in our country. Racial tension is spilling all over the U.S.  People are losing their lives, practically every day, stemming from racism. So when you make racial claims, you don’t jus brush it off and handle your business as an entertainer. You don’t call someone out for being racist, then go on stage with them the next day and smile and laugh while cracking jokes on each other before a crowd of fans.

And that’s where they lose me. That’s where I begin to feel like I’m being hustled, as if they’re trying to play on my emotions, knowing we’re all emotionally invested in the racial climate of our country. Perhaps Floyd calling Connor out for racist remarks is supposed to inspire me to PPV the fight so I can watch Floyd enact justice by beating the White man.

Believe it or not, a lot of Black folks will be tuning into the fight with that very reason in mind. I guess if we can’t get justice and equality in the real world, we might as well settle for a night of it in the boxing ring. All it’ll cost us is $99.95.

 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor