Conor McGregor has caught the attention of boxing’s former pound for pound king and all-time cash cow, Floyd Mayweather Jr., but “Money” May’s recent references to the Irishman are rather controversial.
Mayweather has spoken on a number of occasions in the past about how he believes that racism is still prevalent within the sport of boxing. In an interview with FightHype back in November, Floyd talked about how he believed Gennady Golovkin wasn’t being pressured to step up in weight to fight Andre Ward because people in boxing “want their superstar to be Caucasian”.
This he stated was in complete contrast to his situation with Manny Pacquiao, in which he was put under major pressure to make a fight with the Filipino icon happen. He added the suggestion that the aforementioned Andre Ward was being forced up to light-heavyweight because “they’re trying to get him beat”.
In another interview with the same website conducted in late December, Mayweather addressed this sensitive issue once more. Again he used the cases of Gennady Golovkin, or Triple G, and Andre Ward to illustrate his point.
“You gotta really look at things like this, when Bernard Hopkins was a middleweight trying to fight Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, and Felix Trinidad, they [the media] said he was calling out smaller guys. When the guy Triple G does it, they don’t say shit. Once again, I’m not racist; I’m just saying racism still exists.”
“Do I think that they’re trying to get Andre Ward beat? Absolutely! Andre Ward, if you’re reading this article, if I was you, I wouldn’t move up to 175 pounds to fight the guy, Kovalo [Sergey Kovalev], if that’s his name, because I really don’t know his name. I know he’s a light heavyweight. Andre Ward is a 68-pounder and I think he should continue to dominate at 168. This is what I think should happen. You know, everybody keeps talking Triple G, so I just started taking notice probably last year. If this guy Triple G is so tough and so bad, you know, from what they say, then let him go up and fight Andre Ward.”
This time Mayweather also attacked the pound for pound rankings of one of boxing’s oldest publications The Ring.
“I can’t believe they [Ring Magazine] got Andre Ward ranked number 4 in the pound-for-pound list … without Andre Ward losing a fight, he has to be number 2. I mean, he wins his fights not in good fashion, but in great fashion, and they have him at number 4? They got some guy ranked number 9, I don’t really know his full name, so I don’t want to be disrespectful, but they got a Japanese guy ranked number 9[Shinsuke Yamanaka]. They got Andre Ward number 4, and this guy that’s ranked number 9, we don’t even know who he is. I truly believe that racism still exists in the sport of boxing“.
Later on in the conversation Floyd moved on to the topic of MMA. He brought up his old verbal sparring partner, Ronda Rousey, and questioned why it was that after such a short stint at the top she became so huge, while Muhammad Ali’s daughter, Laila, didn’t achieve half the notoriety despite similar dominance in the boxing ring.
It was at this point that he brought up Conor McGregor.
Though he claimed to know little about the Dubliner taking MMA by storm, he suggested that he had been made aware of McGregor’s brash antics. The fact, said Floyd, that McGregor had been receiving positive reactions for his motor-mouthed promotional efforts illustrated once again a certain bias within combat sports, the media, and society as a whole.
“I don’t really know the McGregor guy; never seen him fight. I heard his name actually from one of the runners that works for our company; a little kid named Ken Hopkins, he’s a runner and takes care of a lot of the daily business. Whatever we need, he takes care of. He’s a cool little kid, I like him, and he does MMA. He told me about the guy McGregor. They say he talk a lot of trash and people praise him for it, but when I did it, they say I’m cocky and arrogant. So biased! Like I said before, all I’m saying is this, I ain’t racist at all, but I’m telling you racism still exists”.
Perhaps young Ken Hopkins neglected to mention that McGregor is far from roundly adored by MMA fans.