When Conor McGregor made comments that were found offensive to African-Americans during the Mayweather-McGregor media tour, Floyd Mayweather wasn’t about to just sweep it under the rug. Instead, the undefeated boxer promises to make his opponent pay for his racially insensitive comments.
In an interview with ESPN, Mayweather addressed McGregor’s comments and said that his Aug. 26 showdown will be “for all the blacks around the world.”
But it wasn’t McGregor’s urging of Mayweather to dance for him or calling him “boy” that got under the 40-year-old’s skin.
“I just didn’t like when he called us monkeys,” Mayweather said. The boxer was citing McGregor’s comments during an interview on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” with Guillermo Rodriguez. When Rodriguez asked McGregor if he could beat “Rocky III’s” Rocky Balboa, McGregor said “I can’t remember if that’s the one with the dancing monkeys or not,” in reference to Apollo Creed’s gym that housed all black fighters.
“I think that was totally disrespectful,” Mayweather said. “I didn’t like it. It didn’t push a button to make me jump out of my character and make me go crazy, but I didn’t like it.”
Mayweather said that it made him think about those who fought for civil rights and what they had to deal with.
“I just thought about all of our different leaders — Martin Luther King, Malcolm X — that went on the frontline for me and all of my loved ones,” he said. “This stuff still goes on. But I’m strong, smart, patient and come Aug. 26, I’m the same person — strong, smart, patient — and the same way he called us monkeys, I’m going to see if he says that Aug. 26.”
Although there was a lot of mudslinging on both sides during the media tour, it appears that this has become a sticking point for Mayweather heading into the fight. When asked if this fight carried the same racial dynamic as the 1982 heavyweight championship fight between Larry Holmes and Gerry Cooney, Mayweather agreed.
“[It’s] no different, no different. But this is for a cause,” he said. “This is for the American people. This is for all the blacks around the world.”
Podcast: Mayweather Promotions’ Leonard Ellerbe predicts a Floyd KO; Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel on hype
More from Yahoo Sports:
• DUI charges against TigerWoods dropped
• The MLB ballparks with the worst food safety ratings
• How 5 years, fate led to Mayweather-McGregor superfight
• Dan Wetzel: Who NFL should blame for Kaepernick rally