By: Sean Crose
For a sport that perpetually exists under a barrage of criticism, boxing certainly has its appeal. While it’s true UFC star Conor McGregor earned himself a fortune when he slipped on a pair of gloves to face Floyd Mayweather in 2017, a boxing match with Manny Pacquiao, while still insanely lucrative, simply wouldn’t have brought in as many eyeballs or dollars. No matter. According to McGregor, he was so focused on getting in the ring with Pacqiuao last winter that he ended up losing his rematch to Dustin Poirier in the octagon. Now the Irish star says things will be different when he meets Poirier for a third time this Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Talking to ESPNs Stephen A Smith, McGregor had this to say of his last fight: “I pitied the man (Porier)…I was looking past him. I had a Manny Pacquiao camp in place.” It proved to be a very bad move. After trashing McGregor with calf kicks, Poirier, who employs professional boxing trainer Dyah Davis while preparing for fights, finished his man off with this fists. McGregor let Smith know that such a scenario won’t unfold again. “No matter what,” he says, “in the most ruthless business of all, I am the most ruthless.”
It’s admittedly a bit hard for McGregor to be ruthless these days. Fame and fortune can do that to a person, especially a professional fighter, whose bad day at the office often consists of dealing with bodily damage. “It’s hard to go face-to-face and want to tear through a man,” he says, “and then hold your son and your daughter and give them a bottle and feed them.” It’s something Pacquiao could most certainly relate to, though the Filipino legend has never self-promoted a mean streak.
Ruthless or not, McGregor has a lot to prove when he enters the octagon at the T-Mobile arena on Saturday. Counting the Mayweather match, the guy has only won three of his last seven bouts. Not counting his foray into boxing, McGregor has only won three of his last six in the octagon. Respectable, sure, especially when one looks at the level of competition McGregor faces – but nowhere near the kind of data the guy could have boasted five short years ago. Again, there’s a lot on the line for McGregor this weekend in Vegas.
As for boxing, McGregor claims, it’s “not even on the radar at the minute.”
In this case, that’s a good thing.
*cover photo: Getty Images