On a rather grim and cloudy Wednesday in Toronto, the three-ring circus rolled into town. Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stopped in Canada’s largest city on the second leg of their four-stop international press tour promoting their August 26 megafight.
Topping Tuesday’s eventful festivities in Los Angeles was a tall task for the superstar duo, but they somehow managed the feat, lighting up the Budweiser Stage with an impressive addition to the growing spectacle.
The event got started an almost an hour late, but it certainly had its highlights. Here are the top moments:
1. Drake cameo
Because this was a major event in Toronto, Drake endeavored to make his presence known – for some reason. He didn’t perform, introduce either of the fighters, or say anything of substance, but he soaked in love from the crowd nonetheless.
His main points seemed to be that Toronto is good and the fight would be good. This information presumably wasn’t new to the people in attendance, but by and large it was well-received.
According to the pregame show, the appearance by Drake wasn’t planned in advance – he had just sort of asked to appear, which figures. The Canadiana value of the rapper brought was also undermined later when Mayweather referred to his Canadian gear as sporting the “Toronto flag”.
2. Beach ball KO
When Conor McGregor first appeared on stage, his goal – as is usually the case in these situations – was to strut around looking tough and confident. That gameplan was imperiled early on as he was confronted with by a patently absurd object thrown in from the crowd: a beach ball.
The Irishman handled the situation with aplomb, not letting the beachball disrupt his rhythm by blasting it a dozen rows back into the crowd with his left hand. It is genuinely difficult to look menacing when dealing with a beach ball, but somehow he managed it.
The Beach Ball had NO CHANCE. pic.twitter.com/PivA33Hi01
— Chase Sherman (@ChaseShermanUFC) July 12, 2017
3. Marathon staredown
The initial staredown at the first press conference got a lot of attention – and rightfully so – but the follow-up in Toronto was arguably better. It was a bizarre affair that changed tone multiple times.
Off the top you’ve got some generic pointing and staring, then Mayweather turns it into a very dance-heavy event for some reason. For a moment, McGregor stands there and doesn’t do much, seemingly confused about how to proceed. Eventually he decides the best course of action is some yelling with a pinch of crazy eyes and the pair are in each other’s faces for almost a full minute from there.
4. ‘[Expletive] the Mayweathers’
McGregor realized that he had the Toronto crowd entirely in his pocket as he entered, so he made use of the 15,000 in reinforcements as soon as he took the mic.
“When I count to three I want you to scream at the top of your lungs, “[Expletive the Mayweathers,” he shouted to the crowd.
The Canadian audience gleefully complied and for good measure he had them repeat the exercise. This wasn’t a particularly creative insult, but more than anything else that happened at the press conference it demonstrated just how much the fans were in his corner. McGregor has positioned himself as the people’s champion in the run up to this fight, and Canada was certainly buying in on Wednesday.
5. ‘Pay Your Taxes!’
Coming into this event, both the McGregor and Mayweather camps surely prepared a number of one-liners and put-downs, almost like comedians preparing for a roast. However, sometimes the wisdom of crowds beats preparation and hard work and perhaps the best line came from the fans at the Budweiser Stage.
As Mayweather took the microphone, he was faced with a loud and constant chant of “Pay your taxes!” from the Torontonian mob. No stranger to playing the villain, he didn’t let it shake him, but it was a pretty powerful, and seemingly unprompted, reaction to his appearance.
Crowd is chanting, Pay your taxes! Pay your taxes! Pay your taxes!
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) July 12, 2017
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