NEW YORK — This night wasn’t about Conor McGregor, but he was all anyone could talk about when the evening was over anyway.
It all started with a request.
Michael Conlan, the Olympic silver medalist, was scheduled to make his pro debut on St. Patrick’s Day at the small room at Madison Square Garden. Who better to accompany him to the ring than the biggest star in another fighting style? Of course, if he has his druthers, he soon could be joining Conlan as a sweet science practitioner with a June meeting against Floyd Mayweather.
And that’s exactly what he’s pining for.
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“I’m the boxing guy, watch me take over boxing,” McGregor exclaimed. “No one in this boxing game knows what’s coming, trust me on that one. When I step in (the boxing ring), I’m going to shock the whole goddamn world. Trust me on that. Look me in the eyes — 28 years of age.
“Confident as a (expletive). Long, rangy. Dangerous with every hand. Trust me. I’m going to stop Floyd. You’re all going to eat your words. The whole word is going to eat their words. I am boxing.”
He may not be boxing yet, but he overshadowed the man who requested his presence. McGregor also accomplished what he was designed to bring.
Draped in the Irish flag and clad in a green peacoat, McGregor whipped the crowd of 5,102 into a frenzy.
And he whipped the media into a frenzy, too, with his words for Mayweather.
Just last week, Mayweather announced he was coming out of retirement with the sole purpose of fighting McGregor in June.
The biggest impediment to a fight, UFC boss Dana White, appeared on Conan and said he won’t block such a fight.
Before McGregor let loose on Mayweather and the boxing media at large, he deflected attention and kept the limelight squarely on Conlan after he was asked about Floyd in the ring.
“It’s about Conlan tonight” McGregor said. “I’m here to support him.”
During the fight, McGregor was supportive. He shouted words of encouragement to Conlan: “Jab to the body, right hand to the head.”
When Conlan finally closed the show in Round 3, McGregor celebrated by throwing the miniature flag.
The Notorious One possesses magnetism by the barrel. All eyes are always squarely on him.
Soon, McGregor could be trotting to a boxing ring for his very own fight — one millions would pay money to see.