CONOR MCGREGOR has been driven on through the final stages of the training camp for his August 26 fight with Floyd Mayweather by the increasing ridicule he is receiving.
The 29-year-old fights for the first time as a professional boxer at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena against the undefeated Mayweather, one of the sport’s all-time greats.
McGregor built his reputation as one of the leading figures in the UFC, but few within the boxing community give him any chance of even testing an opponent who is 40 and has been inactive for almost two years.
Most recently America’s Terence Crawford, among the world’s finest fighters, and David Haye have released videos on social media mocking the warm-up technique with which McGregor demonstrates unusually loose and flexible arms.
McGregor manoeuvred his way into such a lucrative fight partly through his clever use of social media, but after insisting he found the videos “light-hearted”, he became defensive and revealed how those doubting him have spurred him on.
“It’s certainly motivating,” the Irishman said. “The disrespect of my skill-set: I look at people and their minds are closed. ‘It’s a set way and there’s no other way’.
“If that was the case we’d never have reached across the waters and searched for other land, and never have gone into space.
“When I hear their disrespect, I use it as motivation and I look forward to going in and educating them. I get it. I’m coming in (to the sport), I understand where it’s at, I’m just looking forward to proving what I’m saying and earning my respect in this game also.
“I’ve seen some videos, but it’s light-hearted, I don’t take it personally. If anything I see stiffness in every single one of them.
“With that skill-set, it’s how you can change a jab to a hook in the blink of an eye, or a jab to an uppercut. It’s the same thing as the hip-flexors for a kick. If I’m tight in the hips and can’t free my legs, I can free my shoulders like I showed…
“These are just age-old training methods. That shoulder method you saw was made very popular by the great Rickson Gracie, one of the pioneers of mixed-martial arts.
“It’s a shoulder-loosening exercise: you’ve got to do it correct though. David Haye is a man who’s pulled out of contests over a sore baby toe so he must be careful with the way he hits the pads (Haye complained about a broken toe after his 2011 defeat by Wladimir Klitschko). We will educate as we go forward.”
McGregor also again dismissed any notion that there is a racial element to next weekend’s fight; the August 26 promotional tour had concluded with Mayweather accusing him of racism on stage at Wembley Arena.
“This is athlete versus athlete,” he said. “I was upset that Floyd tried to bring that in, he and his people truly know that it’s not from me.
“I’m not saying that there aren’t people on both sides that have this mindset where it’s black versus white, but it’s certainly something I do not condone. This is athlete versus athlete, two prime physical condition athletes taking part in an amazing event.
“I’m disappointed to hear the way it’s sometimes been portrayed, but it’s just the nature of the game with the way things are going on in the world at the moment. All I can do is stay focused and look to put on a great performance for the fans who are supporting this event as a whole.”
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