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Borges: Buy into McGregor-Mayweather clown show at your own peril – Boston Herald

It is unlikely, were he alive today, that Plato would be paying much attention to Conor McGregor, but he once wrote an apt description of what the young Irish conman has been putting on exhibit this week as he travels coast-to-coast and then some, trying to pry dollars from your pockets to watch what one can kindly call a mismatch, or more correctly call a ripoff.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say,” one of the wisest of Greek philosophers (and mathematicians, by the way) once wrote. “Fools because they have to say something.”

If you know anything about boxing or hucksterism, you know where Conor McGregor fits into that equation.

My dad was no Plato, but he knew some things about life. One of his favorite sayings was “an empty can makes the most noise.” Bill Belichick puts it differently but is saying pretty much the same when he cautions his employees to “ignore the noise.”

If you value your hard-earned cash, I’m giving you the same warning when it comes to putting down $100 or so to watch Floyd Mayweather Jr. box a guy whose suits are a size too small and whose ego is two sizes too large.

Conor McGregor is mixed martial arts’ biggest star. He is the cauliflowered face of the UFC, the first and only mixed martial artist to hold UFC championships simultaneously in two different weight classes. Good for him. If you enjoy a sport where it’s acceptable to quit when things get difficult, fine. Carmelo Anthony can relate.

In Los Angeles, Toronto, New York and soon London, McGregor has snorted and raved about what he is going to do to Mayweather, who is ending a two-year retirement at age 40 to fight him — not in UFC’s Octagon but inside a boxing ring. It should be noted that McGregor has never been inside a boxing ring nor has he ever boxed a minute in his life.

In the UFC, he’s known as a striker and a feared one. He supposedly carries knockout power, enhanced somewhat by the four-ounce gloves he won’t be wearing on Aug. 26, when he squares off with the best boxer of his era at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in 10-ounce mittens.

McGregor has fiendishly promised to knock Mayweather out “inside four rounds.” Each time he says it he chews his gum a little faster and curses a little louder. Nervous, my friend?

McGregor’s promise carries the weight of empty noise, which these days seems to be what grabs the most attention. All you have to do is look in the White House. This week it’s hard to tell if the bigger lie being sold to a gullible public is, “No one ’round here never spoke to no Russians” or “I’m going to (expletive) knock you out, Floyd.”

One of the most revealing utterances from McGregor came in LA, where he and Mayweather kicked off what has become an increasingly more profane and increasingly less profound series of televised hype sessions. On that first day, McGregor claimed, “somebody’s 0 has got to go.”

News bulletin: Somebody’s 0 went on June 28, 2008. That was the first of three McGregor losses inside the Octagon. That night he lost in 69 seconds. To Artemij Sitenkov, also known as who? Two years later, on Nov. 27, 2010, McGregor must have had another appointment because he lost to Joe Duffy in 38 seconds. But if you think that’s because he was a hungry young fighter only recently removed from the welfare rolls in Ireland, fast forward to March 5, 2016.

That’s the night UFC’s biggest draw lost to Nate Diaz in less than two rounds. Not wanting to see his biggest star erased like that, UFC head honcho Dana White staged an immediate rematch and this time, lo and behold, McGregor won a decision that left Diaz’ record at 19-11.

You think there is any boxer with a record of 19-11 who would beat Floyd Mayweather Jr.? Or even go the distance with him? If you do, go lie down, take a nap, then think again.

So when Conor prattles on about “somebody’s 0 has got to go” remember the only guy with a 0 is Mayweather, who will enter the ring 49-0 in the sport of boxing and with a reputation as being the best defensive fighter of his time.

As the press conferences have mounted, Mayweather’s rhetoric, which was originally relatively congenial by his standards, has grown coarser. The two have turned curse words into every form of verbiage imaginable and several not imaginable by anyone but maybe Quentin Tarantino. Perhaps if there was something really to say about this match that might have been tempered a bit?

Such overheated rhetoric will continue right up until Aug. 26. You can count on that. These guys will launch more bombs than Kim Jong-un. They’ll make about as much sense, too.

People will buy this because they love a freak show. They love to be conned. Then after they get conned, they love to complain about it.

That Mayweather chose to come out of retirement to face a guy who has never had a single professional fight is understandable. The IRS just gave him 22,238,255 reasons why, and then reminded him of seven million more. That’s the size of the lien they slapped on him for what they claim is unpaid 2011 and 2015 taxes.

McGregor accused Mayweather of “wearing a (expletive) track suit” at their first press conference, insisting he was dressing like a 12-year-old break dancer not a 40-year-old man. It may be the only accurate statement he’s made since this began.

Mayweather countered by informing McGregor he could wear whatever he wants because he doesn’t have “a boss” while McGregor does. That boss is White, a former Boston Harbor Hotel bellhop turned combat sport multi-millionaire. When the three of them are on a stage, Conor McGregor makes the most noise until they open their wallets. Then he gets very quiet.

The same will be true on Aug. 26, when the fighting starts. The truth is it’s not a fair fight because, as he and his avid supporters will soon learn, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Watch some of his sparring video and you can see that against young boxers who would be afraid to drive by Mayweather’s house.

Fortunately for McGregor, Mayweather is not a knockout puncher. He has fragile hands and a wary, slick approach to his discipline. But here’s the problem with that.

Unlike UFC, you can’t tap out in boxing. You can’t quit because someone keeps punching you in the face, or cuts you up, or beats you down. All you can do is take it until somebody else decides this empty tomato can has had enough.

When that happens it will be interesting to hear what McGregor has to say. Assuming his jaw still works.

Borges: Buy into McGregor-Mayweather clown show at your own peril – Boston Herald

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