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Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather ring girls countdown

The countdown has begun to what is being billed as the Fight of the Century, as Conor McGregor gets set to take on the undefeated Floyd Mayweather later tonight.

The money-spinning showdown is likely to break all records and surpass the $600million (£468million) generated by Mayweather’s 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao.

A audience packed with 20,000 ravenous fans is expected at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, USA, with private jets ferrying celebrities into Sin City as bets worth more than a million dollars are placed on the bout.

Mayweather, who has an incredible undefeated record of 49-0 to his name, has come out of retirement to fight the younger McGregor, a UFC fighter transitioning to the sport of boxing for the first time. 

  • And while the line-up in the ring has had people talking for months, it is the Corona ring girls – Tawny Jordan, Kyra Keli, Samantha Kumiko and Jessica Harbour – who very well could steal the limelight from the two men in gloves. 

     

    Conor McGregor has set the internet on fire after a very revealing weigh-in ahead of his clash with Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night

    The Irish UFC star accused the undefeated Mayweather of 'being in the worst shape of his life and scared' ahead of fight night

    The Irish UFC star accused the undefeated Mayweather of ‘being in the worst shape of his life and scared’ ahead of fight night

    Kyra Keli

    Tawny Jordan

    While the line-up in the ring has had people talking for months, it is the Corona ring girls – including Kyra Keli (left) and Tawny Jordan (right) – who very well could steal the limelight from the two men in gloves

    Jessica Harbour

    Samantha Kumiko

    Jessica Harbour (left) and Samantha Kumiko (right) will hold up round cards during the Las Vegas bout between Mcgregor and Mayweather

    Jessica Harbour (left) and Kyra Keli (shown right) pose in their Corona ring gear, which they will wear during the mega fight

    Jessica Harbour (left) and Kyra Keli (shown right) pose in their Corona ring gear, which they will wear during the mega fight

    Model Tawny Jordan (shown) broke the news that she would be taking on the role of ring girl at the fight on her Instagram page

    Model Tawny Jordan (shown) broke the news that she would be taking on the role of ring girl at the fight on her Instagram page

    The Irish fans cheer as Conor McGregor successfully makes weight ahead of the massive box-office boxing clash tonight

    The Irish fans cheer as Conor McGregor successfully makes weight ahead of the massive box-office boxing clash tonight

    After stripping down to his boxer briefs Mystic Mac left little to the imagination as he faced off with the undefeated boxing legend known as Money

    After stripping down to his boxer briefs Mystic Mac left little to the imagination as he faced off with the undefeated boxing legend known as Money

    A fan poses with the Money Belt, the title which will be awarded to the winner of the much-hyped contest between McGregor and Mayweather

    A fan poses with the Money Belt, the title which will be awarded to the winner of the much-hyped contest between McGregor and Mayweather

    Conor McGregor holds the Irish flag  during weigh ins, while also sporting Beats By Dre headphones with Ireland motifs

    Conor McGregor holds the Irish flag during weigh ins, while also sporting Beats By Dre headphones with Ireland motifs

    McGregor spectacularly defied Floyd Mayweather's prediction that he would fail to make the weight as they came to the scales before their mega-millions extravaganza - prompting loud cheers from the Irish crowd

    McGregor spectacularly defied Floyd Mayweather’s prediction that he would fail to make the weight as they came to the scales before their mega-millions extravaganza – prompting loud cheers from the Irish crowd

    ALL THE ODDS, TIPS AND BEST BETS AHEAD OF FIGHT 

    Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor’s bout has garnered such interest that it is set to smash all previous betting records.

    As the biggest market of all time, the punters are flocking to make a quick buck, with most opting for the underdog.

    McGregor’s odds have shortened dramatically, but where can the best value be found ahead of Saturday’s clash?

    Outright betting

    The most popular market, particularly for casual gamblers is simply, who they are backing to have their hand raised at the end.

    SkyBet have the best odds on Mayweather to bring it home (1/4) and also offer the best value for his opponent to shock the world (7/2).

    Pictured: Irish fans enjoy a big night ahead of the fight. Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor's bout has garnered such interest that it is set to smash all previous betting records

    Pictured: Irish fans enjoy a big night ahead of the fight. Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor’s bout has garnered such interest that it is set to smash all previous betting records

    One bettor staked £650,000 on a McGregor victory at 10/3 – which would return winnings of more than £2.8million. And Paddy Power estimate they would lose £10million if the ‘Notorious’ earns the belt. 

    Most popular method of winning

    Both men have predicted a KO of their opponent, with McGregor foreseeing his victory inside four rounds.

    His opponent simply promised a knockout so one of them, and plenty of gamblers will be wrong.

    Mayweather by KO/TKO (8/11, BetFred) and decision (11/4, Coral) come out on top value.

    Daily Mail’s tips for the fight (All Paddy Power)

    Many believe the Irishman to have a power advantage, citing his opponent’s age, brittle hands, and recent track record of going the distance.

    But Mayweather is coming up against vastly experienced boxers, not a man in his first professional bout, with that said, it may be worth getting on the 49-0 star to win by KO in the first three rounds (11/2)

    If the veteran doesn’t have the ability to inflict enough damage by the time 12 rounds are up, he is surely going to have outboxed McGregor so a decision win (11/4) could be well worth a dabble.

    The ‘Notorious’ signed a strict contract, forbidding him to land any MMA style strikes outlawed under the Queensbury Rules. And yet the aggressive Irishman could be disqualified in a number of other ways if he becomes frustrated, it might be a risk worth taking for punters (13/2).

    If the most-hyped contest of the year manages to live up to expectations with a dramatic climax, Mayweather could tire the 28-year-old down by the later rounds so a stoppage between rounds 10-12 (13/2) might be a solid option.

    Outlandish bets (William Hill)

    McGregor to be disqualified for throwing a kick (12/1)

    Both fighters to be knocked-out simultaneously (250/1)

    McGregor to not land a punch (50/1) 

    Last night the pair faced off for the final time until they meet in the ring, with both men making appearances at the official weigh-in.

    After stripping down to his boxer briefs for the weigh-in, ‘Mystic Mac’, as McGregor is known, left little to the imagination as he faced off with the undefeated boxing legend known as Money.

    Muscles were not the only thing bulging during the spectacular stare-down, with veins visibly popping in McGregor’s neck as he screamed in the face of his more composed opponent.

    Mayweather wore a special pair of underwear himself – an Irish-green pair branded with PaddyPower and the catchphrase ‘Always bet on black’.

    The outrageous display sparked a storm of shocked comments on social media, with some users saying they understood the Irishman’s willingness to walk around in his underwear.

    ‘McGregor was a little excited during this weigh in,’ said one Twitter user. ‘McGregor has got a banana in his pants loool how excited is he?!’ wrote another.

    ‘Now I get why McGregor left his pants off after the weigh-in #heproud’ was another fan’s reaction.

    McGregor spectacularly defied Floyd Mayweather’s prediction that he would fail to make the weight as they came to the scales before their mega-millions extravaganza.

    The Notorious weighed in a full pound under the 154lbs weight limit. Mayweather was significantly but expectedly lighter at 149 1/2 lbs.

    That put paid to the notion that his training may have been compromised by late, nightly visits to his strip club. McGregor returned to screaming at Mayweather come the stare down. 

    ‘He looks like dog s***,’ said McGregor of his opponent. ‘You know that. He looks blown out. Full of water. He’s not going to keep my pace. Trust me on that. That’s the worst shape I’ve ever seen him.’

    Floyd Mayweather attends a final fitting before the fight at the Philipp Plein Store in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the fight will take place tonight

    Floyd Mayweather attends a final fitting before the fight at the Philipp Plein Store in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the fight will take place tonight

    The outrageous display sparked a storm of shocked comments on social media, with some users saying they understood McGregor's willingness to walk around with no pants on

    The outrageous display sparked a storm of shocked comments on social media, with some users saying they understood McGregor’s willingness to walk around with no pants on

    Amir Khan’s estranged wife Faryal praises McGregor in a sly dig at her own fighter husband

    Amir Khan’s estranged wife has praised Conor McGregor for his devotion to his long-term partner in a sly dig at her own husband.

    Faryal Makhdoom Khan posted a tweet that included a quote from the mixed martial arts superstar explaining how he’d been with his girlfriend Dee Devlin for eight years when they used to live on unemployment benefits.

    Above the quote, Faryal wrote: ‘Love this. I really respect men who respect their women despite how famous they get.’

    It comes weeks after an astonishing public spat between Faryal and Khan when the boxer announced his marriage split on Twitter and both accused the other of cheating.

    Khan also accused his American wife of having an affair with heavyweight rival Anthony Joshua. 

    Faryal Makhdoom Khan posted a tweet that included a quote from the mixed martial arts superstar explaining how he'd been with his girlfriend Dee Devlin for eight years when they used to live on unemployment benefits

    Faryal Makhdoom Khan posted a tweet that included a quote from the mixed martial arts superstar explaining how he’d been with his girlfriend Dee Devlin for eight years when they used to live on unemployment benefits

    The two fighters posed for the assembled media following the weigh-in in front of a raucous crowd at the T-Mobile Arena

    The two fighters posed for the assembled media following the weigh-in in front of a raucous crowd at the T-Mobile Arena

    Even before removing his green track-pants UFC superstar Conor McGregor's appearance at the weigh-in was very revealing

    Even before removing his green track-pants UFC superstar Conor McGregor’s appearance at the weigh-in was very revealing

    Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor both weighed in under the 154lb super-welterweight limit for their fight on Saturday

    Mayweather, 40, provocatively wore green PaddyPower boxer shorts which bore the catchphrase 'always bet on black'

    Mayweather, 40, provocatively wore green PaddyPower boxer shorts which bore the catchphrase ‘always bet on black’

    Here, former world champion Johnny Nelson provides the ultimate guide to the money-spinning mega-fight

    Here, former world champion Johnny Nelson provides the ultimate guide to the money-spinning mega-fight

    ‘I’m going to breeze through him, trust me on that. I’m a professional, I make weight – its sacrifice, dedication, focus, but I make it. I’m ready.

    ‘I’m going to be a lot bigger than him tomorrow night, maybe closer to 170.’

    McGregor received a boisterous Irish welcome as he entered the T-Mobile Arena draped in his country’s flag and sporting glasses hinged with sun lenses. 

    Mayweather responded to his mixed reception by pointing to his white ‘The Best Ever’ baseball cap and T-shirt, smiling broadly and then warning fans of the Irishman: ‘This will be Conor McGregor’s last fight also.’

    Mayweather brushed off any potential advantage for McGregor over the size difference though after ending his two-year retirement.

    ‘Weight doesn’t win fights. Fighting wins fights,’ said the American. 

    A sizeable Irish contingent has travelled to Vegas to cheer the 29-year-old in action and he repeatedly saluted his supporters.

    ‘You can’t beat us, we’ve already taken over what we want,’ said McGregor. ‘Las Vegas is Ireland now.’

    RULES OF THE FIGHT: THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BOXING AND UFC 

    McGregor and Mayweather will fight under boxing rules, giving the 'Money Man' (left) a clear advantage

    McGregor and Mayweather will fight under boxing rules, giving the ‘Money Man’ (left) a clear advantage

    Floyd Mayweather fights Conor McGregor in the Irishman’s professional boxing debut at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.

    McGregor and Mayweather will fight under boxing rules, giving the ‘Money Man’ a clear advantage.

    That obviously means the Irishman will not be allowed to kick, elbow or use any of his usual take-down moves.

    Boxing etiquette requires the pair to touch gloves before the first and last round – but those gloves will be smaller than their normal size, weighing just eight-ounces instead of ten, to increase McGregor’s advantage. He normally fights with four-ounce gloves that are fingerless with very little padding.

    Other than that the normal rules apply: Three judges will decide the points each three-minute round. The winner of the round is given 10 points and the loser takes nine.

    However, a boxer loses a point if they are ‘floored’.

    The fight could, however, be ended swiftly with a knockout if the opponent can’t get up after 10 seconds of falling to the ground.

    Here are the significant differences between boxing and the Ultimate Fighting Championship: 

    LENGTH AND NUMBER OF ROUNDS

    A high-level boxing match is almost always scheduled for 12 three-minute rounds. When a boxer makes his professional debut, they are often scheduled for four three-minute rounds, which is usually gradually increased to six, eight, 10 and then finally 12. In women’s boxing, two-minute rounds are largely favoured. Boxing debutant McGregor will fight over 12.

    UFC rules dictate that each non-championship contest is to be scheduled for three five-minute rounds. A championship contest is for five five-minute rounds.

    In both sports, there is a rest period of one minute between rounds.

    Advertisements for the bout between boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor are displayed on the side of T-Mobile Arena  in Las Vegas, Nevada

    Advertisements for the bout between boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor are displayed on the side of T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

    THE NATURE OF THE FIGHT

    Boxers are officially only allowed to attack their opponents through punching, and even excessive clenching is discouraged and monitored by the referee. If a boxer is knocked down, his opponent is not allowed to resume attacking him until he has returned to his feet and has the referee’s permission to do so.

    In UFC, fighters can box, grapple, wrestle, kick-box, and continue to strike their opponent while they have been knocked down.

    SIZE AND SHAPE OF THE RING

    A boxing ring, within the rules of the British Boxing Board of Control, should have four ropes and be between 16-20 square feet.

    A UFC ‘octagon’ must be between a minimum of 20 square feet and a maximum of 32. It is also surrounded by a fence.

    CUTS MEN

    Boxers regularly provide their own cuts man, and one of their choosing. The UFC, however, provide one for each corner, and that same cuts man works the same corner for every fight of each event.

    Profiles of boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial arts icon Conor McGregor, who face each other in Las Vegas

    Profiles of boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial arts icon Conor McGregor, who face each other in Las Vegas

    SPONSORSHIP

    Unlike in boxing, UFC fighters are forbidden by their contracts to pursue their own sponsorship deals. They presently have an overall sponsorship in place with Reebok.

    WEIGH-INS

    In boxing, a fighter must weigh in at the scheduled time and if he or she is overweight, has an hour to return and achieve the correct weight. If they remain overweight after an hour they do not receive a further chance, though the fight may still proceed.

    In the UFC, on the day before a fight, a fighter has a window of four hours in which they can make weight at their own convenience.

    GLOVES

    A boxing glove covers the entire hand, and in fights between the flyweight and welterweight divisions, 8oz gloves are generally worn.

    In the UFC, a fighter’s fingers remain exposed, and the glove generally weighs between 4oz and 6oz. 

    McGregor, who headed to the scales draped in the Irish flag, received immense support from those inside the T-Mobile Arena

    McGregor, who headed to the scales draped in the Irish flag, received immense support from those inside the T-Mobile Arena

    McGregor took to the scales first and, despite reports he was struggling to make weight, came in under the 154lb limit

    McGregor took to the scales first and, despite reports he was struggling to make weight, came in under the 154lb limit

    The Irishman had to be held back by security staff as the 40-year-old Mayweather weighed in well under the 154lbs limit

    The Irishman had to be held back by security staff as the 40-year-old Mayweather weighed in well under the 154lbs limit

    McGregor screamed in the face of his undefeated opponent as they went face-to-face before their money-spinning bout

    McGregor screamed in the face of his undefeated opponent as they went face-to-face before their money-spinning bout

    The undefeated boxer stared and pointed at his Irish opponent as he tipped the scales well under the 154lb weight limit

    McGregor revealed that he would enter the ring on fight night close to 170lbs after rehydrating

    The undefeated boxer stared and pointed at his Irish opponent as he tipped the scales well under the 154lb weight limit

    McGregor, who hinted he will weigh around 170lbs on Saturday, promised to stand in the centre of the T-Mobile Arena ring

    McGregor, who hinted he will weigh around 170lbs on Saturday, promised to stand in the centre of the T-Mobile Arena ring

    Mayweather was not phased by the partisan crowd though – even daring to wear Paddy Power green underwear. 

    HOW TO WATCH THE BIG FIGHT 

    The event will be broadcast on Sky Sports Box Office at a cost of £19.95 in the UK or 24.95 euros for McGregor’s Republic of Ireland compatriots.

    Punters across the pond will have to fork out 89.99 US dollars for standard definition and 99.99 US dollars in HD.

    It is likely to start around 5am UK time (9pm in Vegas) – but it may even be 5.30am when the first bell sounds.

    He said: ‘The fans can’t fight for him. It comes down to the two competitiors.

    ‘In the 49 times I won out there, it was one on one.’

    The two were a stark contrast in their behaviour as they posed head-to-head for the cameras after the weigh-in.

    Mayweather was cool, calm and collected as he stared at McGregor, while the Irishman laughed, smiled and launched a verbal assault of trash talk.

    It was only when they broke away that Mayweather broke into a smile and laughed at the UFC lightweight champion’s remarks.

    But after an undefeated record as a former five-weight world champion, Mayweather stressed how he has been here and done it all before.

    ‘I’ve been here before. I know what it takes when it’s a fight of this magnitude,’ said Mayweather.

    ‘I’ve done a lot of this (chatting) he’s done a lot of this, but tomorrow it comes down to the fighters.’

    McGregor’s stylist reveals how much planning is going into his OUTFITS for his fight with Mayweather

    Conor McGregor is a risk taker. If he’s not dominating his opponent in the cage with his unorthodox approach to fighting, the UFC champion is killin’ it in the style game.

    The 29-year-old professional mixed martial artist has a flashy fashion sense that only a brave, confident man can pull off.

    In celebration of his highly-anticipated and unprecedented fight tomorrow night with undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather, FEMAIL chats with Conor’s stylist and David August CEO, David Heil.

    ‘Conor’s style is bold,’ said David. ‘He loves taking risks and pushing boundaries in both his sport and fashion.

    Fashion God: The fighter may have made his biggest fashion statement at the New York stop of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor World Press Tour

    Fashion God: The fighter may have made his biggest fashion statement at the New York stop of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor World Press Tour

    ‘Everything he does has style so we make sure to provide him with an impeccable wardrobe that is all about color, pattern, prints and most importantly, fit.’

    With Conor’s size fluctuating depending on his fight class, David needs to always take that into consideration.

    ‘Conor loves a full complete look, down to the details. Whenever we create a new look for a public appearance, he’s almost always in a 3-piece suit, with coordinating shirt, tie, pocket square, lapel pin and cufflinks to complete the style.’

    At this week’s press conference in Las Vegas, Conor wore a custom David August 3-piece dark hunter green and navy plaid suit fabricated in a Super 130s wool from Italy.

    The look is complete with a white dress shirt, a navy blue with green and silver stripe tie, coordinating pocket square and lapel pin.

    ‘As a famous personality, we use fashion as a way to engage his fans and show a different side to him outside of the cage/ring,’ shared David. 

    No style contest: At the tour's first of many press conferences, Floyd arrived in a star printed hooded track suit, while Conor wore a custom David August pinstripe suit

    No style contest: At the tour’s first of many press conferences, Floyd arrived in a star printed hooded track suit, while Conor wore a custom David August pinstripe suit

    The fighter may have made his biggest fashion statement at the New York stop of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor World Press Tour.

    ‘The New York stop was fun for all of us. Because there was intense heat and humidity in the city that day, Conor wanted to do something different. He called me while shopping that afternoon with the idea of wearing our floral pants with the Gucci mink coat with no shirt.

    ‘I actually didn’t want him to go shirtless, but when he has a vision in mind, it’s hard to steer him in a different direction. Once again, he looked great and completely owned the look.’

    At the tour’s first press conference, Floyd wore a star printed hooded track suit by sportswear brand The Money Team.

    Conor made it a point to mock the boxer for his boyish fashion choice, while he wore a supremely tailored custom David August pinstripe suit.

    But on closer inspection, the print wasn’t ordinary run-of-the-mill pinstripes: It was the words “F**k You” written over and over again. That’s one way to use fashion as a form of self-expression!

    ‘I think Conor recognizes the importance of dressing for the occasion so he’s always thinking about his image regardless if it’s for public appearances or not,’ said David.

    Conor wore custom David August pants and a Gucci jacket to the New York press conference

    David August is getting requests for similar pants from people all over the world

    Mixing prints: Since Conor sported these custom David August pants, David shares the label is getting requests for similar styles from people all over the world

    Having worked with him for several years, the stylist knows what he likes and makes all fabric selections and designs well in advance.

    ‘Ultimately when making final fabric choices I not only think of Conor but truly consider his amazing fans who support and love him.

    ‘When working with professional athletes the goal is to help them create their brand through fashion. I really try to create a signature look for each and every client that their fans will come to know and love.’

    While what the champion will be wearing on Saturday night is still undecided, David assures that Conor’s look in the ring will make his fans proud. He also shares that the fighter has a few wool 3-piece suit options to choose from for his arrival.

    As reported, his opponent Floyd Mayweather, 40, will wear a custom boxing robe and trunks designed by Phillip Plein.

    But according to David, there’s no contest. ‘I don’t think there’s even a doubt who will outshine here in winning style.’ 

    Getting his message across: On closer inspection, they weren't ordinary run-of-the-mill pinstripes: It was the words "F**k You" written over and over again.

    Getting his message across: On closer inspection, they weren’t ordinary run-of-the-mill pinstripes: It was the words “F**k You” written over and over again.

    The real Conor McGregor… A former plumber who cried in defeat and has gone from €188-a-week dole to £62m fight in four years

    The pawnbroker who made Conor McGregor cry is dredging up an old transaction. He wrestles with his memory but can’t quite get a choke hold on the figures.

    ‘They paid me €400,’ Artemij Sitenkov tells Sportsmail. ‘Or it might have been 500. It was a long time ago. At the time, I didn’t think anyone would care about it now, nine years on.’

    With that, the 34-year-old laughs down the phone from his home in Lithuania. He’s happy enough, this jack of all trades who manages gyms, trades antiques and runs a pawn shop.

    He also does mixed martial arts when he needs extra cash, balancing 16 defeats with 15 wins from Kazakhstan to Ireland, where he rocked up in June 2008 to a hall in Drimnagh, Dublin.

    It was McGregor’s third professional MMA fight and his first defeat, with the former plumber tapping out after 69 seconds.

    ‘He was crying after and was being comforted by his trainer,’ Sitenkov says. ‘I went home and didn’t think of him again. Then, a few years later, wow. UFC, fame, everything. This thing with Floyd Mayweather, wow.’

    McGregor in 2013

    The Irishman now

    McGregor’s appearance has changed a lot in the past four years, as his career has flourished in and out of the octagon

    Conor McGregor, pictured with girlfriend Dee Devlin, has come a long way in a short time, starting life as a plumber

    Conor McGregor, pictured with girlfriend Dee Devlin, has come a long way in a short time, starting life as a plumber

    It’s the anomaly that looks like a mismatch at best and a freak show at worst. But how has a non-boxer, who was drawing dole cheques in 2013, talked and grappled his way to a payday worth in excess of £60million?

    Not much of it makes sense. Except, that is, to those in Dublin who know McGregor best and who know about the self-help book, the gorilla video and the women’s skincare products. To them, their mad friend has had this date from the start.

    Phil Sutcliffe is grinning in his recollections. He runs the Crumlin Boxing Club, a mile from where McGregor grew up.

    It is not the grenade-ravaged hell of a recent ESPN profile but it does get tasty, and for McGregor that meant being hassled by a group of six lads one day in 1999, when he was 11.

    The tale goes that he did an Ali shuffle before throwing a left hook and he took a pasting in return. That soon led him to the boxing gym.

    ‘He had been playing football,’ says Sutcliffe. ‘He had his muddy boots on and walked straight over our clean floor to hit a bag. We told him to get out.

    ‘He was back a few days later in kit and that was him started.’

    Mayweather: I had a mole in McGregor’s training camp

    Floyd Mayweather claims he has been fed information about Conor McGregor’s preparations in the lead up to their fight.

    ‘Money’ says boxer Paulie Malignaggi is a ‘friend’ of his and visited Conor’s camp under his instruction. 

    Malignaggi had a short lived spell in the McGregor camp as a sparring partner.

    But he quit the role after a clip posted online seemingly showed McGregor knocking Malignaggi to the floor.

    Malignaggi insists he slipped over, which led to a bitter public dispute.

    In a new interview featuring Mayweather and Malignaggi, Money said: ‘Paulie has always been my friend.

    ‘My friend called me and said “Floyd, do you want me to go to camp?” I said absolutely.

    ‘We are going to talk about strategy, we’re going to talk about everything. Thank you [Paulie] for going over there like I asked.’

    Conor McGregor has words with former sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi after his arrival at Toshiba Plaza in Las Vegas, Nevada

    Conor McGregor has words with former sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi after his arrival at Toshiba Plaza in Las Vegas, Nevada

    Conor McGregor was an Irish Under 16 schoolboy boxing champion and he trained at Crumlin Boxing Club (pictured)

    Conor McGregor was an Irish Under 16 schoolboy boxing champion and he trained at Crumlin Boxing Club (pictured)

    'The Notorious' (pictured with girldfriend Dee Devlin) now owns a £2million property, just four years after picking up his last dole cheque

    ‘The Notorious’ (pictured with girldfriend Dee Devlin) now owns a £2million property, just four years after picking up his last dole cheque

    In the home of Mags, his mother, and his father Tony, a taxi driver for 26 years, is a trophy of a boxer with its left hand snapped off.

    The son peaked as Irish Under 16 schoolboy champion and it is interesting to consider what path his career might have taken if the family had not dragged McGregor screaming to the calmer suburb of Lucan when he was 16.

    He continued to blag lifts back to his club for a while, but, significantly, kick-boxing became a rival fascination and then there were also the conversations with Tom Egan at his new school.

    McGregor, pictured here aged 12, grew up in Dublin with parents Tony and Margaret

    McGregor, pictured here aged 12, grew up in Dublin with parents Tony and Margaret

    They had seen the Ultimate Fighter cable show and got hooked on a combat with fewer limits. Eventually it came at the expense of boxing.

    ‘Conor and me were training at Crumlin the same time — he was a very good boxer,’ says Jamie Kavanagh, a 20-1-1 pro. ‘We’re still friends and who knows what he might have gone on to in it.

    ‘He wasn’t as much into the technical side, but his eyes lit up in a fight.

    ‘He didn’t get in many street fights compared to some — I can only remember one when we were away with the club in Malaga. Some guys started and we didn’t lose, put it that way.

    ‘The thing with Conor, he has always had great focus. He really could have boxed to a top level but with the intensity this guy has, you wouldn’t have bet against him at any sport.’

    McGregor first walked into John Kavanagh’s Straight Blast Gym for MMA in 2006.

    It was a year when two other important things happened — he left school at 17 to be a plumber and Rhonda Byrne’s book, The Secret, came out, espousing the power of positive thinking.

    Upon reading it, McGregor entered Kavanagh’s gym determined to make an impression and famously clattered Owen Roddy, the top dog, in sparring.

    Then he was put in with Aisling Daly, a female star of UFC, and floored her with an excessively hard body shot. At that point, Kavanagh joined McGregor on the mat and battered him.

    ‘It is not the done thing to beat up on people in the gym and John was making a point,’ Daly says.

    McGregor trained alongside his work as an apprentice plumber, which saw him leave home at 5am each morning. He hated it and quit after 18 months, going on the dole for €188 a week, all eyes on MMA. But even then it was far from straightforward. 

    McGregor (pictured with Nate Diaz) cried after losing to Sitenkov, but he has since established himself as the star of UFC

    McGregor (pictured with Nate Diaz) cried after losing to Sitenkov, but he has since established himself as the star of UFC

    McGregor's relationship with his current coach John Kavanagh (pictured foreground, with sparring partner Artem Lobov) began way back in 2006

    McGregor’s relationship with his current coach John Kavanagh (pictured foreground, with sparring partner Artem Lobov) began way back in 2006

    Gradually, the wins mounted up until he became a two-weight world champion in the Cage Warriors branch of MMA. But while the rapidly-growing UFC is familiar to millions, Cage Warriors and McGregor were invisible.

    ‘Funny thing is, his personality then, when he had nothing, was the same as now,’ Daly says.

    ‘At the gym, I had a female changing room and every day he’d swagger out in a tiny towel, his hair smelling like my nice shampoo and wearing my moisturisers. He always had loads of charisma, and if you have charisma and can fight, you are on to something. Look at Ali.’

    By 2013, McGregor was still broke. He was a good fighter and talker but was stranded on a tiny platform.

    ‘No one doubted what he would do with the right break,’ Daly says.

    And then he got it — a call to appear on a UFC card in Stockholm. Before he flew, he stopped to collect his €188 dole cheque.

    Four years on, McGregor is a two-weight UFC world champion, has a speedboat called 188 and owns a £2m property with his long-time girlfriend. His 2016 earnings of £26m were ranked by Forbes alongside Gareth Bale’s.

    How? Because the UFC love bombast and violence in ways the rest of society often dislikes and no one does either quite like McGregor, the snarling face of a snarling brand. His gym mates tell tales of unseen humility — he calls a 13-year-old kick-boxer Nate Kelly ‘Nate the great’ and gives him pointers.

    But it is the face he presents to the public that has made this fight. It remains to be seen if it all ends in tears again, though the sense around Crumlin is that their man has already won.

    McGregor lost to MMA fighter Artemij Sitenkov (pictured auctioning the pants he wore when beating the Irish star), who was paid just €400 to fight him in 2008

    McGregor lost to MMA fighter Artemij Sitenkov (pictured auctioning the pants he wore when beating the Irish star), who was paid just €400 to fight him in 2008

    Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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