Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor: Really, world? What's wrong with you?
OPINION: B.... Black b.... Fat b.... Twelve-year-old breakdancer b.... Juice head turkey. Juice head monkey. Form Voltron. Ho. P.... Punk. F..... F... F... F...
These were pretty much the verbal highlights from Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during last week's four-city, four-day promotional tour ahead of their highly anticipated boxing match in Las Vegas on August 26.
The ageing boxer and UFC star took turns standing over the top of each other, trading puerile insults like a badly-rehearsed episode of Jerry Springer.
Mayweather wore a hoodie and bedazzled flat-cap while McGregor was decked out in a dark blue suit with a white pinstripe made up of the words "F... you". Mayweather is reportedly worth US$400 million (NZ$546m) while McGregor sits at about US$35m (NZ$48m) and rising. Money, unfortunately, doesn't buy you style or class, or a vocabulary.
The trash talk reached its nadir when McGregor said this: "A lot of media are saying I'm racist against black people. That's absolutely f...... ridiculous. Do they not know I'm half-black? Yeeeeeah. I'm half-black from the belly button down."
Hilarious. Jokes about black men and penis size. How long did it take for him to think of that one?
"You punk! You f......! You h.!" he screamed.
Genius. Not even Oscar Wilde could have conjured such a line ... Let's call it a draw.
And, of course, the people loved it. About 11,000 came to the press conference in Los Angeles, about 16,000 in Toronto, 13,000 in New York and another 10,000 in London. The fight is expected to beat the pay-per-view record in the US of 4.6 million, which was set in 2015 when Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao in the "fight of the century".
"Times have changed," said Leonard Ellerbe, the chief executive of Mayweather Promotions.
"You've gotta get away from the way things were done before, the traditional this and that. Nobody wants to see that s... Ain't nobody want to see that. People like to see people talking trash. You call it whatever you want to – that's what people want to see."
Really, sports fans? Really, world? This is what it's come to? This is what people want to see?
I don't mind the trash talk. Give me the trash. Love the trash. Give me an overflowing, uncollected wheelie bin with hungry ibis picking away at it full of trash talk if you want. But make the trash half-clever.
And call me old-fashioned, but the "traditional this and that" used to mean something. I want the hype to match the spectacle, just a little. Otherwise it's just a whole bunch of trash talk, and for what? The sake of trash talk.
The actual fight itself has been written off by most of the best judges in both sports; a contest between the 40-year-old Mayweather dancing around the ring with McGregor failing to land a single punch, let alone the one that will apparently "knock him out inside four rounds, mark my words".
A week ago, this column lamented the lack of public comment from NSW and Queensland stars in promoting the deciding State of Origin match, as well as the code in general. Instead, we had Origin players saying how much they "like" and "respect" each other. Vomit.
Now all I want is Mayweather and McGregor to shut up. Or, in the words of McGregor, to "shut the f... up".
Mayweather might be an all-time boxing great but as a sporting figure worth admiring, or following, or even listening to, it was easier to warm to Ivan Drago. (Fun fact: Ivan had no more than nine lines of dialogue in Rocky IV. If only these blokes could say as much.)
"Money" Mayweather might dismiss the big, dark cloud of domestic violence that hangs over his head but others, thankfully, will not let it go.
In January, ESPN's Cari Champion asked him about the numerous domestic violence accusations levelled at him, including the 90 days he spent in jail in 2012 for assaulting Josie Harris, Mayweather's former long-term partner and mother to three of his four children.
One of those children once wrote in a police statement that he had seen his father repeatedly hit his mother.
Mayweather's response to Champion: "You know, that was in my past. And of course, with any situation, when someone talks about domestic violence with a fighter like myself, when they say Floyd was involved with domestic violence, restraining someone? Yes, I did that. I'm guilty of restraining.
"As far as stomp, kick and beat a woman, the world would see photos. For so many years, they tried to defeat me in so many different ways as far as negative things but I couldn't be defeated inside the ring so they tried to defeat me on the outside ... Did people want to see me fail? Absolutely. But I beat all odds."
Yeah, you did, Floyd. You beat all the odds. A true champion.
As for McGregor, he's clearly a great promoter and in the sport of UFC it needs the hype to make up for its rancidity.
Notwithstanding the skill and technique needed, especially on the ground, and the bravery required, the base contest of fighters brutalising each other while their opponents are on the ground, using elbows and forearms and the like, makes the stomach churn. I've seen cleaner fights outside Scruffy Murphy's on a Sunday morning.
So will I be watching May-Mac on August 26?
Hell yes ... but only if you're paying for it.