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Mayweather on putting legacy on the line: ‘It’s worth it’

With his superfight against Conor McGregor a little over a week away, Floyd Mayweather struck a reflective tone on Thursday as he discussed the risk of coming out of retirement for a massive payday.

Mayweather, who has not fought in nearly two years, needs a win next week to surpass Rocky Marciano’s record and reach 50-0 for his career, while McGregor, who is making his professional boxing debut, is 21-3 in mixed martial arts.

“When a fighter has lost before, if he loses again they say ‘oh, it’s nothing, he’s lost before,'” Mayweather told a conference call. “But when a fighter has been dominating for 20-some years and never lost, everything is on the line.

“My legacy. My boxing record. Everything is on the line.”

The fight, which the two combatants promoted with a four-city international media tour stretching across three countries, has garnered plenty of interest despite scepticism about how competitive it will be.

Mayweather, a master defensive technician and tactician, is heavily favored to win the Aug. 26 fight in Las Vegas but the 40-year-old has said that, on paper, everything leans toward the 29-year-old Irishman, who is taller and has a longer reach.

Mayweather acknowledged the physical demands of training for a fight had become much harder on his body than when in his prime, but said he did not let negative thoughts enter his mind.

“I try not to think about losing or taking the ‘L.’ That’s not really my focus. Every day I tell myself I am a winner. I was born to be a winner at life. Not just in the ring but I was born to be a winner,” said Mayweather.

“It’s all about taking risk. I wouldn’t be where I’m at if I didn’t take risks so I don’t mind putting a 49-0 record on the line, putting everything on the line for this fight. I feel like it’s worth it.”

Mayweather may be far from his prime but feels his sheer experience in the ring will carry him through what he says will be his last fight, one that is expected to be the most lucrative event in the history of combat sport.

“I don’t think that I’m the same Floyd Mayweather that I was 21 years ago. Of course not,” he said.

“I don’t think that I’m the same Floyd Mayweather that I was 10 years ago. I’m, not even the same Floyd Mayweather that I was I was five or two years ago.

“But I still have a high IQ in that ring. And experience wise, it leans toward me, period, because I have been in the ring at such a high level for so long.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom)

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Mayweather vows to finish McGregor bout early

LAS VEGAS- Floyd Mayweather has said he has done his homework on mixed martial artist Conor McGregor and promised their multi-million dollar fight in Las Vegas on Aug. 26 will not go the distance.

Both fighters have now tipped a knockout finish to the hotly anticipated bout between arguably one of the greatest boxers of all time and the explosive UFC champion.

“Expect excitement. He’s gonna talk trash, I’m gonna talk trash, there’s gonna be a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Mayweather told reporters at a media conference at his gym in Las Vegas.

Casually dressed in a black T-shirt and shorts, the bluster and profanity of the recent four-city promotional tour undertaken with McGregor was replaced by a more sober analysis.

“It’s about doing your homework. It’s not really watching fight tapes, it’s about knowing the person you’re facing across the ring from you. You want to know what they like to eat, what they’re doing when they’re not in camp,” said the undefeated 40-year-old.

“That’s called really doing your due diligence, doing your homework on your opponent.”

Mayweather brushed off suggestions that the left-handed McGregor might cause him problems.

“Last time I checked I was undefeated, whether it was orthodox or southpaw. McGregor, he’s gonna come out and keep switching (stances)… but when you keep switching all you’re doing is burning energy,” he told reporters.

The brash 29-year-old Irishman, who has never boxed professionally, became the first UFC fighter to hold two belts simultaneously when he added the lightweight belt to the featherweight title he already held last November.

Having scored two knockouts to win his belts, McGregor has confidently predicted he will floor Mayweather within four rounds to hand the American his first defeat in what will be his 50th professional bout.

“He’s looking forward to getting out there and ending the fight early. I’m looking forward to going out there and ending the fight early. It won’t go the distance,” said Mayweather, the winner of a slew of titles in various weight classes.

“He’s confident. They’re always confident. But it’s different when you get in there with Floyd Mayweather.”

WBA light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly will defend his title against Sweden’s Badou Jack, who is promoted by Mayweather, on the undercard of the Las Vegas bout, event organizers announced on Thursday.

This fight will be Briton Cleverly’s first title defense since beating German Juergen Braehmer to win the belt last October.

“This is a fight I have wanted ever since Badou Jack moved to light heavyweight and I’m delighted to fight in Vegas on an event like this,” Cleverly said.

The other fight on the undercard sees Gervonta “Tank” Davis put his IBF junior lightweight world title on the line against the undefeated Francisco Fonseca.

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ian Ransom)