LAS VEGAS - Undefeated boxing champ Floyd Mayweather agreed to a crossover fight with mixed martial arts champions Conor McGregor because his fans wanted it, he says.
Mayweather, 43, who retired in 2015 with an unbeaten record of 49-0, and UFC lightweight champion McGregor will clash in a 12-round fight in Las Vegas on August 26 after teasing the event for nearly a year.
“McGregor is a tough competitor," Mayweather said. “People all around the world demanded this fight so I had to give them what they wanted to see.
“They asked for this fight. I was in retirement, but they wanted me back and I’m back.”
McGregor, meanwhile, has never boxed as either a professional or amateur.
But his sparring partner Artem Lobov says the Irishman will donner Mayweather.
Lobov says: “Just look at all the stats - Floyd hasn’t faced anyone significant for a few years now.
“When he fought Manny Pacquaio, it was five years after Manny’s prime, he was on the way out basically. Conor is bigger, stronger, younger, and has a longer reach.”
Lobov says McGregor’s broader fighting skill set would give him a big advantage over Mayweather, who is renowned as a brilliant defensive boxer.
He adds: “If you look at Mayweather’s fights, he often likes to get into the clinch, but what is a boxer in a clinch against a wrestler, an MMA fighter? Boxers are absolute novices in the clinch.”