Unsightly scenes mar third leg of tour

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Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are on a four-night world tour to promote their fight
McGregor v Mayweather world tour
Final leg of promotional tour: Friday, 14 July Venue: Wembley Time: From about 19:00 BST Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Night three of Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather’s war-of-words world tour is done. On Thursday, it was New York. On Friday, they head to London.

It is the verbal battle before the light-middleweight fight in Las Vegas on 26 August. MMA writer Simon Head has all you need to know…

Some of the comments below may cause offence.

What happened in New York?

If Wednesday night’s event in Toronto was a huge success, Thursday in Brooklyn was the opposite, with questionable comments and unsightly scenes marring the third leg of the tour.

After two news conferences as the noticeably smaller man, Mayweather arrived wearing trainers with huge boosted soles to take him up to the Irishman’s height when they went face to face. Meanwhile McGregor’s attire, shirtless underneath a mink coat he described as “polar bear”, stood out.

Unlike in Toronto, there were few magic moments from UFC lightweight champion McGregor, 28, this time around.

Instead it was the former five-weight world boxing champion who called the shots, throwing bundles of cash into the air and over McGregor, who remarked that the dollar bills he was being showered with were “only ones”.

Mayweather looks on as money rains down on McGregor

The most notable moment of the event came when Mayweather, 40, instructed his team to “form voltron”, prompting his entourage to surround McGregor and get in the Dubliner’s face.

In the briefing afterwards McGregor made light of the incident, calling the American’s musclebound bodyguards “juiced-up fools” and said the incident was nothing more than “handbags”.

Who said what on the mic?

McGregor will be taking part in his first competitive boxing bout

“A lot of media seem to be saying I’m against black people,” McGregor said.

“That’s absolutely ridiculous. Do they not know I’m half-black? I’m half-black from the belly button down.”

His comments drew criticism on social media and later from Mayweather himself.

After the event McGregor tried to explain, telling reporters: “That doesn’t sit well with me. I’m a multicultural individual and I don’t have any ill feelings towards anyone. I don’t even see colour.

“I just wanted to say something and have a little fun with it. I wanted to play with it and address it in my own little way. It’s stupid and it’s ridiculous is basically what I was getting at.”

As for Mayweather, it was simply a case of rinse and repeat, as the boxing superstar regurgitated the same material we’d heard at the earlier events.

Who won the war of words? And who is ahead overall?

With McGregor saying he was caught off guard by the format [and having his mic cut off], the common consensus is McGregor edged the first meeting in LA, but McGregor came roaring back in style in Toronto.

If it is scored using the 10-point must system, Mayweather took round one 10-9 but McGregor dominated round two to score a 10-8.

Here in Brooklyn McGregor’s antics proved a major mis-step, while Mayweather’s intimidation tactics probably gave him the edge and another 10-9 on my card. But in terms of a war of words, neither man came close to delivering a knockout blow.

Given what’s happened in the three events so far, I’d suggest the scorecard is even, but the momentum is certainly with Mayweather as the tour heads to the final leg in London.

Mayweather retired from boxing in September 2015 after winning all 49 of his professional fights

And how many were watching? Who did they support?

A crowd of 13,165 were in attendance for the event, with the arena initially sounding like a pro-McGregor crowd. But as things developed it became clear Mayweather also had his fair share of support in the Barclays Center.

But overall the Brooklyn crowd seemed unimpressed throughout, with the event kicking off more than 90 minutes late and suffering from terrible acoustics. The warm-up acts were roundly booed, as were the executives and dignitaries who said their piece before the fighters took to the mic.

These events are ticketed to ensure crowd safety in and around the venues. But that hasn’t stopped tickets being exchanged on reseller sites for cash.

Tickets for the Barclays Center were available earlier in the day for up to $87 (£67) each, with many looking to make a quick buck on their freely-acquired seats.

It’s even worse for Friday’s event at the SSE Arena at Wembley, with the ‘free’ tickets up for sale for as much as £132 for the final leg of the tour.

McGregor makes his way onto the stage in New York

Three nights, three head-to-heads. They go again on Friday

Some may dismiss these events as little more than bluster and bombast, but they’re missing the point. There’s a method to this madness – they’re generating pay-per-view sales.

With the event set to be broadcast across the world on pay-per-view television, these events have been put on to help heighten the buzz before this unique cross-codes superfight. And, despite the loss of momentum in Brooklyn, I’d say they’re succeeding. For evidence of that you need look no further than the face of Leonard Ellerbe.

The CEO of Mayweather Promotions has been grinning like a Cheshire cat all the way through this world tour, knowing that ultimately it doesn’t matter who says what to who. The pair are going to compete in the ring and they’re all going to walk away from the event significantly richer than they did walking in.

Expect more fireworks.

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