Our poor social media team. They’d only just recovered from having record amounts of snake emojis hurled at them when, all of a sudden, another Floyd Mayweather incident comes along to throw a spanner in the works.
Last August in the buildup to #MayMac, Paddy sided with the favourite as Mayweather wore our infamous Lucky Pants for the weigh-in. They seemed to do the trick too, though judging from the lack of panting between rounds, he didn’t need much help from us.
Then, over the last couple of weeks, we couldn’t help but notice that Mr McGregor seemed to be aiming more abuse than usual at Floyd on social media.
Shin bone to the cheek bone. The rule set kept you out the funeral home. pic.twitter.com/chJ5ieUQvQ
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
In the interests of setting the record straight we asked our pals in the Mayweather camp if there was any chance of him hitting the canvas again again with McGregor.
“Why don’t you come out to Vegas and find out,” they said.
So, quicker than Piers Morgan alienating the few remaining Arsenal fans who didn’t already hate him, we were on a flight to Sin City.
Turns out Mayweather was rather interested in a bit of Grade A trolling in the direction of McGregor, as befits a man who’s never lost a fight and with an ego justifiably the size of Nevada.
Paddy Power’s head of major brand activations, Paul Mallon, reveals: “We hatched a plan where Floyd would release a cryptic video showing him throwing some shapes in the Octagon, filmed in a Vegas gym. He showed up with his entourage and a couple of MMA buddies – I didn’t know they made humans that big – and was chomping at the bit for a bit of trolling.”
Except there was a bit of a twist.
“We planned it in two parts: the first video showing Floyd ‘peacocking’ around the Octagon the second video revealing that he was quite happy with the money he’s made from boxing thank you very much, and had no intention of stepping in the Octagon.”
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) January 30, 2018
But Floyd quite liked the way the canvas felt on his bare feet and took a bit of a shine to the MMA set-up. Basically, he refused to rule out anything for the future.
Come at the king, you best not miss… pic.twitter.com/uHx4SJngHx
— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) February 1, 2018
Quickly, the US media hype-machine went into overdrive, with ESPN stating that Mayweather “is teasing the idea of accepting a mixed martial arts fight.” Forbes, meanwhile, said: “His name still rings with search engines and grabs the eyes and ears of haters and lovers of the pay-per-view king. As long as that’s the case, he’ll be the hottest ticket in the fight sports world.”
So will Floyd be stepping into an octagon any time soon?
“Hey, we were not going to argue with TBE, a man who’s 50-0,” says Mallon. “And if he wants to put that record to the test, like bringing a knife to a gun fight… well, we’re not going to argue with that either.”