LAS VEGAS (AP) — Forget the ring. The spectacle between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor is all about the hype.
Welcome to the Trash Talk Scorecard.
It'll play out through training camps and news conferences, on social networks and perhaps even reality TV. Their barbs will come fast and furious, with little if anything deemed below the belt. Expect one-liners about wealth and athletic skill as well as personal insults drawing on each person's past. And unlike in boxing where oddsmakers have the undefeated Mayweather as a big favorite against the UFC star, they're pretty evenly matched when it comes to smack talk.
So let's test that. Let's keep score from now through the fight.
This verbal joust will last three rounds. Round 1: From the day the fight was announced until the start of Mayweather and McGregor's press tour. Round 2: The press tour through the start of fight week. Round 3: Fight week leading to the boxing match on Aug. 26.
Just like boxing and MMA: 10 points to the winner of the round, 9 points to the loser — 8 if there's a barb worthy of being considered an emotional knockdown. Knockout? Unlikely, unless someone quits the fight because of something that's said.
We'll post running highlights of the most memorable moments each fighter delivers. Cleverness counts and no smart aleck surrogates — trash talk, like boxing and MMA, is a solo sport. See a moment we should include? Tweet us at @AP_Sports. Have thoughts on who's winning? Vote in our Twitter polls.
This spectacle has been two years in the making, and like any memorable event trying to transcend into a true pop culture moment, there's plenty of backstory to build on.
McGregor started publicly talking about Mayweather in 2015 when he told Esquire that he would easily beat the boxer in an actual fight.
"It would take me less than 30 seconds to wrap around him like a boa constrictor and strangle him," McGregor said.
Mayweather brushed off the early talk, saying the rising star was mainly mentioning him to generate publicity for his UFC fights.
"To be honest, I was like I don't even know who ... that is," Mayweather said in March about what he thought when McGregor started calling him out.
The pair danced around the idea of fighting through back and forth social posts, playing off the natural rivalry among MMA and boxing fans. And Mayweather hit McGregor in January about his wealth, saying on Instagram : "Before you ask for $25 million, be worth more than $25 million."
McGregor promised boxing journalists in a brief, fiery rant while attending a fight at Madison Square Garden in March that he would stop Mayweather if they ever squared off.
"Floyd doesn't know — not no one in this boxing game knows what's coming. Trust me on that," McGregor said. "When I step in there I'm gonna shock the whole ... world."
McGregor landed the first blow Wednesday, minutes before Mayweather officially announced the fight on Instagram and as anonymously sourced reports that a deal was done circulated on social networks.
"THE FIGHT IS ON," McGregor tweeted — with a side by side picture of himself and his opponent's father, Floyd Mayweather Sr.
Age is an early theme for McGregor, who is 28. Mayweather is 40 and last fought in September 2015.