Despite months and months of rumored build-up, it seems like even Conor McGregor’s team wasn’t prepared for a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather to actually take place.
According to ESPN’s Wright Thompson, when McGregor’s trainer learned a fight would indeed happen, his team had to scramble to put together a boxing ring where McGregor could train.
According to Thompson, one of McGregor’s coaches, John Kavanagh, owner of an MMA gym that McGregor began training in when he was young, scrambled to put together a ring.
The result was a haphazard gym in an abandoned car dealership in a strip mall:
“When [Kavanagh] got a text message from Conor saying the fight was a go – it arrived at 6:10 on a Wednesday night, June 14 – he realized he didn’t have a place for a boxer to train. There were only four days to create one. He called the owner of the strip mall that houses his gym and asked about borrowing an abandoned car dealership down at the end. He got the keys and began cleaning. They hung a sheet between the showroom and the repair bays and set up the gym in the back. John got racks built for the bags. He traded favors to get an electrician to turn on the power. A plumber got the water running and installed a shower. He found a competition boxing ring out of England and had it brought to Ireland on a ferry.”
Additionally, Kavanagh commissioned a local art collective to paint a mural of McGregor punching Mayweather in the face. McGregor, according to the trainer, is a tough person to master mentally, and Kavanagh believed having McGregor see the mural every day would improve his approach and mentality for the fight.
Here’s a picture of the mural:
Conor McGregor is inner-city Dublin personified.
— ESPN (@espn) August 7, 2017
The ring apparently met McGregor’s needs until he and his team moved their training to the US to prepare for the August 26 fight in Las Vegas. However, it doesn’t necessarily shed the fears that McGregor is way in over his head.
Kavanagh and his team have never coached a boxing match before, and, according to Thompson, didn’t hire more experienced coaches out of fear of throwing off McGregor’s mindset. Thompson wrote: “That’s one of the reasons Kavanagh didn’t bring in coaches with more boxing experience. Too much new stuff, by someone who didn’t approach Conor’s psyche like a squirrel, would be a disaster.”
However, the hope for McGregor’s chances in the ring are pinned to one thing – his desire to push the limits. Kavanagh told Thompson that when the deal was done, McGregor did not care about the potential $100 million payday, but about taking on a big challenge and proving people wrong.
The odds are still stacked against McGregor, but that is apparently how he likes it.