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Mayweather McGregor Boxing

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Conor McGregor for photos during a news conference Thursday at Barclays Center.

Prepare the peanut and popcorn concessions.

Send in the clowns and strike up the band.

The circus is coming to town.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and MMA star Conor McGregor, both with more "baggage" than a soap opera, will have a 12-round exhibition Aug. 26 in Las Vegas that's getting ridiculous hype and setting sportsmanship back years.

Their recent whirlwind four-day press tour to Vegas, Toronto, New York and London once again proved that bigger, louder, flashier, outrageous, controversial and tastelessness is what now sells today in professional sports.

Mayweather and McGregor were tailor-made for an event that saw them exchange racial slurs and hurl homophobic insults at each other.

Is that supposed to sell tickets and more pay-per-view buys? Guess so. Personally, I wouldn't cross the street to watch these clowns.

The IRS still has Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the hook for $7.2 million in taxes from 2010, according to records that show a lien as unresolved.

That’s on top of the $22.2 million the undefeated boxer owes in 2015 after he earned $200 million to fight Manny Pacquiao.

McGregor encouraged the crowd to shout expletives at Mayweather and his family during the London presser before the Irishman launched into a nearly 10-minute profanity-laced tirade.

Mayweather also has a long history of domestic violence which his opponent loves to point out.

Two local fight legends have mixed feelings about the MayMac showdown and its silliness.

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"I think it's a circus. I don't plan to watch it," says former pro fighter Jack Callahan. "If it was free, I probably wouldn't watch it.

"I've never been a big Mayweather fan. I feel bad for pro boxing. It's really slipped. It's all about the money now."

Former trainer and long-time Hammond Boxing Club manager Dennis Hardesty, like many, thinks this matchup is a joke.

"I really don't care (who wins). It's such a big hoopla because people made it that way," Hardesty said. "I think the fight will last as long as Mayweather wants it to."

Sadly, fans often regard personality over talent when paying big bucks for such mega-events. And McGregor certainly extols that bully image.

"But he hasn't (faced) the quality of fighters Mayweather has," said Hardesty, who gives the man nicknamed "Money" a big edge in ring savvy, hand speed, pinpoint punching and defense.

As for ugly trash-talking, Hardesty can only shake his head.

"That stuff they can leave out of it," he said. "Muhammad Ali talked trash, but in a funny and comical way."

Back in the day when boxing was great and the fighters legendary, it was easy to be a fan.

But not now. Too many title belts. Too corrupt. Too watered down.

Get your peanuts and popcorn. The circus has arrived.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

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