Conor McGregor’s first words after losing to Floyd Mayweather left many slackjawed, but they weren’t quite what they seemed.
“I turned him into a Mexican tonight,” McGregor said, grinning. “He fought like a Mexican.”
On its face, it sounds like a racist insult, and that wouldn’t be shocking given McGregor’s history of racist comments. While promoting the fight, McGregor told Mayweather “dance for me, boy” and said at another event that he is “half-black from the belly button down.” Days before the fight, McGregor admitted he had “slips of the tongue” while hyping the bout. But the “Mexican” comment likely wasn’t meant to carry any negative racial connotation.
Mayweather has long been known as a defensive fighter, content to let his opponent open himself up before trying to land some counter punches. Against McGregor, though, Mayweather went on the offensive. After McGregor held the upper hand in the first few rounds and had Mayweather back on his heels, Floyd sensed McGregor had grown fatigued and began to be more aggressive, eventually landing a stiff blow that resulted in a TKO.
Mayweather’s style in the second half of the fight, then, could be considered one stereotypically associated with a Mexican fighter. Sure, Mexicans like Oscar De La Hoya have employed such a style with great success but a fighter doesn’t have to be from Mexico to box that way, as Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin does. So while McGregor’s comment wasn’t overtly racist and certainly didn’t have malicious intent, it’s still based on a stereotype.