Scoring the Mayweather vs. McGregor news conferences

The best of Mayweather-McGregor world tour (1:37)

Four cities and three countries over four days. Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor traded verbal jabs from one city to the next. (1:37)

The fight is still more than one month away, but the spectacle of Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor is in full bloom this week.

The two superstars are currently in the midst of a four-stop, four-day promotional tour -- which will culminate Friday inside London's Wembley Arena.

Until now, every jab and insult between the two has been through social media. This man-to-man tour is the "fight before the fight" in a sense, and some believe it will prove to be more compelling than what happens in the ring.

ESPN boxing writer Dan Rafael and his MMA counterpart Brett Okamoto are here to recap every stop of this Mayweather-McGregor tour and provide their respective scorecards of who wins the verbal warfare.

Stop No. 1: July 11, Staples Center, Los Angeles

Rafael: There was good action throughout the news conference opener with both guys landing their share of hard shots, but Mayweather, coming back from a nearly two-year retirement, was in fine form, like he has not missed a day on the promotional trail.

McGregor got off to a good start with his mocking of Mayweather's sweat suit, but Floyd is often a slow starter as he assesses what his opponent has to offer. After McGregor landed a nice shot by mocking Mayweather's recently disclosed tax issues, Mayweather -- always a brilliant counterpuncher -- landed a stiff shot on McGregor.

"He look good for a seven-figure fighter; he look good for an eight-figure fighter, but I'm a nine-figure fighter," said Mayweather, bragging about his much bigger earning power than McGregor.

McGregor predicted a fourth-round knockout, and Mayweather countered, doing something he doesn't do too often -- predicted a knockout of his own.

"I am guaranteeing you this. You are going out on your face or on your back," Mayweather said. "So which way do you want to go?"

Close opening round, but Mayweather edges it with defense and counterpunching against a wilder McGregor.

Score: 10-9 Mayweather

Okamoto: McGregor lands an early combination with a comedic knock on Mayweather's "track suit," and a declaration that the pinstripes on his own (ahem, custom) suit are stitched expletives (which actually turns out to be true).

Mayweather counters with insults of McGregor's pay and a fair assessment that even at age 40, he probably has more than enough to school McGregor in a boxing ring.

Mayweather's decision to stitch the number 48 on his hat -- an apparent homage to his 2015 record-breaking money fight with Manny Pacquiao -- was confusing and downright strange. Why remind people of a fight that took five years to make and is universally seen as a complete dud? He also referenced the number 21, saying it's how long he has been "kicking ass." Why not reference the number 50? As in, 50-0?

Solid early action from both, but McGregor produced the viral moment of the day (the suit), dropped better sound bytes and kept up his shtick of mixing up Mayweather and his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr. He wins the round.

Score: 10-9 McGregor

Stop No. 2: July 12, Budweiser Stage, Toronto

Rafael: As great as Mayweather is, even he loses rounds from time to time, and Wednesday was that day, as McGregor, the big crowd favorite, got off plenty of good lines that had the fans in a frenzy and Mayweather a bit on his heels. Conor knew he had the crowd and milked it, imploring them, "At the count of three, I want everyone in this arena to scream f--- the Mayweathers!" They complied, giving McGregor a big early lead. McGregor, dressed in a suit (no curse words), then attacked Floyd's boxing style ("He's a runner!) and his attire yet again, drawing laughs when he told him he looked like "a little 12-year-old break dancer. Dress your age!" Then he got off a pretty rude line, telling Floyd he was not able to read (harkening back to rumors from several years ago that Mayweather was illiterate). That could have drawn a referee warning for a low blow.

When it was Floyd's turn on the mic, he couldn't deliver. When he tried to get the crowd to follow his chant of "hard work" with a shout back of "dedication," all he got was booing. Ouch. And when Floyd went on about how much he has earned and that his name is "Money," McGregor got off the line of the day. "You owe money," he said, alluding to Mayweather's IRS issues.

Floyd mounted a small comeback by challenging Conor to bet his purse against his if he was so confident. Conor agreed, but nothing is likely to come of that. Floyd later got off another solid comeback when he brought up McGregor's claim that he is a runner. "Only place I run to is the mother f---ing bank," Floyd shouted. And when Floyd grabbed an Irish flag and draped it over his shoulders, McGregor responded with a big counterpunch, grabbing Floyd's money bag. It was a great comeback that sealed a comical round for McGregor.

Score: 10-9 McGregor

Total: 19-19 headed to New York

Okamoto: Here's where we see the counterpunching of Mayweather.

During the first stop in Los Angeles, McGregor backed Mayweather into saying he'd do things that he really wouldn't. Namely: face him wearing four-ounce gloves, in a cage instead of a ring.

On Wednesday, Mayweather flipped that script by challenging McGregor to bet his entire purse in their boxing match. McGregor didn't miss a beat and agreed immediately, but I think we all know there is no chance of that actually happening.

So, after being on the wrong end of making blatantly false statements the day before, Mayweather evened it up in that regard.

McGregor had his share of hits, including an attack on one "weaselly" Showtime executive, whom he blames for silencing his mic in Los Angeles, and reminding everyone of his 13-second conquest of Jose Aldo -- but it was Mayweather who stepped up in hostile territory and landed the harder shots.

Score: 10-9 Mayweather

Total: 19-19 headed to New York

Stop No. 3: July 13, Barclays Center, Brooklyn

Okamoto: Let's be clear. This stop was horrific on all accounts. Arguably the worst promotional event I have ever seen.

Cheap. Lazy. Trash.

But we've still got to judge a winner for this round, so all you can ask yourself is which of the two performed less terrible? And the answer has to be Mayweather.

In Toronto, I liked how Mayweather embraced the role of a heel. Threw the Irish flag on in front of a very pro-McGregor crowd. I thought the respects he paid to Dana White were a perfect way to illustrate the point he was trying to make: McGregor has a "boss" and he does not. We've seen other McGregor opponents shrink in similar settings, but Mayweather seemed to genuinely enjoy it.

His problem in Brooklyn was that he basically repeated the exact same speech. This is 2017, Floyd. People have internet. Everyone saw what happened in Toronto, for crying out loud.

And when the same speech fell on its face, Mayweather's answer was dropping $1 bills from the ceiling and skipping down the red carpet, awkwardly yelling "yeah" into the microphone.

As bad as all of that sounds, McGregor was worse. And for the first time in his career, he was utterly tone-deaf to what fans appreciate and find funny.

In the past few days, some have questioned whether McGregor telling Mayweather, "Dance for me, boy," is a form of racism. Personally, I didn't think so, as it's actually a line McGregor has used with other opponents. On Thursday, he chose to meet those questions head on, in a tasteless, vulgar way that -- if anything -- will only make people question the issue more.

Usually, the best thing about McGregor's talk is that it has some truth in it. He completely abandoned that Thursday, in front of a crowd that wanted to eat up anything he said anyway. Surprising.

Score: 10-9 Mayweather

Total: 29-28 Mayweather headed to London

Rafael: I traveled all the way to New York for THAT?

The Los Angeles stop was highly entertaining. The Toronto stop was also solidly amusing. Mayweather and McGregor both showed originality in their words that made their promotional confrontations almost like an old-fashioned rap battle. But whatever that was in the Barclays Center on Thursday night was a massive waste of time -- unless you're all about watching them walk around the stage for a half hour or so cursing at each other and spewing way more profanity than necessary, and doing so about two hours later than originally scheduled.

This news conference was about who was less offensive and less boorish.

This was the third day in a row Floyd (who entered draped in an Irish flag) and Conor (shirtless and in a faux white mink coat -- points for the fashion statement) had faced each other and they were essentially out of fresh material, which made for a rambling act from both.

Yeah, McGregor got on Mayweather's case again about his IRS issues, told him to perform a certain sexual act and also addressed the perception by some that his telling Mayweather to "dance for me, boy" the previous night was supposedly racist.

Points to McGregor for addressing it head on and denying it. but then he went into the gutter: "Do they not know I'm half-black? Yeah. I'm half-black from the belly button down."

Mayweather's game was also weak. He called McGregor a b---- over and over. Boring. He again insulted McGregor as a quitter for tapping out in MMA losses and said he'd never quit. Then he began rambling about his money again and began tossing wads of real cash all over the stage, some of which floated into the audience.

McGregor, who had picked up one of the bills, was brilliant in his comeback: "They're all f---in' ones!"

All in all it was loud, crass, racist, misogynistic, profane and a poor imitation of the previous two stops. At this point, the tour had jumped the shark, but I'll give the less terrible edge to Mayweather.

Score: 10-9 Mayweather

Total: 29-28 Mayweather headed to London

Stop No. 4: July 14, SSE Arena Wembley, London

Okamoto: One day after he completely bombed in Brooklyn, McGregor bounced back with his best performance of the tour.

It happened to be his 29th birthday, which is just fantastic timing. He bragged about changing the game at a young age (and in a very short amount of time), but also showed humility. "I'm in shock every day," he said. His point was less, "Look how amazing I am," and more, "You can change your life if you put your mind to it."

McGregor is at his promotional best when he's not trying too much, and that was the case Friday. He spoke with sincerity but still fit in great one-liners on Floyd Mayweather's age and his decision to wear lifted shoes during the tour to appear taller than he is.

He blamed the impending destruction of Mayweather's legacy on his manager Leonard Ellerbe and thoroughly roasted Showtime's Stephen Espinoza again -- who did one of the worst things you can do at a combat sports news conference: wear a look that lets everyone know the insults are getting to you.

McGregor also brought it back to the fight at the end (there actually is one at the end of all this!), saying, "The bulls--- is now over. Six weeks, I sleep this fool."

Mayweather, on the other hand, was boring, overly dramatic and dumb enough to scream a homophobic slur at the top of his lungs in the middle of his speech.

Playing the heel can be a great move and Mayweather did it well at times during this tour, but by the fourth stop, his material was old, his delivery was terrible and you just wanted him to sit down and stop talking.

This was the most convincing round of the tour to me -- and the most important, since it had to make up for the disaster that was Brooklyn.

Score: McGregor 10-8

Total: McGregor wins 38-37

Rafael: Other than his crazy white faux mink coat, McGregor was a total failure at the forgettable New York tour stop. But he felt right at home in London, the closest he would get to his beloved Ireland on this tour, and he had a big bounce-back tour stop. Once again he was the crowd favorite and he seemed to feed off it. He also seemed in a more happy-go-lucky mood than the apparently angry Mayweather, who has no reason to be angry when he is about to make hundreds of millions of dollars for an easy fight. But I digress.

McGregor celebrated his 29th birthday with an actual positive spin on things for a change, counting his blessings for being able to go from nowhere to the top of combat sports and into a megafight in just four years. Even when Mayweather belittled him, McGregor laughed it off and said he was about to "quadruple my net worth." He has a reason to be happy.

He was still profane, giving Mayweather the double middle finger as he made his way to the boxing ring where this tour stop took place. McGregor got in some good digs at Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe for his interesting attire (what was that jacket?) and continued his daily attacks on Showtime's Stephen Espinoza, a good sport while continuously being called a "weasel." And McGregor let Floyd know, "This is my ring! I am boxing!"

McGregor was at ease and wasn't overselling anything, and when he was walking around the seated Mayweather, McGregor rubbed his bald head. It was surprising that he made physical contact, but Mayweather laughed when he did it. Then he predicted he would win by KO and "sleep this fool" inside four rounds.

When it was Floyd's turn on the mic, it was not funny or particular interesting unless you're into a grown man yelling hateful stuff, cursing nonstop and displaying misogyny and homophobia.

When the fans chanted "pay your taxes" at him, he told them to keep chanting but they can't fight for "this b---."

Then he let the nastiness flow. He pointed at UFC president Dana White, telling him he was a "pimp" and that McGregor was his "ho." He added a pair of homophobic slurs. Pathetic.

Then he lied to Conor and everyone else, telling him he would "whip his ass in the octagon." Come on. Mayweather wouldn't step foot in the octagon and he knows it.

He got off just one funny line the entire time, when he wished Conor happy birthday and added, "It's the least I can do before I f--- him up."

All in all, McGregor wins this round in dominant fashion and thank goodness the tour is over.

Score: McGregor 10-8

Total: McGregor wins 38-37

Next stop: The real fight, Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas