By midnight, we were good and ready. Boxers had been slugging away all evening, but it was Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis, in the junior-lightweight contest that immediately preceded the main event, who brought at last the requisite note of wildness and transgression. Davis, approximately two feet tall, is a teetering, veering energy cone with an expression of sealed hostility and neck tattoos. Having already lost his belt by failing to make weight, and wearing shorts trimmed with fur of the smurfiest blue, he put in a scattered and rhythm-less shift against the hardwearing underdog Francisco Fonseca, finally laying him low with an illegal clout around the back of the head that appeared not to have stunned Fonseca so much as perforated his morale, or disgusted him completely: He sank to his knees and stayed there, like a seminarian having a nervous breakdown. Hooray for the sport of boxing!
And now: Here it was. This preposterous, Trump-ish thing was about to happen. As in an anxiety dream, a man was about to step into the ring, before an audience of millions, and participate in his first ever boxing match—against Floyd Mayweather. “I’m calm, comfortable,” recited Conor McGregor auto-hypnotically in his dressing room. “I see me truly outclassing this man and putting him to sleep.” He actually did look sort of calm: a lot calmer, anyway, than the screaming, dehydrated, sunken-eyed nutcase (with an apparent erection) that he had been at the weigh-in the day before. Restored now to something like his proper weight, McGregor lounged sleek and insouciant as they wrapped his hands, taking sips, as it were, of his own magnificence. Second-round knockout, perhaps, Conor? “I may stretch it a little bit longer.” As the whim took him.