The Story Behind Chance the Rapper’s Intern

When we first published our interview with Chance the Rapper's intern, Negele Hospedales' story sounded too good to be true. He was working at a bar in Australia at the time, but a week after building his own website as an application, Negele was whisked halfway around the world to join Chance on tour. 

Now that the internship is over and he's had some time to reflect, Negele told us that he's “making better work than ever and going that much harder.” From his first day taking notes to scheduling in time for Dave Chappelle and basketball with Migos, Negele's internship with Chance sounded nothing short of amazing. You can read his first-person account of the experience here, and check out the exclusive pictures in the video above. 

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Floyd Mayweather Reportedly Called Justin Bieber a ‘Traitor’ Over Instagram Diss

Once upon a time, Floyd Mayweather and Justin Bieber were extremely close friends. Bieber walked Mayweather out to the ring before a handful of fights. He also came to Mayweather’s aid when he was involved in a car accident with his kids. And shortly after Mayweather retired from the sport of boxing following his 49th professional fight against Andre Berto, he was spotted vacationing with Bieber in Bora Bora.

 

@justinbieber #comfortableliving #tmt #bankrollbieber

A post shared by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on Oct 3, 2015 at 1:31pm PDT

There is obviously a big age difference between the two—Mayweather is currently 40, while Bieber is 23—but it didn’t stop them from sharing a special bond. It sounds like that bond has been broken, though, and Mayweather is not happy about it.

In recent weeks, Mayweather has been asked whether or not Bieber would accompany him to the ring before his fight with Conor McGregor, and he has downplayed questions about it. It led to some speculation about his friendship with the singer. And that speculation increased last week after Bieber came out and said that Mayweather would not knock McGregor out during their fight, which prompted a response from Mayweather’s dad.

And according to a TMZ Sports report released early Monday morning, there is something to all of the speculation surrounding Mayweather and Bieber. The report indicates Bieber is no longer associated with Mayweather’s Money Team and that he and Mayweather are no longer on speaking terms. Sources who spoke with TMZ Sports revealed that Bieber has been receiving counseling from the Hillsong Church in recent months, and during counseling, he has apparently been asked to take a good hard look at who he has been hanging around with over the last few years.

Bieber wasn’t specifically asked to evaluate his relationship with Mayweather, but it seems Bieber went ahead and evaluated it on his own and found that it might not be the best relationship for him to be in. So he reportedly unfollowed Mayweather on Instagram as a way to”reset boundaries” between the two—and as you might expect, that didn’t go over well with Mayweather.

TMZ Sports is reporting that Mayweather went “nuclear” after hearing that Bieber unfollowed him. He also reportedly called Bieber a “traitor” and reminded him that he stuck by his side when he was having legal problems a few years ago. Mayweather is said to be “incensed” over how his relationship with Bieber has played itself out recently.

Mayweather is yet to respond to the TMZ Sports report, but with his fight with McGregor just a few days away, we’re sure he’ll be asked about his friendship with Bieber, or the lack thereof, in the coming days. We're also sure McGregor will find a way to use this against Mayweather in the buildup to their fight.

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Floyd Mayweather Says He Won’t Have Sex Before Conor McGregor Fight

Boxers tend to be a superstitious bunch, and though he'd probably be one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters regardless, Floyd Mayweather is no exception. I guess if you start your professional career with a 49-0 record, you don't switch up the formula for fight No. 50. 

Apparently, Mayweather believes in the old-school boxing concept of avoiding intercourse in the lead-up to a fight. Approached by TMZ with a number of questions about the fight, Mayweather only gave a strong answer to one question.

“Floyd, are you going to abstain from sex before the fight?” asked TMZ's correspondent. His response was unequivocal: “Absolutely!”

This unofficial vow marks a pretty stark contrast between Mayweather and his upcoming opponent, Conor McGregor. Pressed on the same subject by late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien, McGregor said in 2015 that he doesn't buy into that no-sex nonsense. “That is most certainly a superstition that I do not abide by,” said McGregor. “I definitely have as much sex as possible.”

As if we needed another point of division to talk about with this fight, the sex habits of both men are now clearly on display. Forget the difference in their sparring habits and their various, problematic actions outside the ring: this will surely be the thing that decides who will walk away from the ring victorious.

In more pressing news, Mayweather is doing his best to make sure fans stay interested in his upcoming bout with McGregor, as the odds continue to favor the 49-0 boxer heavily over the converted MMA fighter. Known mostly for his defensive prowess, Mayweather promised on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live that he was going to go after McGregor early and often.

“He's going to land shots, because with this fight, I'm going straight ahead,” Mayweather said. “Normally, it's more taking my time, being very cautious. But this time, I'm going straight ahead. The fans deserve it.”

I've seen too many Mayweather matches to be convinced by a little pre-fight talk, but if he's truly prepared to go on the offensive against McGregor, fight fans should be excited. We might actually see a knockout instead of a 12-round decision!

You can watch the video of Mayweather affirming his abstinence up top, and watch a video of him telling Kimmel he dislikes McGregor below.

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UFC President Dana White Posts Video of Conor McGregor Knocking Down Paul Malignaggi in the Ring

Amid concerns over Conor McGregor's ability to survive in the ring against Floyd Mayweather, UFC president Dana White released two videos from McGregor's sparring sessions with Paul Malignaggi. On Friday, The Notorious held an open workout at UFC headquarters in Las Vegas where he put some odd training techniques and slow heavy bag speed on display for those in attendance. 

White also responded to the people doubting McGregor's boxing skills by posting two videos of The Notorious sparring with Malignaggi, including a clip where it appears Conor knocked down the former world champion. 

Earlier this month, Malignaggi abruptly quit as McGregor's sparring partner after photos from their session leaked. The former boxer claims he was pushed in the photo showing him lying on the mat with Conor standing over him.

The circus leading up to this fight is nearly coming to a close. Mayweather and McGregor will finally meet in the ring on Aug. 26.

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Floyd Mayweather Apologizes for Using Homophobic Slur Against Conor McGregor

On Thursday, Floyd Mayweather offered up a formal apology to Conor McGregor for calling him a “faggot” at the fourth (and final) press conference they held last month.

A rep for Mayweather said the 49-0 boxer has “nothing against gays or lesbians at all” following the presser where the slur was uttered, which took place in London. At the same time, Mayweather claimed that he directed the word at McGregor after his rival called him a “monkey” off-mic at a press conference earlier in the week.

“There are certain boundaries you just don't cross,” he said off the cuff from his gym on Thursday. “In the press tour when I said something toward lesbians or gays when I said something toward him. I apologized, but him calling us monkeys, you have to realize, we went through years and years of up and down. Black Americans went through a lot. But I'm a strong individual. We live and we learn and hopefully after Aug. 26th, he won't be speaking that same language.”

This particular apology is at least the second of its kind this week, as he also expressed his regret to Stephen A. Smith earlier. “I spoke on disrespect,” he said to Smith. “Like I said before, it’s certain boundaries we just don’t cross. It’s OK if he wants to say certain things. Even in the press tour when I said something, I didn’t want to be negative towards lesbians or gays when I said something to him. So, I apologize.”

You can catch the bout between the pair of megalomaniacal fighters Aug. 26.

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Mayweather Promotions CEO Disputes Reports About Ticket Sales for Mayweather/McGregor Fight

In late July, a report came out indicating that ticket sales for the Aug. 26 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas weren’t exactly going according to plan. Many people expected the fight to sell out rather quickly, but according to the report, there were still thousands of tickets available for it, which seemed to suggest that the promoters for the fight might have issues getting top dollar for them.

But Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe spoke out about the reported slow ticket sales for the fight on Thursday during Mayweather’s open media session at his gym in Las Vegas, and he said that he’s not worried at all. Contrary to what has been reported, Ellerbe said that the fight is currently on pace to break the record for the highest boxing gate ever.

“Right now, we have over $60 million in the box office,” Ellerbe said. “And you tell me, what part of that remotely looks like ticket sales are slow. This isn’t a damn Rolling Stones concert. That’s the only thing that sells out in seconds. When you are talking about tickets going from $500 to $10,000, that’s an expensive ticket. So you have every CEO from every major company. You know, guys, it takes time to plan and get it together.”

Ellerbe also talked about some of the VIPs who have expressed interest in attending the fight:

Additionally, Mayweather echoed what Ellerbe told reporters before his workout on Thursday and said that he believes his fight with McGregor is ultimately going to sell out as we move closer to fight night. Mayweather is also doing his part to continue to promote the fight. Here he is interrupting a live shot on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Thursday to tell people to watch the fight:

ESPN is reporting that, if you want a ticket, they’re not difficult to find right now. There are reportedly still thousands of them available on the Ticketmaster website, and there are also plenty of them available through ticket resale sites like Vivid Seats and StubHub. They’re not cheap, though. Vivid Seats, for example, is reporting that the average ticket sold on its site is going for more than $3,600.

To set a new record for a boxing gate, the Mayweather/McGregor fight would need to eclipse the $72.2 million mark. That’s how much money Mayweather’s fight against Manny Pacquiao brought in back in May 2015.

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Why Conor McGregor Actually Has a Chance Against Floyd Mayweather

Oddsmakers aren’t giving Conor McGregor much of a chance against Floyd Mayweather. Neither are those in the boxing world.

We already ran down reasons why McGregor (almost assuredly) will not beat Mayweather when they meet Aug. 26. For starters there’s the obvious like McGregor’s extreme inexperience and Mayweather’s standing as one of boxing’s living legends. But there are a few legit reasons why the McGregor, a 4-1 underdog, actually has a chance to pull off the upset.

We’ll start with the age difference. Having turned 29 July 14th, McGregor will enter the ring with 11 years on Mayweather and will undoubtedly be the quicker and more athletic fighter. The speed Mayweather was known for in his prime, throwing and landing punches at a blindingly fast pace and dodging his opponents' punches like he's Neo from “The Matrix,”  is a thing of the past.

“This is not the elite Floyd Mayweather,” says ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas. “He’s 40 years old. He’s been away from the game for two years. He took the fight on short notice. Those things should be accounted for. They will be accounted for.”

McGregor, the bigger man, will look physically imposing standing next to Mayweather when they weigh-in on the Friday before the fight. In his prime and already ripped, McGregor will be an Adonis while Atlas contends that even though Mayweather will look impressive, he can already see Father Time taking his toll.

“In a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, who is the bigger, younger, stronger guy, needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and hurt him.” — DANA WHITE

“His body doesn’t even look the same,” says Atlas. “It’s got that softer look when you get a little older. The muscles have changed a little bit. To the eye that knows to look at that stuff it’s noticeable.”

Even if Mayweather might be a tick slower than we’re used to seeing, nobody expects McGregor to outbox one of the greats. But it’s the unknown that could earn the MMA star the unlikely win. Screwy things happen in boxing all the time—and we’re not even talking about some messed up judge’s scorecard. What if a cut opens over the eye of Mayweather from an inadvertent headbutt? What if Mayweather fractures his hand on a punch and is essentially reduced to a one-armed fighter? Boxing fans know Mayweather’s reputation for having brittle hands.

“I’ve seen Floyd fracture both hands in a fight,” says Mayweather CEO Leonard Ellerbe. “I know Conor McGregor is bigger, stronger, thinks he’s faster, and thinks he’s going to knock Floyd Mayweather out. But any damn thing can happen. Floyd could cross his head in the fourth round and not be able to use his right hand.”

Even when his fists aren’t giving him problems, Mayweather isn’t exactly a knockout artist (his career knockout percentage: 53). McGregor, on the other hand, is known to possess impressive punching power. While his devastating blows have come wearing 4 oz. gloves in UFC fights, the 10 oz. gloves he’ll wear against Mayweather won’t do much to slow down the speed of his punches or diminish their power. The question is can McGregor land a clean shot on the chin of the best modern defensive boxer who has never legitimately been knocked to the canvas as a pro?

“He’s not a boxer. At the end of the day, Conor McGregor is a fighter,” UFC president Dana White said back at the July 13th press conference at Barclays Center. “In a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, who is the bigger, younger, stronger guy, needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and hurt him.”

And maybe play some mind games. It’s widely expected that McGregor will be the aggressor while Mayweather will be content to play defense and pick his spots. What if McGregor played it cool and conservative the way, according to Atlas, he’s won matches in the UFC, making Floyd come at him?

“Use those principles of trying to be careful and thoughtful and contemplative before you just walk into something then Floyd doesn’t have the foil that he needs,” says Atlas. “[Floyd] needs that caveman so he can bang, bang, bang, catch him coming in and catch him with counters.” 

The bottom line is McGregor doesn’t have an easy path to victory and deep down he has to know that. But it’s not inconceivable if the right things happened that he could pull off the improbable upset. It’s boxing. It’s sports. Crazier things have happened than a 4-1 dog getting the w. 

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Floyd Mayweather’s Sparring Partners Explain Why He’s Going to Destroy Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has been having a tough time with his sparring partners in the lead-in to his fight with Floyd Mayweather. After initial reports that training sessions had turned violent and “out of control,” the man tasked with helping him prepare for Mayweather eventually walked away, calling McGregor a “dirtbag” on his way out the door.

Though he's known for his motor mouth, Mayweather's camp has been quiet as church mice in comparison. But don't mistake that for timidity or a lack of confidence, because if you ask the fighters Mayweather is working out with right now, McGregor has absolutely no chance against the undefeated, undisputed champion.

In an interview with Dotun Akintoye of ESPN The Magazinethree prominent fighters—DeMarcus Corley, Zab Judah, and Errol Spence Jr.—discussed what makes Mayweather such a great fighter. From the sound of things, they don't think a first-timer like McGregor has any chance against a lifer like Mayweather.

“He's been programmed from Pampers,” said Corley. “He breaks the will of fighters. After a few rounds, you realize it's not what you thought it was going to be. You can't do what you want to do to him. You start questioning yourself. How can I get this guy? What is he doing that I can't catch him?”

Corley would know. Not only has he trained with Mayweather, he was dominated by him in a 2004 fight in which Mayweather knocked him down twice and scored a unanimous decision victory. Judah met the same fate in 2006, when not even a low blow on his behalf could stop Mayweather from completely outclassing him. He emphasized Mayweather's preparation level when describing how hard it is to get close to him, let alone beat him.

“He lines up like 15 to 20 sparring partners at a time. I've known him since we were amateurs,” said Judah. “He's always done over and beyond what the job consists of. You can't beat someone who's not going to get tired…He studies your background down to your kids, your wife, who your mama is, who your daddy is. He doesn't watch fights; he prepares for the person. Sometimes when you learn the person, you don't have to learn how they fight.”

This paints a stark contrast between Mayweather's prep for the bout and McGregor's. Paulie Malignaggi, the sparring partner who angrily stormed out of McGregor's camp, insisted that McGregor would only deal with one sparring partner at a time, forcing one guy to go a full 12 rounds. With Mayweather constantly battling fighters with fresh legs, the preparation level doesn't even sound close.

And in case the words of a couple former opponents don't mean much, one of Mayweather's sparring partners is a current champion. The aforementioned Spence is the current IBF welterweight champion, standing on top of his division with a 22-0 record. And even he is blown away by Mayweather's focus in the ring.

“His eyes are always open. Your mind can't wander; it's a mental workout as much as a physical workout,” said Spence. “Fighters throw punches at him, and you see him looking. He moves just enough and never overreacts to a punch. You never see him rattled. When you go back to the corner, he's looking at you, seeing if you're tired.”

That doesn't sound like a boxer who's going to be bested by a converted MMA guy. Hate Mayweather if you want, because there are plenty of legitimate reasons to, but never question his aptitude in the ring. He has flawless numbers and near universal respect from anyone who has stood across from him in the ring, but he's still in the gym working as if he is the one with something to prove.

To see what else Mayweather's sparring partners had to say about him, go here. You can also hear why some other boxing experts are betting on Mayweather to make light work of McGregor here.

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Here’s the Story Behind That Floyd Mayweather Knockout Mural Conor McGregor Has in His Gym

Back in late June, about a week after his fight with Floyd Mayweather was officially announced, Conor McGregor trolled the undefeated boxer by showing off a gigantic mural that was painted on the wall in his gym in Dublin, Ireland. The mural featured McGregor punching Mayweather in the face and quickly took the internet by storm.

In the days that followed, several details about the mural came out. A Dublin-based art collective called Subset released a statement to Yahoo! Sports and revealed that they were behind the painting. They also let loose that it was McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh who asked them to put it together, and described the process in an interview with Versus.

Additionally, this video of McGregor seeing the mural for the first time surfaced. He looked blown away by the art and was clearly surprised by it when he walked into his gym.

But in an excellent new ESPN the Magazine cover story on McGregor by Wright Thompson, Kavanagh told the whole story behind the painting and revealed why he decided to have it painted on the wall at the gym when McGregor first started training for his fight with Mayweather.

According to Kavanagh, he first learned that McGregor and Mayweather were going to fight at about the same time that the rest of us did. McGregor texted him on June 14 and told him the fight was on, only a short time before he took to social media to let the rest of us in on the news.

And when he did, Kavanagh quickly realized that despite the fact that McGregor would be preparing to fight one of the best boxers of all time, he hadn’t gotten around to putting together a boxing gym where he could train yet. So Kavanagh sprung into action and created a gym in just four days.

To do it, Kavanagh called the owner of his MMA gym and asked to borrow an abandoned car dealership located nearby. Then, he cleaned it up, hung a sheet to create some separation between the dealership’s showroom and the repair bays in the back, and got the water and electricity up and running. He also had a boxing ring shipped from England to Ireland by boat. Finally, he decided that he was going to hire Subset to paint the mural of McGregor punching Mayweather to complete the space.

Thompson reports that Subset knocked it out in just one session, paint fumes be damned:

The artists laughed the first time they saw the space, wondering what Floyd's gym must look like, making jokes about Rocky training in the snow. The mural got painted freehand in one 12-hour burst, the fumes leaving the painters bent. Kavanagh wants that image to work in Conor's mind.

While speaking with ESPN the Mag, Kavanagh also talked about what happened when he showed McGregor the painting for the first time. You can see his reaction in the clip above, but Kavanagh said the big reveal didn’t go as planned at first. It seems McGregor thought the guys from Subset were in his gym to jump him when he first walked on. And one of the Subset members, who spoke with ESPN the Mag, said that that led to an awkward first encounter with McGregor. The member said he had never met anyone like McGregor before.

“I’d never been in someone’s company before who was purely male energy,” the Subset member, who was not identified by name, said. “There was no female energy. And not in a macho way. He wasn’t fronting up. He’s running off this raw, food chain, evolution, strongest-survive energy. He’s cold. That’s what he’s like. He was open, a gentleman, but he’s cold at the base of it.”

Thompson’s entire piece in ESPN the Mag provides an interesting look into how McGregor got to where he’s at today. We all know McGregor hails from Ireland and endured a lot before finally landing in the UFC. But Thompson takes a look at everything from McGregor’s past ties to local gangs in Dublin to his disdain for the upper class in Ireland to provide some context for why McGregor is the way he is now. You can check out the whole story here.

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Conor McGregor’s Sparring Partner Quits Abruptly Over Controversial Photos

Paulie Malignaggi claims he didn’t intend to steal the spotlight when he agreed to fly to Las Vegas earlier this week to take part in a sparring session with Conor McGregor. But that’s exactly what the former world champion has done over the last few days.

On Tuesday, a report came out indicating that Malignaggi had been involved in a sparring session with McGregor that got “out of control.” A day later, Malignaggi spoke with several media outlets, including ESPN, and confirmed that report. He also said that he was involved in a second sparring session with McGregor on Tuesday that included “a lot of violence.” And on Thursday night, Malignaggi continued to make headlines when he abruptly announced that he was no longer going to help McGregor in the weeks leading up to his Aug. 26 fight with Floyd Mayweather.

“I wanted to be part of this event, but I didn’t want to become the story, and that’s what this has turned into,” Malignaggi told ESPN. “I won’t release any information about his game plan or what he’s working on—I wouldn’t do that. But this has become a fiasco. It’s a circus.”

Malignaggi isn’t simply upset over all of the media attention he has received this week, though. Rather, he’s upset because a couple photos surfaced on Thursday afternoon that appeared to portray McGregor in a very favorable light during his sparring session with Malignaggi. One of them, captured by UFC photographer Brandon Magnus, shows McGregor hitting Malignaggi in the face:

Another photo, which was taken by one of McGregor’s personal photographers Dave Fogarty, shows Malignaggi on the ground as McGregor stands over him:

It’s important to note that McGregor himself didn’t post either of the photos on social media. But Malignaggi is still upset about the fact that they got out. He’s also upset about how they seem to suggest that McGregor knocked him down when he says that, in reality, he ended up on the ground after McGregor pushed him. He has urged McGregor to release a video of their sparring session to show what really happened in the ring:

Malignaggi also released a lengthy statement on Twitter late Thursday night and revealed that he will no longer work with McGregor moving forward because of the photos:

And since releasing that statement, Malignaggi has stuck to his guns and refused to back down from the allegations he made over the photos in question, even as he has been hounded by McGregor fans online. Malignaggi has responded to many of those fans on Twitter on Friday morning:

There’s no way McGregor is going to release any video of his sparring session with Malignaggi. Not this close to his fight with Mayweather, at least. So we’ll probably never know the whole truth behind the photos that have Malignaggi so riled up. But in one interaction with a fan on Twitter on Friday morning, Malignaggi said he suspects McGregor’s camp knew all of this controversy was going to take place long before it did:

That may or may not be true. But either way, this dramatic McGregor/Malignaggi storyline is adding even more intrigue to the Mayweather/McGregor fight, and we’d guess that both fighters are thrilled about it.

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