Breaking his silence on Twitter for the first time since last month’s US presidential election, welterweight number one Covington cruelly joked that Robinson, who switched sports to make his boxing debut on Saturday, had only just been removed from the ring following his harrowing knockout defeat to YouTuber Jake Paul.
The devout Republic and proponent of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign then took aim at NBA legend LeBron James, warning that he would knock out the man who had laughed at Trump’s defeat in half of the two rounds it took Paul to beat Robinson.
“Heard they finally scraped Nate Robinson’s carcass off the Staples Center floor,” wrote Covington, responding to the celebrity scrap on the undercard of Mike Tyson’s draw with Roy Jones Jr.
“I’d make LeBron James eat the canvas in half the amount of time. Everyone knows current NBA players are the softest and most privileged athletes on the planet.”
Five-time NBA champion Magic Johnson has been among those to tweet their support for Robinson following the defeat that left him faceplanted on the canvas after he walked onto a huge shot in his first professional fight.
The former Boston Celtics and New York Knicks has reassured fans that he is recovering from his ordeal, and Covington’s keenness to put himself in line for a similarly money-spinning fight with sporting icon James could be driven by a desire to enjoy a win as easy as professional boxer Paul’s was in Los Angeles.
Covington’s imagined mismatch against James would offer him another opportunity to stoke a politically-fueled build-up, having posed with Trump at one of his election rallies, worn merchandising supporting the head of state during his press conferences and shared a phone call with him after his acrimonious win over Tyron Woodley in September.
James has long been an antagonist of Trump, leading to the outgoing president, who has fiercely criticized the Black Lives Matter campaign that the Lakers talisman is a figurehead for, calling the four-time champion “nasty” and a “hater”.
Trump claimed that social justice protests by NBA players had damaged TV ratings for the sport and remarked “what a crowd” when the audience at one of his rallies began a chant of “LeBron sucks”, and James’s responses on social media have included superimposing the head of victorious candidate Joe Biden onto his head in a photo from one of the most spectacular blocks of his career.
Covington has been uncharacteristically quiet across all of his social media accounts since the election, and his tweet proved an emphatic return to divisive form, accumulating more than 10,000 retweets and likes.
“You got most of your privilege from slurping up a guy that just absolutely sh*t it at the election,” said one critic.
“I’d stop calling out non-fighters and concentrate on what your next gimmick will be.”
A fight fan said: “If you think LeBron would have a chance in a fight, you are crazy. The chance he would win is as big as Colby beating LeBron one-on-one on a basketball court.”