Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will square off in a boxing match in Las Vegas on Aug. 26 in what could be the most-watched fight in combat-sports history.
And to think, it all started with a little trash talk.
“I’m not sure anyone, including the two guys, were all that serious,” Showtime Sports Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “It started as trash talk, a little bit of bravado back and forth, and I’m not entirely sure that the guys were thinking this was going to lead somewhere. But it really caught fire.”
The only question, however, is will the fight live up to the hype? After all, Mayweather/Alvarez and Mayweather/Pacquiao generated a lot of buzz but wound up being duds.
“I guarantee the action in the ring will be more exciting than those two fights,” Espinoza said. “Let’s face it: What Floyd has done is pretty remarkable. He takes what were seen as the best challengers and turns it into a dominant, one-sided performance. I don’t know how long this will go. I certainly don’t know how it’s going to go. But I do know that Conor McGregor is going to be more aggressive than both of those guys were. Lack of aggression is nothing that Conor McGregor has ever been accused of.”
While many analysts give McGregor zero chance of beating Mayweather in a boxing match, they do wonder whether the 28-year-old Irishman will freelance during the fight. In other words, use his MMA skills on Mayweather. That would result in disqualification, yes, but it would also embarrass Mayweather and add to the spectacle.
Mayweather, though, already thought of this.
“There’s a penalty – and a stiff penalty (if McGregor reverts to MMA),” Espinoza said. “Floyd is not an MMA fighter. He’s not prepared to defend himself. He could get his arm broken real quick in an arm bar if Conor wanted to go that way. The reality (is) there is a stiff penalty.”
Whatever happens in this fight, don’t expect boxing/MMA mashups to become a regular occurrence.
“I don’t think we would be talking about this if we didn’t have two personalities like Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor,” Espinoza said. “That’s part of the sell – the fact that these guys attract so much attention. They’re so controversial, so outspoken, that really you want to see one or the other of them get their comeuppance. Let’s face it: At least half the audience is in this to see Floyd Mayweather lying on his back being counted out. That’s always been the case with Floyd. It really takes two singular personalities to get an event like this done.”