Whatever happens in Las Vegas on Aug. 26, whether Floyd Mayweather gets to 50-0 or Conor McGregor stuns the combat-sports world, people just want to know one thing: is this a legitimate fight?
“Well, it all depends on how you look at it,” Bellator fighter Chael Sonnen said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “Is it a legitimate fight? Yeah, you bet. Is it a legitimate contender and a challenge? Absolutely – and numbers don’t lie. Numbers are going to reflect that. This is going to be tremendous business.”
But forget business. Forget numbers and ticket sales and Pay-Per-View buys. What about the match itself? Will it live up to the hype?
“As far as the match goes, boxing is either a real sport or it’s not,” Sonnen said. “I personally believe it is. A lot of other people don’t think it is. They think it’s a niche sport, a fringe sport that should be dropped. My point is this: If you take a guy that’s never lost in professional boxing and you put him against a guy who’s never done professional boxing, that had better end in one way: dramatically and fast and in favor of the boxer. Or boxing, as a whole, takes a major hit – and they can’t afford it. There aren’t many guys boxing right now.”
If any MMA fighter has a chance against Mayweather, it might be McGregor, who has surprised countless people throughout his career.
“I was shocked that he beat (Nate) Diaz,” Sonnen said. “I didn’t think he’d beat Eddie Alvarez. I was certain he wouldn’t beat Jose Aldo. He stomped him in 13 seconds. Say what you will about Conor McGregor – and I will. He’s not a boxer, that’s true. However, he’s a winner. The guy knows how to go out there in competitive formats, he has ice running through his veins, he deals with pressure better than anyone I’ve seen, and he gets his hand raised. So it’s a real challenge for Floyd. Floyd knows what he’s doing. He sees it as an opportunity. And I think he’s right. I think he had better be right. But it’s not because Conor’s not an animal; it’s just Conor’s not a boxer.”