BOSTON (CBS) — The dream fight that many laughed at, scoffed at, and brushed off as a sideshow will soon become reality.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is putting his perfect 49-0 record on the line against a man that has never boxed professionally. That man, of course, is the biggest name in mixed martial arts, the UFC’s Conor McGregor.
McGregor, with his 21-3 record in the octagon (with 18 knockouts), has won championships in multiple weight classes with the UFC.
Saturday night on Showtime Pay-Per-View, the worlds of boxing and mixed martial arts will collide. In anticipation of the historic bout, Felger & Massarotti director of communications Billy Lanni spoke with UFC commentator and play-by-play voice Jon Anik to preview the superfight. Anik has covered both Mayweather and McGregor in his time in the fight game. The two discussed everything leading up to the fight and the expectations of the event.
Anik made sure to clarify that McGregor was not awarded a fight with Mayweather for anything other than merit.
“He [McGregor] hasn’t just talked his way to this fight,” Anik said. “He’s performed his way to this fight.”
Many analysts and observers have been giving McGregor no chance at all to win, but Anik thinks McGregor does have a chance. And certainly, he’ll have motivation.
“There’s a lot when it comes to this guy [McGregor]. This is a layered individual, a layered mix martial artist,” Anik said. “I just think people are denigrating what he’s been able to accomplish because he hasn’t done it as a pure boxer.
“[McGregor] has the world at his fingertips and a win here would make that even more so,” Anik said.
Even if McGregor does lose to Mayweather, the event is sure to draw many new viewers to the UFC whenever McGregor decides to fight again.
“Win or lose, it’s going to bring more eyeballs to it,” Anik said of MMA. “He’s just a lightning rod. His next pay-per-view is going to do an absolute massive number.”
When it comes to strategy, it’ll be fascinating to see how McGregor attacks the challenge.
“I think he might be a little bit more measured, even if it’s not within him to do it for the first three minutes,” Anik said of McGregor. “I think the first 30 seconds … Conor won’t go crazy. I just think at times, he’s going to have to get super-aggressive and step out of his comfort zone as a counter-striker, and I think a lot of his training camp has been predicated on doing just that.
“I really think he’s got a good supportive cast, all the self-belief in the world. He may just shock all of us, man. I’m telling you.”