Sonnen: Floyd Hurt Legacy With Rizin Debacle

In the aftermath of Floyd Mayweather’s hasty announcement and hasty exit from a fight against kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa at Rizin’s New Year’s Eve show, MMA analyst Chael Sonnen believes this can truly hurt the undefeated boxer’s legacy.

“Huge miss here by Floyd Mayweather,” Sonnen said on the ESPN+ show he hosts with Ariel Helwani, Ariel and the Bad Guy. “He has brought down his brand. Very normal trajectory of a fighter’s career: you start out fighting at the YMCA, you move on to the dog park, you get into a coliseum, on your way out you go back to the YMCA, and then you finish up at the dog park. That is what this appeared to be for Floyd from jump street.”

“The only thing more embellished than Floyd Mayweather’s pay-per-view buys is Floyd Mayweather’s net worth,” said Sonnen of Mayweather’s financial standing.

“But his spending habits are real. We know he has to fight again but the fact that he would go and offer his services in a stunt fight over in Japan under “yet to be specified rules,” this is very bad for the brand. And for him to try to unwind that and the come back to America. Look, it’s tough and Floyd stubbed his toe on this one.”

“It was a tremendous mistake,” Sonnen said of Mayweather’s shock and awe move of signing with Rizin. “The retirement just so you can use that to market the comeback. You can never have the comeback if you don’t have the retirement. Floyd knows this, Floyd tries to copy this, but Ariel, the one miss that he had, the ingredient that has to be there if you’re going to pull a stunt like this . . . it has to be at a time when people all come out saying, ‘Why?! Why would you retire? You’re so good! You have more left!’ When you retire at a time when people are looking at you going, ‘You should retire,’ you can’t get that feel, you can’t get that buzz back.

“This is what happened to Floyd. When Floyd went in there and boxed Conor, what was happening was the greatest of a generation took on an amateur, and when it took 30 minutes to get the amateur out of there, it was easier for the boxing world to go, ‘well yeah, but he was retired anyway.’”

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