Last week, elite prizefighting heavyweights Francis Ngannou and Tyson Fury had a brief exchange on Twitter. A potential fight was discussed, but it came with a mixed rules proposal from both men.
Fans who are simply aching to see these two powerhouses trade hands are on board. But if you ask observers like Chael Sonnen, this proposal could be problematic on both sides.
In a recent video he uploaded, Sonnen first questioned Ngannou’s “phone booth” fight suggestion. But with regards to setting up a mixed rules fight, he seemed to have a slightly bigger issue with “The Gypsy King’s” idea.
“Tyson Fury added to the silliness himself by letting Francis know that he would box Francis wearing MMA gloves. So now you’re left with the same ‘Where does the camera go in the phone booth?’ question,” he said.
“Where are you going to box in MMA gloves? Who’s going to sanction that? You just limited our options, and who’s going to watch that? And what’s it gonna be like when ESPN is trying to cover that on Sportscenter? ‘Cause, they can’t call that boxing.
“Boxing isn’t done with four-ounce gloves. So now you’ve got a new sport created. And then everybody that’s trying to cover or explain is just gonna throw their hands up and say, ‘To hell with them. Let me know who wins. Best of luck to both of you. Here’s $100.’ It’s just weird.”
“The West Linn Gangster” then questioned Fury’s “pride” as a boxer.
“Where’s the pride within your sport? If you are a boxer, you don’t change the rules of boxing. You stand by your sport. Here’s how we do it here if this is where you’re coming,” Sonnen said.
“There’s discussions you can have within the rule and sport of boxing, as dumb and silly as they seem, but you cannot wear MMA gloves. That is no longer boxing. That is now something else. Why would you not have the pride within your own sport to stand by the sport?
“If you’re changing anything, it’s because somebody doesn’t want it. Nobody’s tried to negotiate the change of the rules — the rounds, the weight class, and/or in this case, the glove size. Nobody’s offered it. You came and offered it, which means you’re a terrible negotiator. It’s a very silly thing to do.”
Making the mixed rules fight happen could indeed be a long shot. However, Top Rank Boxing is reportedly interested in pairing up Ngannou and Fury, especially with the UFC’s ESPN deal in place.