Mixed Martial Arts Fighting vs. Boxing: Much Ado About Nothing

quinton jackson(Chuck Liddell, on left, taking on Quinton "Rampage" Jackson) 02.08.07 - By David Cavalli: It seems the hot topic for fight fans in recent months has been who would win, the mixed martial arts fighter (MMA) or the boxer? Sports shows, fight forums, boxers and MMA fighters have all expressed their opinion one way or another. It was around the time of his fight with Oscar De La Hoya that Floyd Mayweather made it clear that he could beat whomever the world of mixed martial arts had to offer.

I heard Dana White, the head of the UFC, mixed martial arts biggest and most successful organization, rip into boxing announcer Jim Lampley on an ESPN radio show recently. The reason for White's criticism was due to the fact that Lampley had reportedly made disparaging comments about UFC style fighting.

As a lifelong boxing fan and one who has watched kickboxing and Muay Thai, as well as the UFC since it first came into prominence in the early '90's, I'm here to say that the boxer vs. the MMA fighter is a pointless one. Outside of a similar purpose of trying to beat an opponent, these two sports have little else in common.

So what's to argue about? Watch a UFC fight sometime,notice the way most MMA fighters punch and how their defense is, or better yet, isn't. Does anyone who looks at it objectively really doubt that a top ranked boxer, forget champion, couldn't take apart an MMA fighter with their porous defense and reliance on arm punches? I mean, it's a no brainer. However, here's where the boxer vs. MMA fighter is rendered a useless argument. An essential component of mixed martial arts fighting is the "ground game." This is when an opponent is taken down to the canvas by some form of wrestling then punched and/or choked in an attempt to gain a submission or TKO. In mixed martial arts fighting, if you don't have at least a good ground game, you'll never make it to the top in that sport. Even a fighter as great as Floyd Mayweather would be lost if by chance he was taken off his feet by an MMA champ. No boxing champion with a lick of sense would consent to a fight where the rules allowed a ground and pound game. I should add that a crash course in this aspect of fighting would not be sufficient for a boxer to gain the skills needed.

Disputes about who would win an MMA vs. boxer fight are like trying to figure out who has the better swing, a top cricket player or some U.S. baseball star. It's an apples and oranges thing.

Boxing is still the sport, it's got the history and the respect that comes from being around for generations. Boxing also has the depth and quality of talent in each and every division, something that the MMA organizations don't have because of their not being around as long.

Of course this will change for the UFC and the rest if it's phenomenal growth and popularity continue. Perhaps something MMA and boxing fans can discuss rather than argue about is, is how to keep quality fights on cable instead of losing them to premium channels and pay per-view venues. Dana White said in the ESPN radio interview mentioned earlier, that the UFC was about to sign a deal with HBO. Boxing fans remember well what happened when HBO and Showtime entered their sport, they also know that pay per-view prices have at least doubled in recent years. This might surprise the promoters and the powers that be in boxing but there are thousands of fans out there who can't afford the HBO, Showtime and too often overpriced pay per-views. But, that's a subject for another article.

Article posted on 03.08.2007

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