Boxing and MMA – There's no comparison

03.12.07 - By Jason Peck: I was in the local Barnes and Noble the other day, and stopped by their magazines. No surprise there – no Ring Magazine. But I did find at least five Mixed Martial Arts publications, along with two bodybuilding magazines that promised to give readers the Ultimate Fighting Championship physique.

I felt like puking. Boxing promoter Lou DiBella once lashed out against MMA, calling it – predictably – "a human cockfight." What an insult to cocks everywhere.

I hear quite a bit about how on can watch boxing and MMA, about how one can appreciate both sports.

Quite honestly, I can’t understand how. If you really appreciate boxing, then it seems to me you’d have to realize that MMA is not a complement to it. MMA is a bastard that removes the lab work from the Sweet Science, and steals valuable TV time from real pugilism.

The action is dull, the atmosphere has the class of backyard pro wrestling, and the punches are so pitiful one must call them "strikes" instead. A few friends of mine once encouraged me to watch an MMA match, and promised an all-out brawl. Instead I watched a wrestling match between two semi-nude men, as if someone had leaked Elton John's honeymoon video. Which is fine for Sir Elton, I suppose, but not for a real fight fan.

Fellow East Side writer Wray Edwards earned my respect the other day with his own article. To paraphrase Edwards, if boxing is a symphony, MMA is Fergie's latest single.

Like many other boxing fans, I've watched with dismay while the UFC brainwashed millions. Its success owes less to the sport’s inherent virtues, and more to the total failure of boxing promoters to capitalize on the public demand for fights.

MMA succeeds because the average yahoo can’t distinguish between the cerebral showdown of two fine-tuned athletes and a brainless brawl between two guys built like second-string linebackers. MMA is the sport for the man who's frightened by the balloon muscles of the Undertaker, but might pick a fight with Manny Pacquiao at a pool hall.

Time and again, MMA aficionados ask what would happen if boxers took up MMA and challenged their champions. Why is this question never reversed? What if the UFC stooges had to fight their boxing counterparts?

I challenge anyone out there to question the truth of this point: MMA and boxing are two different sports. If a boxer moved to MMA, he'd have to make significant adjustments. If the MMA champs stepped in a boxing ring and assumed the subtle tactical demands, everyone of them would lose. Badly.

For lack of a defender, the two sports have been held to a different standard. I've heard MMA fans give me the same line of baseless allegations so often that I can hear their voices in a Bullwinkle voice, before they punctuate every other word with "Duh." My conversations with them inevitably run like this:

“There's no one good in boxing!”

Sweet Jesus, you are clueless. Quick – name a half-dozen active fighters.

No, Mike Tyson doesn’t count, he retired. Oscar and Floyd? Very good, you’re a third of the way there. The British guy? I think I know who you mean, but more specific please…

“There's no action!”

Depends on what your view of action is. Like Mr. Edwards himself commented, I've seen MMA matches from bars where they shouted at the ref to stop the wrestling.

Hmmmm... standing and fighting. They could make a sport of that!

"Nothing ever happens in boxing...Duh..."

Now this one deserves some attention.

MMA made headlines in May when Chuck Liddell lost a Pay-Per-View super-fight to Quinton Jackson via first-round knockout. No surprise there – Jackson KO’d Liddell four years earlier in the second round (if the sporting world put their hopes and paychecks on a boxing match that ended in such a one-sided manner, it would be proof positive of boxing’s imminent doom. But anyway –)

Yahoo! boxing-reporter-turned MMA-diehard Kevin Iole found himself in Heaven, then wrote the following drivel:

“This is why mixed martial arts is the fastest-growing sport in the world. Anything can happen to anyone at any time…Who would have thought that Matt Serra, an 8-1 underdog, would have knocked out Georges St. Pierre?…who would have thought that Mirko CroCop, perhaps the greatest kicker in the game’s history, would have been knocked out with a kick to the head from Gabriel Gonzaga?”

OMG! An upset! You don't see those in boxing!

Let me tell you what: I was sure impressed as hell by Wladimir Klitschko's predictable KO victories over Ross Purrity, Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster. And that Roy Jones...he sure beat the bejeezus out of Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson. What a bunch of punching bags! And let me tell you what fight I'm looking forward to: Tsyzu versus Mayweather. I thought it would never happen, but the boost that Tszyu got from stopping Ricky Hatton made the fans demand it.

Wait a minute...

I repeat, MMA is about the boxing promoters’ failures, plain and simple. If we had boxing readily available on TV, MMA would not exist. But that would solve a lot of things, wouldn’t it?

Article posted on 03.12.2007

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