Though it settled absolutely nothing regarding the crazy, passionate argument a good deal of fans has when mixing it over which is the tougher sport – boxing or MMA – the flash of handi-work former WBO heavyweight champ Ray Mercer unleashed when fighting the never-stopped Tim Sylvia sure caused quite a stir.
It was back in the summer of 2009 when Mercer, at the end of his boxing career and unable to get any big fights, took on MMA’s Sylvia. Mercer was 48 years of age, Sylvia was 33, and “The Maine-iac,” as Sylvia was known, still had a pretty bright future in MMA. The fight, held under MMA rules, with smaller gloves, the fight fought in the cage, not in the ring, sure had fan interest at a pretty high level going in.
So what would happen when the two warriors from differently chosen battlefields and disciplines went at each other? Well, not too much. In fact, we saw one leg strike from Sylvia, taken by Mercer, and then a pulverizing right-hand punch, which Slyvia was not able to shrug off. In fact, he was out cold the second it landed. It was 9-seconds, and that was all she wrote.
But the differing reactions of boxing fans and MMA fans were just getting started.
“Mercer’s win over an overweight, unprepared Sylvia means nothing,” screamed one MMA publication, perhaps more inflamed over Mercer’s later statement that “None of these MMA guys wants to fight me!” Mercer adding how he questioned the heart of MMA fighters.
“No way does an MMA fighter beat a boxer, and this proves it,” wrote a boxing fan on one of the widely read forums.
Both comments were/are as valid or as invalid as you care to think.
We are talking about two wholly different sports. Slyvia simply made the dumb mistake of standing there, presenting Mercer with a thoroughly inviting target. Around a year later, in a more heavily hyped “Boxer vs. MMA” match, Randy Couture showed how it should be done when he took down James Toney in swift MMA fashion, not giving a choked-out Toney any chance to land a bomb the way Mercer had done.
Toney wanted nothing further to do with MMA, his ill-advised adventure into Mixed Martial Arts over after less than four minutes, but Mercer was keen to get some more. Depending on your view, it’s either a shame or a blessing “Merciless” never again stepped into the cage.
But, boy, that smashing, 9-second KO Mercer scored over Sylvia sure was the fun ending to a little taster of a feud. Or was it?