Friday, January 7, 2011

MMA Needs Boxing More Than Boxing Needs MMA

Having competed in most combat sports in cluding Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Kickboxing, Shidokan Triathlon (Karate, Kickboxing, Grappling). I've promoted amateur and professional events and I watch every kind of fight that comes on T.V., internet, etc. As the sport of Mixed Martial Arts evolves, I see the skill set of boxing come to the forefront. MMA of the 1990s is different than present day MMA. We saw Brazilian Ju Jitsu dominate (Royce Gracie), then high level wrestlers came in and physically dominated (Kevin Jackson, Mark Coleman, and Mark Kerr). We even say the first "Striker", Kickboxer Maurice Smith become UFC Champion. As the sport has changed, fighters have become more well rounded and knowledgeable of other combat disciplines besides their base art. Not too long ago the "MMA Vs. Boxing" fight between Randy Couture and James Toney took place. Now, despite how this fight was advertised, it was nothing of the sort because MMA and Boxing are 2 different things. Success in one does guarantee success in the other. Toney fought and MMA match, not a Boxing Match. If Couture fought him in a boxing match, the outcome would be the opposite. As a martial artists who has studied Boxing (and, it is a martial art too), I will say that in all things else being somewhat equal, he or she who Boxes best usually wins. Win American Kickboxing first developed, Karate guys thought they owned the sport. Halfway decent boxers began to enter and started to dominate the martial arts guy who spent several years working his way to black belt. The sport had to add a mandatory kick count to keep the sport from becoming a slugfest. Why? Because it's tiring to kick, it takes a lot of skill to kick, and it's easier to just punch. The Karate fighter kind of faded out and Kickboxing became a discipline in of itself. Now back to MMA. Frankie Edgar and just defended his title against Ray Maynard. Both fighters are high level wrestlers. There were a few take downs and only one submission attempt in the 5 round match. The match looked like a boxing match (which ended in a draw). GSP recently beat Josh Koscheck (for a second time) and basically beat him with a jab. Despite Josh being the more accomplished wrestler, GSP applies and masterful understanding of wrestling to dictate where the fight will take place. GSP even worked with famous boxing trainer, Freddie Roach to prepare for the bought. So, it is quite evident that Boxing is still very much alive today in MMA because every participant has to learn it. The hands will be used more than any other weapon in a match. Sure there will still be kicks and submissions, but as we saw in the Cain and Brock fight, the better puncher in most combat sports usually wins. In a future post, I talk about America's place in Professional Heavyweight Boxing, since we haven't had an American Champ since Hollyfield (I think).

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