By Jackie Kallen
The leap from boxing in a ring to grappling in a cage is a huge one. Different rules, different dynamics, different fan-base. But BKB (Big Knockout Boxing) is a lot closer to traditional boxing than MMA is. There are, admittedly, a lot of differences, but it is boxing. Many of the same fighters that you’d see in a ring are now doing battle in the pit.
BKB fights are not facing off in a ring. They are fighting in a 17’ circle with no barriers. There is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. No ropes to lean on and corners to rest in. The rounds are only 2 minutes long and regular fights are five rounds with title fights being seven rounds. This is not for clever boxers. This is for banging punchers.
The gloves are the same and the regular commission officials are in charge. The concept was launched last summer in Las Vegas by DirectTV and is currently a PPV product. At $29.95 it is a reasonable night of entertainment. Fighters Gabe Rosado and Brian Vera were the first to give it a try. They fought last August and said they loved the format. Without ropes, they were forced to stay in the center. Rosado knocked him out.
A typical boxing fan would never know it, though, because these fights do not count on a fighter’s regular record. It is currently considered a completely different sport. The pay is good and the knockout ratio is higher, but It’s definitely for those with heavy hands. A slick boxer has very little space to run or get on his bicycle. For that reason, some boxers will never even try it.
To make things even more interesting, a small microchip is inserted in the boxers’ gloves. The numbers generated show up on the screen. They record the velocity of each punch and where it lands. It is a not a judging tool, just an informational addition to the show.
This past Saturday, Rosado tried it again, eliciting a draw with game Curtis Stevens. This time, two females duked it out when Layla McCarter KOed Diana Prazak in the 7th round. Jesus Soto Karass gave it a try and made his debut as a BKB fighter, defeating Ed Paredes. According to Karass, he loved the format and the action and would love to fight for the BKB again.
There are critics, of course, who are calling the sport “dangerous” and harmful to a boxer’s health. They feel that the close proximity forces the competitors to punch more and inflict more brain damage. The BKB believes that shorter rounds and shorter fights neutralizes things and makes that a false assumption.