Former UFC World Champion and MMA king and “The Most Dangerous Man In The World” Ken Shamrock (28-15-2) has been a boxing fan since he first began his own training, but much like the majority of the sports’ fans, he too was sick of the one-sided matchups promoters were putting together, rather than having the top guys face off against one another, as they do in MMA.
“I think that’s what really hurt boxing in the long run,” Shamrock told MMAjunkie.com Radio in an interview. “People were sick and tired of these paper champions, these guys who were bringing kids in and giving them 10 fights so they could knock (all their opponents) out. All of the sudden they’re getting title shots against a guy who has no business being in there with them. But they’ll throw in so many chumps that the guy knocks them out. Then they throw him on TV, they do some Big Mac commercials, and they show these incredible knockouts of guys who shouldn’t have been in there and people are like, ‘Oh wow. This would be a great fight.’ But fans got wise.”
Boxing fans have witnessed just that two weeks ago when Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Robert Guerrero fought May 4. All of the hype surrounding Guerrero and stellar PR/marketing to build up fight got fans excited, and what transpired was another episode of Floyd Mayweather Jr. dominating what appeared to be a glorified sparring session.
For fighters and fight fans such as Shamrock, that doesn’t fly. He fought in a time and era when you fought the guy placed in front of you or you didn’t fight at all.
Inside the cage and ring of the various MMA organizations he competed in, Shamrock established himself as a true warrior that would go to war with any opponent. He never once was concerned about padding his record or picking and choosing fights to make himself look good.
Quite simply, he lived on the credo “Fighters fight.”
But just as the MMA legend was ready to truly abandon fandom of boxing, the sport has begun to bring the marquis matchups that fight fans alike want to see. A major reason for this is that MMA has consistently been putting together one top matchup after another in all of the varied weight classes.
So fans know that when they watch a title fight, they are seeing two of the best fighters put it all on the line.
“I never dodged anyone, and I always took on who they put in front of me,” Shamrock continued. “Boxing today, you’re starting to get to see the guys, seeing them fight each other, because of the pressure that MMA is putting on boxing. Now these fighters are fighting each other. The only one who isn’t doing that in boxing today is Mayweather. He’s the only one because he controls his own destiny with his promotion and everything.”
At 49 years-old, Shamrock will once again return to action when he battles Ian Freeman in July.
He closed with some final thoughts about Floyd Mayweather, “In the long run, when you look at his career, there’s always going to be that sport right there where he didn’t take it—because he wanted to be ‘the man’ on that card. The only way you can be the man is to beat the man. He had that opportunity, and he steered away from it.”
MMA’s popularity has continued to soar over recent years due to the matchups they present to fans, and the consistency of them. Boxing has done a good job lately of matchmaking, and needs to continue to keep their fan loyal fan base coming back for more.
You play baseball, you play basketball, and you play football. You don’t play boxing…you fight.