By: Hans Themistode
Steve Cunningham has walked down the aisle on his way to the boxing ring seemingly a million times. While all were different, they all felt somewhat the same. For his upcoming ring appearance that will take place in just a few short hours, Cunningham believes this is the most unique circumstance he has ever fought under.
For Cunningham, he’ll look to send MMA star Frank Mir packing when the two square off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Mir, 41, is no stranger when it comes to mixing it up on the inside but his level of expertise usually lies inside an MMA cage.
For now, Mir has decided to try his hand in boxing’s squared circle. While Cunningham respects any man that puts on a pair of boxing gloves, he has no interest in being a sacrificial lamb for Frank Mir’s experiment. Cunningham admits that he isn’t quite sure what Mir will bring to the table but he is fully prepared to expect the unexpected.
“We’re training like we’re fighting a top boxing champion,” said Cunningham during an interview with BoxingInsider.com. “I’ve sparred a few MMA guys before and they’re awkward. They throw different punches. They’ll hit you with something crazy because they’re not formatted for boxing so it makes it weird in the beginning until you figure it out.”
There has always been one question that receives a 50/50 response when asked: boxing or MMA?
Oftentimes, the answer is a simple one. If their contest takes place in a cage, the MMA star will be the overwhelming favorite. However, if their showdown goes down in a boxing ring, then the odds are flipped.
In the case of Steve Cunningham vs Frank Mir, both men will square off under the rules of boxing. Meaning, the ball is squarely on Cunningham’s court. Although his resume includes winning the cruiserweight world title on multiple occasions, handing Marco Huck the first defeat of his career, flooring current heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and plenty more – Cunningham can’t help but feel the pressure associated with a fight against Mir.
With the rivalry both boxing and MMA share, Cunningham can feel the pressure placed on his shoulders from his boxing brothers. It’s something that he isn’t shying away from but simply put, he believes everyone from his boxing community is counting on him.
“I feel like I have to win,” explained Cunningham. “I do feel that pressure of this is boxing vs MMA, no doubt. This is my sport on my back right now and I have to perform and show the dominance. You’re coming into my land and there’s a no trespassing sign.”
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