Boxing vs. MMA, Why Crossover Fights Rarely Go Well
By: Jose Cuevas
We were treated to the first MMA versus Boxing superfight in Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather back in August of 2017. Many experts argued the fight was a blatant cash grab, a farce, and even a circus.
The fight illustrates the challenge that comes along with making a fight between a Mixed Martial Artist and a Boxer. They are cousins of one another, but they are two completely different disciplines.
One may think an elite Mixed Martial Artist should, key word should, be able to hang in the ring with an elite boxer. That proposition is absurd, mainly due to the fact that Boxers must account for only using their fists in combat. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that one form of combat is more than the other. Boxers must master controlling the distance between themselves and their opponent, use of their footwork to properly leverage all of their punches, learn to counter effectively while slipping or catching punches, etc… While mixed martial artists must try and master as many disciplines as possible.
How many times in the cage have we seen individuals proficient in wrestling or judo dominate strikers in the cage? Mixed Martial artists, to their credit, have the difficult task of being prepared for every scenario, they need to be good strikers, kickboxers, wrestlers, and submission specialists. This is why Conor McGregor lost against Floyd Mayweather. Floyd had decades of experience mastering footwork, mastering counterpunching, and mastering the sport of boxing…while Conor was proficient at best but not a master at the highest level.
Think about multitasking…MMA is the perfect form of multitasking when it comes to combat sports. While an MMA fighter is on his feet he’s thinking about what punches to land, possible takedown attempts, kicks, flying armbars, etc…the brainpower and strategy that is required to be aware of so many different variables is remarkable. Boxing exists in a controlled environment where fighters have to only worry about punches, but in only worrying about punches they use the rest of their body to maximize their punches which makes the sport unique and difficult to master at the highest level.
Imagine placing the Chess world champion in a match of Chinese checkers against the world champion, it may not make for a competitive match as the Chess expert has had years of experience mastering his/her craft in their controlled environment, while the Chinese checkers expert has done the same in their own respective controlled environment. Therein lies the key…the sports are executed in their own specific controlled environment. This isn’t the Matrix where you can plug into a program and just learn it, it takes time and lots of it.
I was recently covered Bellator 194 where Heather “The Heat” Hardy fought Ana Julaton. Hardy easily won the bout by working as hard as possible to keep the fight on her feet. Hardy is a former undefeated boxer and world champion, she undoubtedly made her mark in boxing and now hopes to make her mark in MMA. However, in her previous fight she was thoroughly annihilated by a debuting mixed martial artist.
Kristina Williams outclassed Hardy with head kicks and leg kicks and busted her wide open. Hardy was not prepared for the onslaught as Williams was an expert with her kicks and could hold Hardy’s boxing skills at bay. The fight was stopped in the second round as Hardy was bleeding profusely and she could no longer defend herself. This is a perfect example of what happens when you drop a boxer in the realm of MMA with a well-rounded mixed martial artist, it’s a whole different ball game.
Rumors have been circulating that Floyd Mayweather will enter the Octagon. That is a disastrous idea as Floyd is a master of boxing, but not a master of fighting in the uncontrolled controlled environment of MMA. However, don’t be fooled, Mayweather is a meticulous matchmaker and he may enter the cage against an opponent with little to no cage experience like CM Punk, which would level the playing field significantly. However, if he is matched with a Mickey Gall, a debuting professional MMA fighter with a lot of experience….expect him to suffer the same fate as Heather Hardy.
MMA and Boxing are too different, it will require meticulous matchmaking to make a newcomer look good in either realm. Don’t let your eyes fool you they may be combat sports…but the controlled environment of either changes the dynamic completely. The sooner we realize that the sooner we learn to respect both sports and appreciate them for what they offer to the overall realm of combat sports. In realizing that MMA and Boxing are different we can stop this madness of MMA and Boxing crossovers as rarely will you get your money’s worth…you may be getting all the spectacle you desire, but that’s a topic for another article…
Ann Wolfe Interview: “I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep!”
Ann Wolfe Interview: “I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep.”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Ann Wolfe is best known as “the baddest woman on the planet”. She was a professional boxer from 1998-2006. Wolfe amassed a professional record of 24 wins, 1 loss (which she avenged, twice) and 16 wins by way of knockout. She did all this while holding 4 weight class titles simultaneously. Ann Wolfe’s story is one of poverty, crime and destitution. Boxing became her salvation and she became, arguably, the greatest female fighter of all time.
Most recently, Ms. Wolfe starred in the box office smash hit “Wonder Woman”, where she was specifically casted by director Patty Jenkins to play the role of “Artemis”. Jenkins announced on Twitter when Wolfe got the part, “Who else should be one of the greatest warrior Amazons, but the best female boxer in history”.
We were able to speak with Ann Wolfe about her humble beginnings, her thoughts on the state of boxing, Wonder Woman, and being a role model for young females.
Boxing Insider: What was it like filming a big blockbuster movie? Did you enjoy the filmmaking process?
Ann Wolfe: It was OK. As long as I have something to do, I’m happy.
Boxing Insider: Did the people on set know you are this great boxer or did they just think you were some unknown actor?
Ann Wolfe: No, Patty Jenkins personally looked for me. She wanted me to play Artemis. Her husband was a Thai boxer and they wanted me. So she looked for me, so I didn’t cast for Artemis.
The other actors knew who I was, because Patty filled them in. Gal (Gadot) would walk up and talk to me, she was really nice. Chris (Pine) was also very nice. Gal looked at me and then at Patty Jenkins and said “that is Artemis”. They knew, and it was weird because they are actors and big Hollywood stars and they were excited to meet me.
Boxing Insider: Did any of your boxing training help translate to your role as Artemis?
Ann Wolfe: Yes, all of it did. Because using a sword, in boxing you are taught to keep your hands in tight, but with the weapons they wanted you to be more open. It was easy because I was able to use the balance that I have,to use the Axe really well.
Boxing Insider: As an ambassador for female boxing, why do you think it hasn’t caught on in the same way that the UFC female fighters have?
Ann Wolfe: Number one, the UFC is a little more engaging. It’s a new sport itself, so you don’t have to have a lot of skill. Boxing is the sweet science. So if you want to begin in the grass roots of boxing where women are on the same level as guys, you are talking hundreds of years. Men have been boxing everyday all day for a hundred years. So it will take some time. You will need to bring more young girls into the gym starting at 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. And it would have to be 100,000 of them. If you look at MMA, you don’t have an amateur MMA. You have some of these young men like James Kirkland who had 140 amateur fights, I had 3. My skill level was I was just powerful as hell, I didn’t know how to actually box in the beginning. I was just punching them, the skill level wasn’t there. You will have one or two females that are really skillful, but who are they gonna box to get better. MMA is just more exciting because you kick and throw people on the ground and whatever. But people tuned into a fighter like me because I put people to sleep.
Boxing Insider: Who are some of your favorite fighters?
Ann Wolfe: Its gonna sound weird, but Glenn Johnson is one of my favorite fighters, because he was one of those throwback fighters that could lose a fight, and then come back and win. I like Andre Ward, I like Alfredo Angulo, he had a great passion. Most people would think that I don’t like Floyd Mayweather, but I like Floyd. He understood on how to keep winning, I don’t care what anyone says, he kept the passion in his boxing and in his training to win. A lot of people lose that. They get the money and they don’t want to train and Mayweather trained the same as when he had no money and persisted to win. And my favorite fighter is the greatest fighter to ever walk on this earth, and that is Sugar Ray Robinson.
Boxing Insider: Do you expect a call from the Hall of Fame pretty soon?
Ann Wolfe: No, I am already inducted into the female boxing hall of fame and I don’t know if the International Boxing Hall of Fame has any females in it. I don’t know and if I don’t, I’m ok with it. At this time in my life I understand that. I never want to say I’m the greatest fighter as a female, but if you go back and look at my career. I have 3 or 4 amateur fights and in two and a half years I cleaned out the entire, from welterweight to Super Heavyweight. Everybody doesn’t understand that I was going down to 152, up to 175, down to 168. I was a pure Jr. Middleweight and everybody I fought at Jr. Middleweight I put to sleep. If you look at what I was doing and how I did it, I just don’t see no one doing what I did. I held and defended 8 titles in 4 different weight classes. That is like a 106 pounder fighting someone at 175. If I would have just stayed at Jr. Middleweight I wouldn’t have made it exciting, because I’m 150lbs and I’m fighting the Super Heavyweight champion of the world and knocking her out. That’s what people don’t realize, we were never the same size. So I was putting middleweights, Light heavy’s, heavies and Super Heavy’s to sleep. And it got to a point where no one would fight me, so I retired. I will never box again because I went 2 years and no one would fight me at all, zero. That’s when I started training fighters.
Boxing Insider: So what is next for Ann Wolfe? Will we see you return to training fighters or is acting now a serious thing?
Ann Wolfe: I really want to turn toward the acting, because I liked it and a lot of kids can get, what people don’t realize I have put 160 kids through school. I had a gym full of children. Some of those kids slept in the gym. Some of those kids lived in the gyms. I went to those kids schools. I think with the training, I can’t make a fighter have that passion that I have, and it takes years to develop a fighter. Right now I don’t have it in my heart to pour out all of me into that one person, because you don’t know if they are gonna have that same passion when it’s time to have it. I’ve never trained anyone that I haven’t known as a child. I knew Kirkland when he was 12. Every one of them I started training when they were kids. This is not about just the fight game for me. It is a sport for troubled children that are drawn to violence and that type of life. Boxing has that violence part in it, but it also has structure and dedication and the whole nine yards. You get that little bit of violence that you were drawn towards, but it can save a lot of kids.
Boxing Insider: Whatever happened to Vonda Ward after that famous KO?
Ann Wolfe: She had to go to the hospital. I sent a lot of ladies to the hospital. If you go and look at my record, a lot of the people I knocked out never fought again, or maybe one time and that was it. Valerie Mahfood was my only loss and I came back and beat her twice. She said that was the hardest she had ever been hit in her natural life, man or woman.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: A Boxing Match or a Circus?
Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: A Boxing Match or a Circus?
By: Kirk Jackson
Much to the chagrin of Golden Boy Promter Oscar De La Hoya, it appears the fantasy match-up featuring retired boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and current UFC superstar Conor McGregor is going to happen…
August 26 is the suggested date for the proposed bout; although it may be a smokescreen for another Mayweather Promotions fight.
Even if the event is to take place at a later date, the fight appears well to be on its way.
Both Mayweather and McGregor have huge followings, are viewed as brash-talking, villainous entertainers and are the marquee stars of their respective sports.
It’s easily argued McGregor followed the Mayweather path to success and will now capitalize earning his largest pay day to date fighting the “Money” man himself, Floyd Mayweather.
Over the last year or so, each fighter strategically provided commentary and perspective on this proposed clash of pugilistic wits;injecting their insults and feverishly attempting to lure casual fans into forking over cash to witness this monstrosity of a mismatch.
As fighters, Mayweather and McGregor possess enormous egos. It’s even amusing, listening to Mayweather suggest McGregor actually stands a chance in the boxing ring with him.
“Only time McGregor has been defeated was when he was on the ground,” Mayweather said during the interview on Sirius XM.
“When he was standing up, he always was victorious. He’s [McGregor] a power puncher. He’s a tough competitor. I’m a tough competitor, and we have to go out there and give the world and the fans what they want to see: Excitement.”
Excitement as in the build-up to the fight… absolutely.Excitement as of action inside the ring… ehh probably not.
Mayweather and McGregor realize the amount of money they can make based on the perceptions of what can actually happen, even though in reality, this looks like a lopsided mismatch.
As terrible as this match-up sounds on paper and will evidently translate to a poor aesthetic viewing once it manifests, the fighters and organizers of this spectacle are simply capitalizing on demand and perception.
Mayweather hit the nail on the head regarding this contest. “The fans want this fight. The fans have been asking for this fight,” Mayweather said.
“It’s all about entertainment. He’s [McGregor] very entertaining. He’s very outspoken like myself. So let’s give the fans what they want to see.”
A fight featuring Mayweather and McGregor stands to potentially earn half a billion dollars; factoring in all of the marketing opportunities.
This is a cash grab, a circus. This is a mere exhibition, a mere con, if we want to be mean.
As viewers, even though this is a terrible match-up, we will undoubtedly watch. This will be like watching a slow, yet entertaining car-wreck.
Leaving out the seriousness and fan boy-ism of this event may work wonders for the soul and may help ease our eyes as we witness the disaster.
This is depicted as a tragedy because this event features a retired, 40-year-old boxing genius against an inexperienced, mixed martial arts world champion, inside the boxing ring.
McGregor struggled in sparring sessions against welterweight challenger Chris Van Heerden, how can we possibly imagine McGregor having some degree of success against a 12-time, five division and undefeated world champion? Unless Mayweather decides to throw the fight…
Frustration for this match-up is understandable, but the same frustration should be echoed if Manny Pacquiao is fighting Jeff Horn for the WBO welterweight championship.
The same frustration should be expressed when lopsided mismatches take place in the UFC; Anderson Silva vs. Daniel Cormier (I know it was a substitution but still) or other countless mismatches headed by Dana White and company.
The market can dictate what we, the spectator (fan, media) wants to see. Should we boycott Mayweather vs. McGregor as De La Hoya suggests?
Oscar would have an argument if his interests were genuine. It wasn’t too long ago, he suggested a meeting of the red heads (Conor vs. Canelo[Alvarez]).
“Imagine, Conor McGregor and Golden Boy coming together,” said De La Hoya about McGregor.
“But the only fight I’d love to see and the one that makes the most sense, that would be the most exciting, that would be a guaranteed knockout is against Canelo Alvarez.”
The momentum and potential cash grab behind Mayweather and McGregor may be too large to overcome in regards to boycotting. Not to suggest boycotting is the move here.
Everyone involved is entitled to earn their money how they see fit, just as we have the right to bypass the spectacle by not watching.
But when the circus is in town, usually a crowd follows.
Why Mayweather-McGregor Will (In All Likelihood) Be A Dud
Why Mayweather-McGregor Will (In All Likelihood) Be A Dud
By: Sean Crose
So, you’re a person who loves “big events.” You know, things like the Super Bowl and presidential debates. You’re not really into things like football and politics, but you still really dig the excitement of “the big moment.” Chances are you’re someone who would be interested in seeing Floyd Mayweather
fight Conor McGregor in a boxing match.
After all, that’s as big an event as society can come up with at the moment, and, again, you’re into such things. Truth be told, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s millions like you out there and you have nothing to be ashamed of, even when smart asses like myself come along and tell you why you’re interest is misguided. After all, each of us likes “big things” we know little about at one time or another. It’s why I watch the Kentucky Derby. My grandfather knew his stuff when it came to horse racing. Me, not so much. But I watch anyway. So if and when Mayweather-McGregor is made, I honestly hope you enjoy yourself.
There’s some things I think you should know first, though, primarily the fact that the bout will most likely be a dud. Unless you love all things Floyd Mayweather, or just want to see Conor McGregor become, as he himself likes to say, a punching bag with eyes, or simply enjoy seeing people be overwhelmed by physical force, then this fight will, in all likelihood, be a disappointment. Why? Well, there’s a variety of reasons, which I’ll break down for you. Don’t worry, I’m not about to engage in a pretentious diatribe, I’m just going to point some things out as a humble boxing writer with some experience under his belt.
First, and this is extremely important, BOXING IS NOT FIGHTING. Boxing is a sport. Sure, it used to be fighting once upon a time. Back in the 1800s, boxers were allowed to wrestle and toss each other around without gloves. In a sense, bare knuckle boxing, as it’s known, was a strange hybrid between modern boxing and modern MMA. Then, however, a Scottish nobleman called the Marquess of Queensberry came up with a set of rules. Fighters had to wear gloves. Also, things like wrestling and tossing your opponent around were no longer permitted. Boxing, in short, became a sport which focused on an exact skill set rather than on the utilization of various tools. And it remains so to this day.
MMA, on the other hand, is more like “real” fighting – though it, too, thankfully has its rules – because it allows assorted tools to be used in a contest. Punches can be weapons, but so can kicks and numerous other martial arts maneuvers. Boxing, though, just sticks to the punches. And boxers, like Liam Neeson in Taken, possess a very specific set of skills, skills which can make life hell for the likes of Conor McGregor. Sure, McGregor is known as a striker, but this time he’ll fight a guy who only strikes, who doesn’t have to worry about takedowns and kicks – like McGregor himself has throughout his career – whose been able to keep his mind entirely focused on one specific aspect of fighting for over two decades – and who has done it better than anyone.
Here’s an interesting story – back in 1892, the heavyweight champion of the world, John L Sullivan defended his title against Jim Corbett. Sullivan was a “real” fighter, a man who knew fighting to be a combination of punching and grappling. His opponent, Corbett, knew only boxing. He was considerably smaller than Sullivan and had never been in a “real” fight in his entire life. Easy boxing match to pick, right? It was if you had picked Corbett. He danced away from the tough guy for round after round, deftly popping Sullivan in the face in the process. Finally, Sullivan fell to the mat, thoroughly defeated. Corbett, the man who wasn’t a “real” fighter, the man who had only used his fists, had beaten the hell out of his opponent.
The truth is that tough guys rarely dominate in boxing. Yeah, the Tysons and Dempseys are popular – and with good reason – but it’s the guys who can be tough AND skilled who tend to REALLY rise above the crop, men like Ali and Leonard, Robinson, Pep and Roy Jones Junior. McGregor seems to be able to hit like a tough guy, but can he move about the ring – not the octagon, the ring – effectively, can he employ angles and head movements the way, say, Manny Pacquiao does? He better hope he can do those things better, because – let’s face it – Mayweather beat Pacquiao handily. Yeah, I hear some saying, but this is McGregor, the master of mind games! He beats his opponents with his verbal taunts before he even faces them! Tell that to Nate Diaz, who made McGregor tap out back in 2016. Also, Mayweather brings mind games of his own. Never mind Mayweather’s own tendency to taunt his opponents, he generally gives himself all the advantages before he even steps in the ring. I’m talking referee, location, the works. Has McGregor found the kind of boxing gloves he wants to wear? He better hope Floyd doesn’t make him switch to another pair just before the fight. Floyd does things like that.
Lastly, let’s focus on the small matters that can lead to a figurative death from a thousand cuts. Accuracy rules the day in boxing. Conor can hit Floyd ten times in a row, but if Floyd lands just two or three shots that happen to be more effective than Conor’s, the judges may well ignore Conor’s blows and reward Floyd for his single punches. It’s not the punches that count, after all – it’s their quality. And Floyd, lack of power aside, punches better than anyone. He’s also harder to hit than anyone. Oh, and if the fight goes the distance, McGregor will be fighting eleven full minutes longer than his longest MMA battle.
That’s over two full MMA rounds. By the way, Floyd likes to go the distance. Oh, and excitement isn’t really his thing, either, so he probably won’t be big on engaging McGregor in a blow for blow battle.
Perhaps McGregor will defy the odds and pull it off. Perhaps he’ll do what no one else has and land clean enough to really rattle his man. Perhaps he’ll manage to get in Floyd’s head enough to make Mayweather throw decades’ worth of professional and amateur experience out the window. Perhaps, on a more sinister note, Vegas will decide it wants more revenue from suburban whites and, in the end, give McGregor an undeserved decision win. All those things are entirely possible, after all.
They’re unlikely, though…and that’s something people should consider before hopping aboard this particular “big event” train.