Boxing Forum - Boxing Discussion Forums banner

1 - 1 of 1 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a series of articles on sherdog.com that I thought I would share here. I know as boxing fans many of you will scoff or dis the comparisions by saying that so-and-so MMArtist hasn't accomplished nor ever will accomplish what their "Boxing Counterpart" had... but it's a fun article nonetheless. Let's just look at it:

(If you want to review the MMArtists records, go to Sherdog.com - Serving up Heaping Fistfuls of Mixed Martial Arts and put their name into the "Fight Finder")

While mixed martial arts and boxing differ in many ways, common themes resonate with fighters in both sports. In this three-part series, Sherdog.com’s Jason Probst takes a closer look at some of MMA’s athletes and those in the Sweet Science with whom they share notable traits.

Wanderlei Silva = Sonny Liston

Liston’s pair of one-round blowouts over Floyd Patterson cemented his reputation as a stone-cold killer, but his best years were spent chasing Patterson for a title shot in the late 1950s; he did not get a crack at Patterson until 1962.

In that time frame, Liston was a terrifying force, destroying virtually every top contender. Difficult to discourage and blessed with murderous power, Liston had an aura of intimidation when he stepped in the ring. It was not until a young loudmouth named Cassius Clay caught up with him in 1964 -- when Liston may have been several years older than his listed age of 32 -- that he seemed human.

And that’s too bad, because at his peak a few years earlier, Liston was a much better fighter. The public largely remembered him for quitting against Ali on his stool in the first bout and then losing via bizarre first-round knockout against him in their 1965 rematch.

Silva still has plenty of fights left in him and got a much-needed UFC win in a one-round stoppage of Keith Jardine last May. Looking back at his impressive years in Pride, his best years may be behind him, fought on a much smaller stage. Today’s light heavyweight crop offers plenty of big fights for “The Axe Murderer,” and he’ll need to string a few big wins together to regain the aura he once exuded. At his peak, he was probably the most intimidating fighter in the sport, with every bit the killer instinct Liston had.

Urijah Faber = Michael Carbajal

When Carbajal won the silver medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics, it was assumed his professional career as a junior flyweight would be like most guys under bantamweight -- lost to the public eye. Flyweights simply were not televised. But with Carbajal’s go-for-broke style, promoter Bob Arum was able to build him into a big-money attraction, culminating in the first of his three fights with Mexican 108-pounder Humberto Gonzalez. Both made $1 million. As the legendary boxing axiom goes: “Put ’em in the ring together, and they’ll both look like giants.”

Faber’s story has followed a similar script. Just a couple years ago, before World Extreme Cagefighting became a staple on the Versus network, anything below 155 pounds in MMA barely existed outside of Web-based fight reports or someone fortunate enough to get Pride “Bushido” feeds from their cable provider. Like Carbajal, Faber is hard-charging and prone to making mistakes, only to explode back in retaliation. He’s perfect for television and sports a trademark haircut with his flop-top California ’do. Carbajal was his stylistic match here, as well, rocking the Mexi-Mullet/ponytail combo.

Another weird similarity is that Carbajal never mixed it up with Ricardo Lopez, who retired at 51-0-1 with a stunning 23 title defenses under his belt. Lopez’s career ran parallel to Carbajal’s, but it was a dream match that sadly never materialized. Faber’s version of Lopez is the potent Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, and a bout between them would clearly establish the world’s best 145-pounder.

Frank Shamrock = Evander Holyfield

Both became pioneers in their sport by breaking barriers and defining how fighters trained. Today, most world-class boxers employ a strength and conditioning regimen, along with weightlifting and flexibility exercises. But when Evander Holyfield started this strange series of routines after moving up to heavyweight in 1988, the old school crowd in the fight game sneered. That changed when Holyfield’s masterful conditioning and fine-honed physique made him heavyweight champion.

Shamrock pioneered the concept of cross-training in MMA. It seems ages ago, but in the early days of the sport, competitors were largely bound to a single-minded approach. Wrestlers wrestled, jiu-jitsu guys had limited, if-any, stand-up, and cross-training seemed an apostasy to those steeped in one discipline. Shamrock changed all that, emerging from scratch as the first mixed martial artist who could stand, wrestle and submit with equal efficiency. His legacy continues today, constantly upgraded and refined as fighters seek out the best ways to maximize each training day.

Fedor Emelianenko = Ray Robinson

Emelianenko’s 28-1 record represents the most impressive run of success in MMA history, especially when you consider the tough competition he’s faced. Although relative inactivity -- just six fights in three years -- and a drop-off in quality opposition have somewhat chipped away at his reputation, Emelianenko remains the ruling heavyweight of his time, despite an inability to secure a mega-fight with Randy Couture or a deal with the UFC.

His last outing, a 36-second stoppage of Tim Sylvia, suggests he’s still as dangerous as ever, even if he’s painfully out of the loop on securing mainstream exposure.

No matter where you fight Emelianenko, he’s going to get the better of you because he’s simply superior in every phase of the game. He has incredible technical skills, backed up by a ton of fortitude and cool-headedness. That’s why he was able to stand and trade with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and outwork Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on the ground. Simply put, he’s the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, at least until B.J. Penn or Anderson Silva win a title in a higher weight division.

Robinson was the greatest boxer of his time or anyone else’s, for that matter. While he’s largely remembered by fans for winning the middleweight title five times, very little of his prime years -- when he was a welterweight -- were captured on film. Until he lost the middleweight title against Randy Turpin in 1951, he was 128-2-1, including four wins in five bouts with the bigger Jake LaMotta and victories over a slew of other hall of famers and tough contenders. At welterweight, Robinson was virtually unbeatable, as he could outbox you with lightning-quick hands and wicked power. He was also shoe-leather tough if you went toe-to-toe with him, though he rarely needed to with his superior skills.

It was only well past his prime years that Robinson had to show his toughness on a regular basis -– in the early to mid 1950s and beyond. He was well into his 30s, and his natural advantages dissipated to such a degree that he had to slug it out with naturally bigger men. Even then, he was still amazing. He was only stopped once in a 225-bout career.

Georges St. Pierre = Benny Leonard

With technical brilliance in every phase of the game, UFC welterweight champion St. Pierre suggests a new kind of fighter emerging in the game. Not content to merely cross-train and become competent in one area while depending on another, the Canadian outwrestles wrestlers like Matt Hughes and Jon Fitch with disdainful ease and beats them standing, as well. St. Pierre’s all-around technical ability comes in stark contrast to champions who, just a few years ago, were content to dominate one aspect of the sport.

Benny Leonard was probably the best lightweight that ever lived -- up there with Roberto Duran and the legendary Joe Gans -- precisely because he ushered in an era of scientific boxing, picking up the torch left by predecessors like Gene Tunney and Jimmy Slattery. In addition to a masterful sense of timing, feints and combinations, Leonard could also knock you flat with his punches, as evidenced by his impressive record of 183-19-11 (70 KO). Several of his wins were in the “newspaper decision” era --fights were quasi-official, but victory was awarded to the man judged by the press to be the winner at the final bell.

By the time he retired in 1925, Leonard had cleaned out the lightweight division, having bested tough competition like Rocky Kansas, Lew Tendler and Johnny Dundee. These men were all rough, tough battlers from a golden era of boxing, but Leonard was several levels above them in technique.

That’s the feeling you get watching St. Pierre, who may be the best functional wrestler in MMA despite having no background in amateur wrestling. Given his athletic ability and what he’s done with it, it also prompts consideration of how good fighters will be in a few years, as more people enter the sport.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira = Kid Gavilan

One of the top 10 welterweights of all-time, Kid Gavilan combined stamina, a high work rate and cast-iron chin to outwork his opponents. At his peak, he was virtually impossible to discourage, especially in a fast-paced bout. He beat a slew of top fighters in his career, including Ike Williams, Carmen Basilio, Billy Graham and Beau Jack, as well as several top welterweight and middleweight contenders. With his signature “Bolo” punch, he also had a trademark move that appealed to fans.

Gavilan’s problem was that he came along at the same time as Ray Robinson, which was kind of like following The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Though Gavilan was competitive in two bouts with the Robinson, he lost both by decision, including one for Robinson’s welterweight belt.

After Robinson moved to middleweight, Gavilan captured the welterweight crown and enjoyed an impressive reign, registering seven defenses before abdicating the title and making a failed attempt at the middleweight belt against Bobo Olson. He probably fought in as many televised bouts in the 1950s as anyone.

Nogueira’s Ray Robinson is Fedor Emelianenko. In three bouts -- one of which was aborted as a no-contest after scant action -- he’s been beaten handily twice by the Russian. No matter what Nogueira does as the UFC champion, there will always be a shadow hanging over his title until the UFC signs Emelianenko and allows the two men to get it on again. As unlikely as that appears, it’s even more unlikely Emelianenko would find less success in a cage. Some guys just have your number.

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic = Wladimir Klitschko

Physical gifts make a big difference in fight sports, but the mentality of a fighter often makes the difference in how readily they are applied. In the case of both of these men, there’s no question they’re head and shoulders above their peers when it comes to delivering a fight-changing blow.

Blessed with a 6-foot-6 frame and quick hands, Klitschko is probably the most offensively gifted heavyweight since an in-his-prime Mike Tyson. He does things that long-armed heavies simply have not done -- double left hooks that stun foes and blinding counterpunches that score head-spinning knockdowns and knockouts. Yet his career arc consistently hits flat spots when you think he’s finally putting it all together, and he either loses or performs in uninspiring fashion. For a boxing fan, it’s enough to drive you crazy, considering the tools he has.

Filipovic, once a feared Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight, seems to suffer from the same lack of fire. Since moving to the UFC in 2007, he’s lost two of three bouts, as well as a no-contest against Alistair Overeem in Japan, during which he seemed uninterested in the stakes at hand.

It’s a stark departure from the path of destruction he blazed in destroying Hidehiko Yoshida, Josh Barnett and Wanderlei Silva on the same night before coming stateside. Both Cro Cop and Klitschko have the physical tools to be dominant on a given night -- but sometimes they look like they’d rather be punching a clock somewhere instead of the guy in front them.
 
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
Top